Displacement as Substitution: From Environmental Crisis to the Crises of Democracy

Displacement as Substitution: From Environmental Crisis to the Crises of Democracy

Across Papers and Trees: Ecologies of Reference and the Production of Technical Facts in Peruvian Amazonia
Eduardo Romero (Columbia University)

This paper explores the uneasy material lives of the dreams of rainforest management in Peru by following the ways in which state engineers conduct logging supervisions in order to produce facts about the logging activities performed in the rainforest. By describing the various points of epistemic rupture and controversy that arise during their work, I show how la vida del monte always comes to be entangled in uneasy and problematic ways with efforts to reduce it to a space of neutral and objective representation.

“Local” Seeds in Turkey: Displaced Meanings Between Preservation and Nationalist Discourse
Burge Abiral (Johns Hopkins University)

This paper explores the conflicting discourses and practices around “local” seeds in contemporary Turkey, against the backdrop of the ongoing process of agrarian neoliberal re-structuring. As the term “local” acquires contradictory meanings, scholars and activists alike, similarly to those who comment on the agrarian crisis globally, often relate these changes to farmers’ loss of independence at the expense of transnational capital. Yet I argue that this narrative eclipses how the government of the Justice and Development Party incentivizes, by promoting a nationalist and populist discourse on locality, the development of a national agricultural industry based on Islamic capital.

Wounds of Displaced Guilt: Coal Mining, Right-Wing Populism, and Misplaced Accusations in Aegean Turkey
Elif Irem Az (Columbia University)

This paper investigates the linkages between modes of production, diverse forms of labor, and right-wing populism in Aegean Turkey, by focusing co-constituting misrepresentations that undergird the accusation of mineworkers and their families in Soma and Kınık for the so-called ‘crises’ of secularism and democracy in Turkey. Against much secularist public discourse that assigns guilt to non-urban Turkish subjects for the rise of both the ruling Justice and Development Party and of right-wing populism, I argue that neither coal mining is the primary mode of production in the region nor mineworkers and their families constitute the majority of ‘the people.’

The “Crisis of Secularism” and Other “Isms” in India
Miki Chase (Johns Hopkins University)

In this paper I explore the current political climate in India through the “Indian secularism in crisis” trope, which has persisted almost constantly since the term’s instantiation in the Constitution in 1976. I follow the argument that Hindu majoritarianism substitutes the term secularism in the service of its nationalist aims. As such, the term is in danger of subsuming and obscuring certain categories, particularly gendered ones, of experience, being, and identity. I reflect on the discourse of secularism in India—constantly in crisis—as an ongoing and ever more urgent example of how Hindu nationalism compromises democracy.

On the Empirical Corrective as/and Politics
Jessica Cattelino (UCLA)

This presentation provides a discussion of the four papers in this panel through the concept of empirical corrective as/and politics.

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