VANDA 2020


Environmental Imaginaries

Beyond Text/ Beyond Observation

As part of the Vienna Anthropology days 2020, Sept 28-October 1, we looked forward to receiving papers and multimedia contributions to a panel named after our project (call closed):


Exploring the zeitgeist of resources and power, political ecology employs the concept of “environmental imaginaries” as the constellation of ideas that groups of humans develop about a given environment (Davis 2012). Intersecting imaginaries exist in every context and are developed by every society. Employed by hegemonic actors, taking a form of “environmental orientalism”, they however frequently fuel imperial and colonial projects. Our panel takes a cue from Sherry Ortner’s “good anthropology” (2016) and collaboratively investigate social initiatives into, what we tentatively call, “restorative imaginaries”. Our critical question is two-fold: “what makes, or could make, restorative imaginaries socio-culturally impactful in the given context?”, and “how shall we, as social anthropologists and other practitioners, creatively and constructively work with such imaginaries to provoke new approaches to the ecological crisis?”.

This Exhibition Style panel seeked to bring the audience into an intermedial space. We welcomed multimedia contributions (photo, video, audio, object, text) accompanied by max. 15 min talk. In addition, we particularly welcomed applications with a focus on the “elemental”: water; its presence, absence and violation.

Mahroo Movahedi (University of Bern)
Pavel Borecký (University of Bern)
Zainabu Jallo (University of Bern)
Michael Toggweiler (University of Bern)