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“Renewable Energy and More-than-Human Worlds: A Case Study in Mexico”
November 17, 2020 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
About the presenter: Cymene Howe is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. Her books include Intimate Activism: The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua (Duke 2013), and Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (Duke 2019)—which follows the human and more-than-human lives entwined with renewable energy futures in Southern Mexico. She is co-editor of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Critical and Cultural Theory and the Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon (Punctum 2020). Her current research focuses on adaptation responses to the climate crisis in the Arctic region and lower latitude coastal cities.
About the presentation: In this presentation, I examine the development and dénouement of what would have been Latin America’s largest wind park, showing how its failure was, in a sense, a success. Contextualizing the renewable energy megaproyecto within a planetary condition that many are calling the “Anthropocene,” I describe how indigenous people and others prevented the wind park’s installation through a series of rhetorical claims that pivoted upon protecting the environment. In a somewhat ironic turn, the wind park—meant to reduce the environmental harm brought by fossil fuel energy forms—was halted by the same logics that drove its inception: ecological reasoning and response. Drawing from both feminist and more-than-human theories, I argue that the dynamics of energy and environment cannot be adequately understood without accounting for how human aspirations for energy articulate with nonhuman beings, technomaterial objects, and the geophysical forces that are at the heart of wind and power.
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