Ordering the Anthropocene: Law & the Environment in the Indian Ocean World
A workshop convened by Debjani Bhattacharyya (Drexel University) and Laurie Wood (Florida State University)4-5th October 2019
Hosted by the Department of History, Drexel University, with the generous sponsorship of the American Society for Legal History & Drexel University
What can historians of law achieve from engaging with their colleagues studying environmental changes over time? How have emerging regulatory regimes (imperial, property-oriented, maritime, medical, etc.) joined the domains of science and law in new ways? And how can legal historians retool their methods to study deep histories of landscape transformations and climate? These questions are especially pertinent for the Indian Ocean region, where these concerns have both past and contemporary relevance: e.g. rising sea levels in the Maldives and Andaman Islands; coastal erosion and disputes over new-land formation along the littorals of Bay of Bengal; island-building in Singapore (with sand from Gulf states); disaster relief following the 2004 tsunami and earthquake, which especially affected Indonesia and Malaysia; food security around the Horn of Africa; and some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
The workshop will consist of 4 panels, with 2 presenters in each panel. We will pair legal historians with historians of environment to explore how common terminology around evidence, witness, reason, expertise is affected by concepts of time that are distinct in each discipline. We welcome papers exploring the following questions broadly:
- Where does law/do legal regimes collide with the material world?
- Where/when/how/why do natural phenomena become entangled in ordering regimes?
- How do these relationships (re)configure the human as social (e.g. relational, hierarchical, vocal) and material (e.g. embodied, constrained by lifespan, etc.)?