Andrea J. Nightingale, Professor of Human Geography, University of Oslo

Imagining a Future Himalaya: unruly landscapes of climate change

Attempts at governing ecological crises are just that: attempts. Life is far too unruly to quietly acquiesce to control and management raising uncomfortable questions about how to develop a posthuman ethics of environmental governance. By starting from the unruliness and uncontrollability of life, this paper explores the continuous (re)configurations of humans and non-humans required to accomplish governing, in order to create new insights into the complex, often unpredictable political, social, cultural and ecological terrains that result. Drawing from scholars of science and political ecologists who have long pointed out that knowing is not somehow separate from the worlds we create, and feminist work on power and recognition, the paper looks at how climate change adaptation programs are caught up in the riotous, inadvertent contradictions of environmental governance. Action, imagination, naming, and everyday practices create lasting connections; they bring the world into being in a continuous and dynamic manner demanding that we develop a more than human ethics. Using a case study of Nepal, the paper works through the entanglements of forests, user-groups, geopolitics and efforts at responding to predictions of calamitous change to show how they are complicit in producing the dilemmas we face.

Andrea J. Nightingale is a Geographer by training and presently Professor of Human Geography, University of Oslo. She was the Chair of Rural Development in the Global South at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences until 2018. Her current research interests include: political violence in climate change adaptation programs; climate change adaptation and transformation debates; public authority, collective action and state formation; the nature-society nexus; and feminist work on emotion and subjectivity in relation to development, transformation, collective action and cooperation. She previously worked at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the University of Edinburgh, Geography, School of GeoSciences, Scotland. Her recent book is Environment and Sustainability in a Globalizing World, Routledge, 2019.

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