PROJECTING ENVIRONMENTS - Climates, infrastructures, risks

The environment is nowadays, par excellence, the object of projections into the future. Whether it is climate change, the evolution of biodiversity or the future of resources, the environment is the subject of scholarly anticipations and lay predictions, which aim both to assess future developments and to imagine, and sometimes undertake, actions. These actions may envisage the future in the form of a destiny for which it is necessary to prepare or adapt, or in the form of a project, whereby technical and societal interventions can reshape environments and their futures. While contemporary challenges in this area are clearly exceptional, these issues are not new: environments have been recurrent objects of projection and anticipation throughout history. From the early modern period onwards, the main form of environmental projection has certainly been that of the improvement project, which aims to develop resources, enhance and exploit environments considered to be poorly or under-exploited, justifying significant changes in their modes of ownership and uses. However, environmental projections cannot be reduced to the Western gesture of putting nature to work, and past societies have had to deal with less Promethean perspectives. Thus, risks and pollutions caused by human activities have gradually become fields of projection in their own right, as have epidemics, the recurrence of which has led to the implementation of often illusory health measures. In all these fields, awareness of vulnerability has invited actors to envisage further corrective, preventive, adaptive or restorative actions on their environments. This conference intends to question the way in which modern societies perceive, construct and attempt to transform their environments by projecting their perceptions and contemporary knowledge onto imaginable or foreseeable futures.



15 décembre 2021

9h30 Accueil des participants (Paris/Berlin time)

9h45 Introduction Frédéric Graber, Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin) et Judith Rainhorn, Maison française d’Oxford

10h00 Contrasting environmental futures: Between hydrology and apocalypse (1970s-2020) Christoph Bernhardt (Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung, Erkner)

11h00 Visions de l’aléa au Kazakhstan soviétique : la maîtrise des laves torrentielles et la construction contestée de futurs désirables Marc Elie (CNRS, CERCEC, Paris)

12h00 Pause déjeuner

13h30 Faire des déchets toxiques les ressources durables de demain : La quadrature du cercle de l’économie circulaire Soraya Boudia (Université de Paris)

14h30 From historical projections of the environment to twenty-first-century climate change and sea level rise in New Orleans Eleonora Rohland (Universität Bielefeld, Center for InterAmerican Studies)

15h30 Pause

15h50 Planning in the ‘unplanned’ city: Provisioning for life in 1980s Dar es Salaam Emily Brownell (University of Edinburgh)

16h50 Projecting Environments in Early Modern Science Robert Iliffe (University of Oxford)


16 décembre 2021

9h45 Accueil des participants

10h00 La santé au cours de notre environnement Carine Milcent (CNRS, Paris School of Economics)

11h00 Défendre l’avenir ? Preparedness, survivalisme et conservatisme aux États-Unis Sébastien Roux (CNRS, IGlobes, Tucson, Arizona)

12h00 Pause déjeuner

13h30 Imperiale Utopien bauen: Technologien und Ideologien von Akklimatisierung im „langen“ 19. Jahrhundert Richard Hölzl (Universität Göttingen)

14h30 Dans les ruines du futur. Anticiper et prévenir l’effondrement climatique (XIXe – mi-XXe siècle) Fabien Locher (CNRS, Paris)

15h30 Pause 15h50 Performative projections ? Energy models and forecasts in German and French energy policy Stefan Aykut (Universität Hamburg)

16h50 When Caterpillars Consumed London: Crisis, Climate, and Fear During the Brown-Tail Moth Invasion John Lidwell-Durnin (University of Exeter)

17h50 Conclusion Frédéric Graber, Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin)