CFP: On the edge of the Anthropocene: crossing borders in southern African environmental history

Sandra Swart's picture

CALL FOR PAPERS FOR A SPECIAL ISSUE: On the edge of the Anthropocene: crossing borders in southern African environmental history.

Environmental histories have long shaped the world of humans and other animals, and our shared and shifting environments. Our history is written on the landscapes – in ecosystems, climates and microclimates – and the past is borne by the creatures that inhabit them. They reflect overlapping histories of human mobility and settlement, accommodation and invasion, globalization and parochialism, colonialism and postcolonialism. Southern scholars still need to interrogate the Anthropocene (itself a contested term) as an era, as a discourse, as a political moment and, perhaps especially, as an historical process. Much of the conversation about the Anthropocene has centred upon anthropogenic climate change, especially global warming, and the concomitant burning demands of political mobilisation. To date very little analysis has come from a socio-environmental or environmental history perspective. Moreover, most of the scholarship that has emerged has come from and centred on the global north. But understanding our contemporary moment and the impact of human activity upon our planet requires a longer view and a wider focus. This special issue will engage critically with the very idea of the ‘Anthropocene’ and examine it over the short term and longue durée, acknowledging that the “environment” is itself a contested idea with a history of its own. Thus this special issue wants to cross borders: geographic, temporal and disciplinary. So SAHJ calls for papers adopting a fresh approach to understanding the Anthropocene from the perspective of the global south and more specifically from the perspective of southern African environmental history.

I am looking for papers that engage with the following themes, and I am open to other ideas:

  • How histories of the southern African environment can impact on current policy in the Anthropocene.
  • Colonial histories of animals or human-animal relations and conservation’s troubled history
  • Historical human-animal studies, including historical analyses of animals and indigeneity
  • Dirty histories: pollution and contamination of the environment
  • The environmental histories of southern African cities
  • Vernacular approaches to environmental history
  • Environmental histories of migration and immigration; dislocation and diaspora
  • Environmental histories of inequality and reparation ecology.
  • Comparative case studies between southern Africa history and other contexts
  • Ecological imperialism and the environmental history of invasive species
  • Beyond “environmental agency”: new paradigms of analysis

Contact: Professor Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, sss@sun.ac.za