The Burning Issue: Hazy Relations and the Construction of Knowledge in Land Management Fires

20 June 2019, 15:00 - 17:00

CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

All are invited to join us for this event in the 'cum panis' seminar series, hosted by gloknos at CRASSH. The 'cum panis' seminars are a space to share work currently in progress and break bread (or cake!) with new intellectual companions.

In this session we are joined by Dr Julia Cassaniti (Washington State University). Julia L Cassaniti is an Associate Professor of Medical and Psychological Anthropology at Washington State University, and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Abstract:
Air pollution during the hot season is an increasingly recognised health crisis across Southeast Asia, with the air quality index (AQI) of Chiang Mai in March 2019 almost four times higher than the recommended 100 AQI safety standard, and those neighbouring countries not far behind. Yet as people demand action from their governments, the causes and solutions to the burning are often hazy and unclear. While city and countryside residents walk around Northern Thailand with air masks on, squinting to see in front of them, many point up to the hills, where Karen, Hmong, and other upland minority communities burn crops each year to make way for a new cycle of planting. Yet while the imagined worlds of upland communities are central to the national rhetoric on air pollution in the country, the cosmological imagination of lowland communities regarding themselves and their relations to these communities is of equal if not more importance. This talk will use ethnographic evidence to cover some of the central explanations for the air pollution problems, from upland burning to the rise in agrobusiness, using it as a case study to better understand the creation of perceptions about causation and responsibility. By re-centering discussion on the different ways that causes are represented, and the knowledge of selves and others are imagined, this talk will shed light on some of the cosmo-political epistemologies at play in a burning global issue. 

This event is free to attend, but in order to receive the advance reading material for this session please email to confirm your attendance. 

Want to share this event? Download a poster here.
 


gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.

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Julia L Cassaniti – The Burning Issue: Hazy Relations and the Construction of Knowledge in the Land Management Fires of Southeast Asia