Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of IIT Kharagpur conducted an international conference on “Interweaving Anthropology, Science, and Narrative: Post-anthropocentric Mappings in the Era of Climate Crises,” last week that saw the footfall of many eminent national and international academicians, experts, researchers and scholars. The conference was organised by Dr. Saswat Samay Das & Prof. Bhagirath Behera, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Kharagpur in association with Prof. Anton Kirchhofer & Dr. Anna Auguscik, University of Oldenburg, Germany and Dr. Ananya Roy Pratihar, Institute of Management and Information Science, Bhubaneswar, India.
Speaking in the international symposium, Dr. Das remarked that climate crises demand dispensing with traditional patterns of eco-criticism and turning new planetary aesthetics provided by likes of Dipesh Chakraborty into praxis. Prof. Saugata Bhaduri opined that the need of the time is to view climate crises not with a rejectionist temper, but more positively as a vehicle of regeneration and renewal.
Responding to American Philosopher Donna Haraway’s clarion call to rethink climate crises, the speakers including Prof. Bhaduri emphasized that a tentacular mode of rethinking is required to understand such crises. Prof. Simi Malhotra claimed that while facing climate crises there is a need for developing a planetary sensibility that could “open up relevant ways of thinking, feeling, and being in the world”, rather than reacting to such crises with emotions of fear, pessimism and antagonism produced by humanist institutions.
Prof. Saitya Brata Das, on the contrary, spoke on the need of tailoring ‘a politics of eco-theology’ that can situate a-humanistic thinking, a thinking directed at removing humans from the position of centrality, as the new religious practice of our times. Prof. Anton Kirchhofer and Dr. Anna Auguscik claimed that mapping the constitutive inexpressibility of climate crises demands an experimental mode of narration.
Referring to Amitav Ghosh’s ingenuous narrative style they claimed that a form of “stratigraphic storytelling” is required for yielding a penetrating post-phenomenological insight into what stood as the “unspeakabilities” of climate crisis. Dr. Huzaifa claimed that the only way to remove traces of anthropologism from discourses of climate crises is to develop what he called a phenomenology of extinction that focuses on stressing the integrality of death drive to human existence.
The symposium indulged in session on the subjects of Eco-aesthetics of the Planet and Globe into Praxis; Anthropocene Perspectives on the Human and its others in Literary Narratives; Critique of Environmentalism: A Comparative Study of Bibhutibhishan Bandyopadhyay’s Aranyak and Mahasweta Devi’s The Hunt; Modernizing Exploitation: Gulf Migration and the Representation of ‘Wasted Lives’ in Temporary People; Mapping Oil Ecologies: Commodity Frontiers and Resource Extraction in Helon Habila’s Oil Fiction Oil on Water (2010) and Cultural Hybridity as Preservation of Westernization: An Investigation of the Selected Novels of Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid were few among the many genres.
Inputs By : Prof. Saswat Samay Das, Humanities and Social Sciences,IIT Kharagpur
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