39. The Appellations of Late Capitalism: On the Possibility of a Conceptual Terroir

Alexander Jenseth, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - STS;

Technologies and digital media raise questions of 'deep time' (Zielinski, 2007) and 'geologic time' (Parikka, 2015). Similar questions have long existed in Resource Geography (Bridge, 2015; Himley, Havice & Valdivia, 2022)  Seeing the built environment as concretized end-products of world-wide material extraction reframes analysis of truly all things. But this is just one example of what this panel asks after: Terroir. In the world of wine experts and sommeliers, Terroir is key; it can be a means of 'tasting the past' (Begos, 2018) or tasting a literal location - its soil/mineral components, its ecosystem, and geology (Maltman, 2018). There is debate on Terroir within wine and geology, many seeing it as an effect of fermentation and chemistry, not "the earth" as some might claim. Rather than seeking papers specifically on the topic of digital media (a possible example), this panel simply asks: where did all this shit come from? Who was potentially hurt? Who benefited? Is it even possible to know any of this whilst examining end-products? Terroir is a complex/controversial area of discussion in wine and seems ready-made to help those asking such questions. Do sommeliers taste the minerals, soil, and environment of the wine? Or is it fermentation and chemistry, little to do with geology, minerals, extraction? So, for instance, do we know where the components of our computers, of our buildings, and just about anything else (Labban, 2013) come from? Please join if you have something on wine/spirits specifically, but do not limit yourself. Everything has Terroir.

Contact: jensea@rpi.edu

Keywords: Environmental/Multispecies Studies; Forms and Practices of Expertise; Food and Agriculture; Fermentation; Terroir; Appellation of Origin; Extraction Zone

Published: 04/17/2023