Much contemporary anxiety and uncertainty relates to the future of the 'natural world'. This panel invites papers that attend to the challenges and openings that follow from destabilising a concept of Nature and the Anthropos, and explores the interfaces between anthropology and science studies.
A great source of contemporary disquiet, anxiety and uncertainty relates to the future of the 'natural world': environmental change, biosecurity, pandemics, biodiversity, and the global supply and distribution of food and water. This has intensified a concern with nature as an object of analysis. At the same time, anthropological approaches to a non-humanised nature are increasingly challenged, both from within the discipline and from outside. Foundational dichotomies between Nature and the 'Unnatural' (be that social, human, technological, cultural) no longer hold, and various propositions seek to undo these, either through the invention of new concepts (biosociality, socio-material assemblages, nature-cultures) or by widening the object of study beyond the notion of 'anthropos' (multispecies ethnography). Acknowledging that such attempts at un-doing 'nature' are often inspired by science studies and performativity, we invite papers that address a variety of theoretical positions that draw inspiration from disciplinary encounters between anthropology and material semiotics, actor-network theory, STS or empirical philosophy. What are the most critical disjunctures? How do we situate ethnographies that allow for multiplicity, uncertainty, and ongoing enactments of nature? These interfaces could involve a reconsideration of the term actor, the role of the social, the concept of indigeneity, or the status of context and comparison in our analyses. How are these and other analytical tools challenged through approaches that privilege multiple enactments of the real? We invite papers that attend to challenges, openings and uncertainties that follow from a destabilisation of Nature and the Anthropos. Both ethnographic and theoretical contributions are welcome.