Lecture at the Simpson Center for The Humanities : The Same River Twice: Ethics and Entities in the Anthropocene
Etienne Turpin, Research Scientist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 3:30-5 pm
Communications 120, Reception to follow in Communications 206
The Same River Twice: Ethics and Entities in the Anthropocene
What do contemporary urban ecologies teach human residents about ethics, epistemology, and media? First attributed to Heraclitus of Ephesus by Plato, the remark that we cannot step in the same river twice is at once a statement about the nature of perpetual change and an acknowledgement of a tension between sensation and abstraction in human understandings of nature. More than twenty-five centuries later, the Indonesian island of Java is now inhabited by more residents than lived on Earth during Heraclitus’s time, with many living in densely arranged megacities. In fact, the greater metropolitan area of the capital, Jakarta, has more than 30 million people residing alongside thirteen rivers that run from the mountains of the Sunda Arc to the Java Sea.
What can we learn from the residential knowledges and itinerant practices that characterize this megacity? By way of a survey of his recent design projects with anexact office, Urban Lab Network Asia, MIT, and PetaBencana.id, Etienne Turpin will suggest how the Anthropocene is being locally instantiated through a parametrization of life on earth. Considering the ethical and epistemic consequences of residential life in the city—including dispositions toward nonhuman entities, mediations that enable collaboration and contestation, and contributions to postnatural ecologies—the presentation will unfold some concepts and concerns emerging from this torrential formation.
Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and Founding Director of an exact office, a design research office in Jakarta, Indonesia. He studies and designs knowledge infrastructure and produces platforms, exhibitions, and publications by combining design, archival research, documentary, and ethnography. Turpin also works as a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBecana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2013) and co-editor of Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016), Art in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2015), and Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013).
Organized by The Anthropocene, a cross-disciplinary research cluster of the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Co-sponsored by the Center for Creative Conservation, the Southeast Asia Center, and Urban@UW.
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As we regularly check ourselves about the nature of governance, political economies, participation in the polis, oppression, exclusion, and power… perhaps one of our next readings ought to look to an older source of wisdom. We have touched on indigeneity, and have read some feminist scholars. But we haven’t really looked at anything that combined the two, and the book below apparently does that. This from a food systems list I’m on, from poster Debbie Hillman, a consultant in Evanston, Illinois:
New System? If anyone wants to read about a model for the new system, I would recommend diving into the details of the Iroquois Constitution and the Iroquois League. I think the answers have been right under our noses, in plain sight.
Nice discussion on a topic that we’ve addressed in Becoming Poor. Note Massumi’s quote, too, bringing it eerily close.
Many years ago I spent a pleasant mid morning sitting in the sun being read to. The occasion was a writers’ festival in my home town of Adelaide, Australia and the reader was Louis de Bernières. He’d just completed his novella Red Dog (now a movie) and wanted to try it out on a real audience. When he announced that he was just going to read, and not talk and engage with the audience – the usual genre at these kinds of events – there was a collective frown. de Bernières was going to break the unwritten rules and we were going to be cheated.
Of course, nothing of the sort happened. de Bernières is an accomplished reader, the Red Dog stories were funny and elegantly written and the audience was highly engaged for an hour.
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Urban Studies Annual Lecture Series
Justice as Subject and Object of Planning
Featuring Dr. Robert Lake, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
Thursday, June 2/5:30-7:00PM
UW Tacoma/Carwein Auditorium
About this Lecture
Considerations of justice have moved to a central place in planning theory following Susan Fainstein’s (2010) eloquent plea to elevate justice as the principal criterion for the evaluation of planning practice. Justice on this understanding is the object of planning, the normative end that planning practice should strive to achieve. Dr. Robert Lake explores the implications for planning theory and practice of making justice the subject rather than the object of planning. This formulation places justice at the center rather than the outcome of practice: of concern is planning as the practice of justice rather than the justice of planning practice. The question for planning in this mode shifts from “Is this a just outcome?” to “What is justice in this situation?” Drawing from John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, this question transcends the dualisms between subject and object, and process and outcome, by understanding outcomes as already formulated (what Dewey called ends-in-view) in the process of their production. A planning process that takes justice as its subject is anti-foundational and contextual rather than universal, anticipatory rather than retrospective, generative of solutions rather than evaluative of outcomes, culturally encompassing rather than project-delimited, and inclusively democratic rather than expert-driven. Examples from a variety of sources illustrate the practice of justice as the subject of planning.
I’m hearing news on twitter that Doreen Massey has died. This is very sad, for family and friends of course, but also for Geography, where her work had a major impact. She was one of the geographers whose work I knew about before I came into the discipline, mainly for her Spatial Divisions of Labour book but also her earlier collaborative book Capital and Land. Of course she went on to write several more books, including Space, Place and Gender, For Space and World City. I heard her talk a couple of times, once at the Soundings launch event, but only met her briefly. I can’t find an online announcement or obituary, but will link when I find one.
Update: the Open University has an announcement here.
Over at Planetizen, home of shallow essays on planning and dilettante dabbling in theory:
FASHIONING URBAN HEGEMONY AFTER THE CRISIS
DR. JAMIE PECK / UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
One of the most enduring tropes in the field of urban studies is the claim, principally associated with David Harvey, that North American and Western European cities have since the 1980s embraced “entrepreneurial” modes of governance, spurred by deindustrialization, heightened capital mobility, competitive insecurity, the rollback of fiscal transfers, and so forth. What began as an entrepreneurial “turn,” conspicuously represented by turnaround cities like Baltimore and Manchester and Barcelona, has since become something like an interurban truism, a banal condition of existence both experienced and reproduced by the majority of cities, even as their own positions and prospects continue to vary. Tracing this zigzagging process of normalization through various subsequent moments, such as the embrace of creativity, the imposition of austerity, and the rise of new economisms, the lecture reflects on the causes and consequences of this remaking of urban hegemony over the past three decades.
URBAN STUDIES ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES
DR. JAMIE PECK
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016 / 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON TACOMA
This lecture is FREE.
DR. JAMIE PECK IS CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN URBAN & REGIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY AND PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLOMBIA, CANADA. With research interests in the political economy of neoliberalism, the politics of policy formation and mobility, economic governance, labor studies, and urban restructuring, his recent books include Fast policy: experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism (Minnesota, 2015, with Nik Theodore), Constructions of neoliberal reason (Oxford, 2010), and the forthcoming Offshore (Oxford, 2016). Jamie Peck is the Managing Editor of Environment & Planning A and the coordinator of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography.
This looks like an interesting read. Particularly with the traction that resilience currently has in the planning and disaster management community. I had never thought of resilience as a neoliberal concept, in fact many of the examples of resilience that come to my mind are more grass-roots oriented neighbor-to-neighbor or neighborhood/community scale that is consciously outside the state. I also think about lines of flight as examples of the art of living dangerously.
Out soon with Polity Press
What does it mean to live dangerously? This is not just a philosophical question or an ethical call to reflect upon our own individual recklessness. It is a deeply political issue, fundamental to the new doctrine of ‘resilience’ that is becoming a key term of art for governing planetary life in the 21st Century. No longer should we think in terms of evading the possibility of traumatic experiences. Catastrophic events, we are told, are not just inevitable but learning experiences from which we have to grow and prosper, collectively and individually. Vulnerability to threat, injury and loss has to be accepted as a reality of human existence.
In this original and compelling text, Brad Evans and Julian Reid explore the political and philosophical stakes of the resilience turn in security and governmental thinking. Resilience, they argue, is a neo-liberal deceit that works by disempowering endangered…
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Anybody need it?