Karl Emmanuel Dudman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Oxford, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10214

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Dudman, Karl (Oxford U.) "Listening harder to climate silence: the politics of risk and apathy in the flooded Carolinas"

KARL DUDMAN, then a graduate student at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2021 to aid research on “Listening Harder to Climate Silence: The Politics of Risk and Apathy in the Flooded Carolinas,” supervised by Dr. Javier Lezaun. Communities along the US’s southeast coast are increasingly exposed to disastrous flooding from sea level rise. Whilst these risks are anticipated to intensify, however, landscapes of public ambivalence regarding the subject of climate change endure. Despite these communities’ vulnerability, global climate change politics has yet to find meaningful ways of engaging publics who do not already subscribe to a global vision of science-based action. This research challenges ideas of ‘disengagement’ as an absence of discourse, suggesting instead that climate silence belies complex and socially loaded relationships between publics and those who speak for climate change. Looking at organizations facilitating dialogue between representatives of climate science and citizens in areas of flood-prone North Carolina, this research asks how climate knowledges and political identities continue to be constructed, negotiated and transformed in spaces of encounter. It finds that ‘climate denialism’ is a thin concept that more fairly describes an estrangement from accepted forms of climate citizenship. Instead, the thesis explores non-participation as a form of political expression so far illegible to centralized climate governance. This is borne out in the compromises institutional actors must make to their language, ethics and science in the name of collaboration, thus naturalizing — not extending — the boundaries of the global climate society.