New Orleans Anthropocene Field Campus

August 20th, 2019

The New Orleans Anthropocene Field Campus investigates site-specific processes of environmental change and injustice and develops tactics for interdisciplinary engagement with the Anthropocene.

The New Orleans Anthropocene Field Campus aims to produce deep understanding of New Orleans and the Mississippi River as sites of the Anthropocene, while building tactics and a collaborative community for engaging the Anthropocene at different scales and sites around the world. Work during the Field Campus will contribute to a digital research space and exhibition that can continue to grow, supporting sustained collaboration among geographically dispersed Anthropocene researchers and activists.

This Field Campus aims to use the concept of the Anthropocene as a catalyst for meaningful exchange: not only scholars exchanging ideas, but also non-academic practitioners, activists, and artists exchanging skills with one another. Forty participants will work closely with community partners and local experts who are striving to expose processes of environmental change and injustice within the Greater New Orleans Region.

A major goal of the Field Campus will be to investigate the history of labor in New Orleans within the context of the Anthropocene. How was the environmental violence wrought on the land- and riverscapes of the region by plantation agriculture and the petrochemical industry also registered in the bodies of slaves and workers? How do we record, measure, and archive these effects?  And what can we learn from this history to contribute to broader strategies for recovery and healing, surviving and growing, in the Anthropocene? Participants will work together in the large group, as well as in small “project teams” to produce original works in response to what they experience and learn in the Field Campus.

Activities will be focused around placing ourselves meaningfully and helpfully into local discussions concerning histories of environmental change as well as possible futures.  Modes of interaction and interpretation include: creating venues for discussion that might not be possible otherwise, serving as a corps of researchers willing to work towards useful outcomes, and training people in archiving, public data collecting and analysis, and ethnography. The Field Campus will focus on New Orleans, but participants will gain skills relevant to deploying similar field school tactics in other locations. The Anthropocene is global, but we discover it locally, and everyday.

The Field Campus will culminate with an exhibit of works in progress at 4S 2019 New Orleans.

For further information, visit Disaster STS Network.