Field Initiatives

The debates around the Anthropocene require new methodologies for urgent engagements with the environment drawn from the arts, humanities, and the social sciences. In this HWW-funded project, we developed eight field initiatives based on existing field projects of faculty and graduate students, who through their research agendas, address questions related to environmental politics. The main objective is to create a platform of collaborative thinking about innovative field methodologies, and to forge comparative analyses of field situations in different contexts. Each initiative involves brief but intensive (2 week-long) field interventions. These interventions are not meant to replace the standard, data-gathering fieldwork that the researchers are already carrying out, but are designed to complement them with creative interventions. Many field initiatives are needed to study comparatively a variety of political ecological situations in both urban and rural contexts from around the world, in order to develop a rigorously multi-sited approach and collect a wealth of responses to global discourses on climate change and environmental crisis. Conventional projects focused on a single site or a region often fail to address the complexity of the local and are insufficient to demonstrate the variety of local practices that feed into and impact global discourses. We formulated eight field initiatives:

(1) Place, Heritage and Resistance in the Wakhan Corridor, Pakistan, investigates architectural heritage in relation to national and global interventions to place.

(2) Working in and through Climate Change: Agricultural Landscapes in Coamiles, Nayarit, Mexico, explores the climate-change discourse among Mexican farmers.

(3) Care Across Species, Routes of Refuge, and People as Infrastructure in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul, investigates creative solidarity practices around an urban transformation project in metropolitan Turkey.

(4) Cochabamba Water, investigates climate change as state discourse and the water crisis among the agriculturalists facing severe droughts In Bolivia.

(5) Cultivating Chicago: Gardens as Ecological Infrastructures, engages with gardeners who create meaningful spaces through growing, and presents gardens as alternative infrastructures.

(6) Knowledge Production and Practice in Industrial Row Crop Farming, Northern Illinois explores knowledge systems of row crop farming as integral to broader scale politics and markets.

(7) Ecology, Archaeological Heritage, and Disposable Landscapes at a Coal-fired Power Plant in West Central Turkey, addresses the state discourse of disposable landscapes and local resistance.

(8) Social and Environmental Impact of Hydropower Dams and Large-scale Industrial Tree Plantations in in northeastern Cambodia addresses the effects of global narratives of climate change on local environmental politics.