30. Oceans: Matter, Method, Meanings

Jonathan Galka, Harvard University; Edmund Molder, University of Wisconsin; Meghan Shea, Stanford University;

Recent critical scholarship has turned to the ocean as a site for reimagining terracentric social & political histories while also thinking through what methodologies the ocean and its processes might offer the study of indigenous & black theories, media and aesthetics, literature, anthropology, and STS. This oceanic turn coincides with intensified effects of anthropogenic climate change and environmental deterioration on the ocean system. Oceans are today replete with endangered ecologies, yet approaches to governance remain constrained. This panel queries how these trends can be thought through each other in new, productive, and crucially, just ways. What does it mean to assert that the ocean has many histories, and that knowledge of the ocean is conceived through diverse epistemologies? What does it mean to do so from the vantage of the Hawaiian islands? How might we develop better accounts of the ocean that speak to social and environmental change in its situated manifestations? Addressing these questions means asking how STS might engage with, amplify, or otherwise work in solidarity with marginalized knowledge and knowers, while recognizing the hegemony of dominant knowledge systems. As such, this panel invites papers that analytically center oceanic sites and processes. Papers might include, for example, how diverse epistemologies are represented (or not) in ocean governance, the impacts of military or extractive histories on oceanic knowledge production, or the ongoing social and environmental impacts of oceanic infrastructures. We encourage submissions not only from STS scholars, but also from lab and field-based scientists, engaged community members, and activists.

Contact: jgalka@g.harvard.edu, molder@wisc.edu, mshea@stanford.edu

Keywords: Governance and Public Policy, Infrastructure, Environmental/Multispecies Studies, ocean, history, epistemology

Published: 04/07/2023