This panel seeks to explore the ways in climate change is made present, what role(s) ethnographic knowledge can play in that regard, and how can discussions of climate change may further theorizations of presence and absence across anthropology, geography and STS.
The presence of climate change is undoubtable as a political terrain, but its universality across other social and cultural registers is not always self-evident and often contested. Indeed, climate change's presence across other fields is more precarious than widely discussed, and inquiries into modes of rendering climate change present and absent are key for understanding pathways for action on climate which may originate in, but also tend to overflow, the political. Presence and absence here refers the multiple realities of climate change, including how climate change is rendered tangible through representations of stranded polar bears and rising tides; or via scientific data about temperature, CO2 concentrations and tidal fluctuation; or as markets, commodities and technologies claiming to represent 'fixes' to the climate crisis. Conversely, how is climate change made to 'disappear'? The binary of presence and absence also refers to temporality through imaginaries of unknown futures or idealized pasts, seen through scientific models, scenario planning exercises, or narratives of development or disruption. This panel invites papers that address the different ways that climate change and its discontents are made present or absent whether in political imaginary, scientific discourse, corporate strategies, or across other modes of knowing, and not the least how to approach climate change ethnographically. Approaches to the topic might include, but are not limited to, theorization from anthropology, geography and STS such as Marilyn Strathern on the tyranny of transparency, John Law and Annemarie Mol on situating technoscience, Erik Swyngedouw on the post-political, or any number of formulations that refer to inclusion, elision, erasure, representation, or attention.