Call for Proposals – ASEH 2024 Annual Meeting Denver - Changing Climates: Environmental Histories of Extractivism and Speculation
Our climates – social, professional, cultural, and environmental – are changing. These changes can create exciting opportunities, as when our institutions and disciplines become more diverse and inclusive, or catastrophic, as when anthropogenic activities spark climate chaos with unpredictable consequences for the more-than-human world. Given the breadth of its temporal scope, environmental history is uniquely positioned to offer insights into changing climates of many kinds and to focus on two main drivers of change: extractivism and speculation. As environmental historians, we know that these themes run deep and wide, connecting to myriad stories in diverse temporal and geographic contexts. The American Society for Environmental History invites proposals to its annual conference, to be held April 3-7, 2024 in Denver, Colorado, that explore the roles of extractivism and speculation in changing climates of many kinds, with attention to the diverse valences of these categories: from histories of industrial speculation about and extraction of fossil fuels; to extraction of wealth to colonial metropoles; to the role of history in speculation about our environmental futures; to extraction of environmental knowledge from Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
Extractivism – intensive and systematized appropriation of resources of many kinds – has long characterized particular kinds of human relationships to the non-human world. The mode of economic and environmental relations plays a key role in climate change and reinforces unjust economic dependencies. As a form of exploitation, extractivism has a special capacity to turn renewable resources into non-renewable ones, causing irreversible damage to the more-than-human world. The constant and seemingly unending expansion of extractivism deepens historical gashes in landscapes and waterscapes in places already disadvantaged by global capitalist regimes. Speculation has contributed to extractivism as a means of financing extractivist industries; but speculation as an imaginative process can also help us envision more just environmental and social futures.