Writing Slow Disaster

In this live, local, and internationally-coordinated workshop, participants will use sensory ethnography techniques to work with the theme and materials of ‘slow disaster in the Anthropocene’. Slow disaster describes the long process of environmental and infrastructural degradation produced by inadequate risk assessments, industrial regulations, and the political narratives that shape design decisions of human-environment relations. The longer temporal perspective provided by slow disaster can help index political, infrastructural, and social dynamics in relation to the new terrains and atmosphere emerging in the Anthropocene. Writing slow disaster draws attention to, and works through, the entanglements of climate crises, structural violence, and the legacies of industrialism.

This workshop builds from prior Anthropocene Campus events held at academic sites in Europe and the United States, and is part of the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s virtual meeting, Displacements, which will be held online April 19-21.

The Writing Slow Disaster in the Anthropocene workshop will take place via two anchor sessions held live at Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) and Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia). Workshops will last three hours and will include multiple writing activities, as well as group discussion in response to writing activities and the materials of the Anthropocene, which will be shared with and by participants.    

The session will be supported by a project website which will launch several weeks in advance of the conference. The website will feature tools to support participants, including instructions for submitting ethnographic materials for the workshop in advance of the conference; these will be archived and made available to registered participants. Participants will be encouraged to bring ethnographic material to write with.

As space for the two anchor sessions is limited, individuals interested in participating either in person or virtually via teleconference are asked to apply to the conveners (ali.kenner@gmail.com and timneale@gmail.com) with a 50 word bio and 100 word statement on their interest in the Anthropocene and/or slow disaster. Please specify in your application which venue you want to participate in, and whether you would be participating in person or virtually. Applications close 19 March 2018. Applicants will be notified about their participation by 21 March 2018.