120. Islands of STS: Refiguring Environmental Futures
May Ee Wong, Aarhus University; Kim De Wolff, University of North Texas;
In STS-Island scholarship, the 'island' is the foundational site of technoscientific knowledge regimes and the spatial imaginary of sociotechnical visions (Gugganig and Klimburg-Witjes 2021). More broadly, the island (as figure, allegory, colonial construct, geographic type) is a key environmental form associated with the Anthropocene. The island embodies precarity, as landforms in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean are disappearing under physical forces of extreme weathering and rising tides. The island also embodies ongoing legacies of extractive colonialism and militarization which inflict slow violence on land-and-seascapes and their communities (DeLoughrey 2011, 2019; Masco 2021). Today, new kinds of islands are emerging, as these legacies and attempts to redirect them are projected into future environments. Infrastructural, biogeochemical, ecological, and even unknown assemblages are being forged and formed at transitional edges.
How can STS help reconfigure the possibilities of thinking environmental futures with (or without) islands? This panel expands Island-STS-environment intersections, by exploring how feminist STS scholars can work in solidarity with decolonial, postcolonial, and Indigenous scholarship and practices that cultivate meaningful ways of being in place and environment. We invite presentations that consider the island as a formation of contested, alternative, and emergent epistemologies, ontologies and visions. We especially welcome scholars in dialogue with fields that critically engage with the island as a form of historical and developmental legacies, land and water borders, elemental and ecological relations, and practices of worlding. Through this, we seek to reinscribe the island in its many relations, beyond its projection as isolated testbed, laboratory and ecosystem.