Aida Arosoaie

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Wisconsin, Madison, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10670

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Arosoaie, Aida (Wisconsin, Madison, U. of) "Stretching socio-environmental justice Rubber animacies in science, ancestral knowledge, and art"

This project examines how scientists, Indigenous people and artists in Malaysia animate the rubber tree towards different racial and environmental futures in the context of climate changes. Smuggled into Southeast Asia in 1877 by British colonizers, rubber links Malaysia’s layered histories of plantations to global hierarchies of racialized extraction underpinning climate changes. Yet nowadays people in Malaysia animate rubber beyond industrial extraction as differentially alive and agential, situating it as a route of situated climate change deliverance: government scientists animate the rubber tree as a “living factory,” adjusting their practices to rubber’s microclimates to fix atmospheric carbon and economic growth; Indigenous communities animate rubber as kin to ground just futures in ancestral knowledge; and contemporary artists animate rubber as an anticolonial educator kin to enact just futures through collaborative practices against racialized extraction. Through twelve months of mixed-method multi-sited ethnographic research in peninsular Malaysia, I investigate the following questions: Why do scientists, Indigenous people & contemporary artists in Malaysia animate the transplanted rubber tree differently? And, what socio-environmental futures are articulated as a result? As I investigate these microclimates of justice in Malaysia, my ethnographic field-research will capture how humans and plants stretch possibilities for socio-environmental justice within extractive fields.