NVAS Africa Day: Living Environments: African Anthropocenes and Climate Justice

You are very welcome at the NVAS Africa Day on Saturday 30 September 2023 in Kargadoor, Utrecht. NVAS is the Netherlands Association of African Studies. The day is organised around the theme of 'Living Environments: African Anthropocenes and Climate Justice'.

Living Environments: African Anthropocenes and Climate Justice
We live in times of unprecedented environmental change. Scholars have therefore begun to refer to our geological time as ‘the Anthropocene’, reflecting that many of these changes can be traced back to human actions and interventions. Our way of life is affecting not just landscapes, lives and livelihoods, but all flora and fauna on the planet, leading David Wallace-Wells to announce in his book The Uninhabitable Earth (2020) that ‘it is worse, much worse, than you think.’ Calling out world leaders’ lack of tangible action on the topic of climate change, activist Greta Thunberg asked at a United Nations meeting in 2019: ‘How dare you?!’ And yet since 2019 the climatic conditions worldwide have worsened further.

Where at some stage we thought the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to some sort of global reset towards more sustainable ways of living, this has not been the case. In fact, we seem to be back and already beyond where we left off before COVID-19, taking the plunder of the planet to new heights. Extreme weather events continue to increase in force and countries across the world have seen their reliance on fossil fuels for energy provision deepened by the war in Ukraine. In particular, African countries are bearing the brunt of the impacts and consequences of the climate change crisis, despite the fact that they have contributed least to causing it. At the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2022, a ‘Loss & Damage Fund for Vulnerable Countries’ was created, but which sentient stakeholders in our shared living environments will ultimately come to benefit from this, remains to be seen.

We will host a broad range of speakers, roundtables and even Climate Poets, who will discuss everyday experiences of climate change on the African continent. 

9.30-10.00: Arrival with coffee/tea
10.00-10.10: Welcome and introduction
10.10-10.30: Climate Poet Saskia Stehouwer c.s.
10.30-11.00: Human Beyonds: Afropean Wa/onderings around the Anthropocene, by research master student Aude Sathoud
11.00-11.15: Coffee/ Tea
11.15-12.45: Plenary paper session, four papers:
• Bert van Pinxteren, guest researcher at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics: ‘Achille Mbembe and the Anthropocene – some personal and philosophical reflections’
• Adriaan Lucassen, Lovis Bos, Simon Vera & Sara de Wit, Leiden University: ‘Anthropocene Africana: representing missing voices through multi-modal storytelling’
• Miriam Waltz, Leiden University: ‘Children of Maize: Modernity, Mutations and Monsters in the Western Kenyan Landscape’
• Branwyn Poleykett, Ismael Thiam & Ndiaga Sall, University of Amsterdam, Université Gaston Berger, Enda Santé: ‘Coproducing planetary diets from Dakar: Anthropocene eating futures beyond the ‘global ration’
12.45-1.30: Ethiopian lunch
13.00 – 13.30: NVAS Members' Meeting
13.30-14.30: Round Table with Theresa Atutu, Tolithemba Ndaba and Iva Pesa: ‘Resource Extraction, Pollution and Protest’
14.30-15.00: Climate Poet Saskia Stehouwer c.s.
15.00-15.30: Coffee/ Tea
15.30-17.00: Plenary paper session four papers:
• Helena Driessen, Wageningen University: ‘Resource Extraction in Green Transitions: Constriction and Resistance along the Rare Earth Metals Value Chain in Southern Africa’
• Anais Menard, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology: ‘Coastal environments at risk: depredation and eco-insecurity in Sierra Leone’
• Gerson Brandao, independent scholar: ‘How are The Netherlands and Germany bringing mining companies to the discussions’ table on sustainable development and what challenges lie ahead in the DR Congo?’
• Evelien Storme, HIVA, KU Leuven: ‘Reefs as multispecies ruins: abalone and livelihood making in South Africa’
17.00-18.00: Drinks


Please register by sending an e-mail to nvasconf@asc.leidenuniv.nl
Free entrance for NVAS members. Non-members pay € 15,- (or € 10,- for 65+ / € 5,- for (PhD) students) to join the NVAS as well as the event.

Date, time and location

30 September 2023
Kargadoor, Oudegracht 36, Utrecht.