The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science will host and organizes the workshop “Shifting Baselines, Altered Horizons: Politics, Practice, and Knowledge in Environmental Science and Policy” which will take place in Berlin from June 21 to June 22, 2017:
The creation and mobilization of baselines is at the very center of a wide array of environmental protection and remediation efforts such as wildlife restoration, climate change mitigation, pollution cleanup, or sustainable development. Despite this ubiquitous character, the study of how baselines are produced and mobilized has occupied only a marginal space in the environmental social sciences and humanities so far. This workshop moves the study of baselines to the center of analysis by using the tools of environmental history, science and technology studies, and the environmental humanities to explore the emergence and mobilization of different kinds of environmental baselines in the Anthropocene.
We are interested in analyzing baseline setting as a complex set of practices, mediations, and devices, always populated by a heterogeneous multitude of entities (regulatory agencies, scientific standards, material samples, beliefs and ethical commitments, etc.), and whose ultimate consequences can be rarely predicted from the onset. The workshop aims to understand baseline setting as an uneven process shaped by cultural representation and imagination, radical historicity, connections between power and knowledge, and the distributed agency of a variety of human and non-human actors operating at multiple geographic and temporal scales. By doing so we aim at calling into question the restorationist narratives favored by most current baseline setting processes and explore alternative interpretations of desired environmental futures and emergent ecologies.
The deadline for proposals is September 30, 2017.