151. Forensic Worldings. (counter)forensic practices in a landscape of socio-environmental violence and devastation

Julia Morales Fontanilla, University of Virginia; MarĂ­a Torres, Arizona State University;

From a decolonial and feminist STS standing, in this panel we explore how attending to forensic technoscientific practices and experts opens possibilities to trace new stories of devastated ecologies and landscapes of violence -and their interrelatedness. As we broaden their scope, we want to take seriously forensic worldings and how they hold at the intersection of concerns about war, environmental devastation, animal extinction, neoliberal extractivism, and more. We wonder: What can forensic doings tell us about the scars and traces left behind by violence on wounded social and ecological landscapes? We are inspired by the work of buscadoras on the US-Mexico border and their steadfast search for the human remains; the work of forensic experts and demining peace experts in rural Colombia; ecologies of memory in Chile; the mushrooming of extractivist practices in Latin America and the systematic killing of those who seek alternatives modes of being with nature; and others who engage with the aftermath of violence. We are interested in thinking about the political work of forensics from a not-only human-centered perspective and in relation to long-term histories of genocide, ecocide, and other forms of socio-environmental violence (Pereira, 2019). We welcome papers that delve into the multiple temporalities, scales, and registers of deep, stratified forms of violence, which operate through entangled forms of life destruction -human and non-human- and find its expression not solely in specific contemporary conflicts, but in slower forms of violence of resource extraction, current colonialism, and state control in a scenario of neoliberal dispossession (Meszaros-Martin, 2019. We encourage academic and artistic works that engage in exploring new collaborative research methodologies -from anthropology to geology and art-, as well as new sets of aesthetic and narrative sensibilities, to bring about new understandings of the intertwined contexts of socio-environmental violence and devastation.

Contact: jmoralesfontanilla@virginia.edu, mariatorres@asu.edu

Keywords: Forms and Practices of Expertise, Feminist STS, Decolonial and Postcolonial STS, forensic sciences; violence

Published: 04/07/2023