Noah Theriault

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Carnegie Mellon U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-844

Approve Date

February 14, 2020

Project Title

Theriault, Noah (Carnegie Mellon U., PA) "Collaborative Ecologies: Anthropologies of (and for) Survival in the More-Than-Human City

Amid an escalating planetary breakdown, anthropologists are increasingly concerned with what Anna Tsing (2015) calls ‘collaborative survival,’ the cooperative, life-sustaining work that sometimes occurs across social and cultural divides during times of upheaval. Many of us feel professionally compelled not only to understand but also to help foster this work. As home to a majority of humans on Earth, cities are vital but often overlooked sites from which to explore actual and potential forms of collaborative survival. Today’s cities teem with multiple forms of life, intermingling with ever more complex infrastructural grids, transport systems, and media. Cities are also home to diverse coalitions of workers, feminist organizations, and indigenous and/or racialized people who find common purpose in the defense of their environments. Our workshop ‘Collaborative Ecologies’ brings together ethnographers who work with such coalitions in different parts of the world. Together we will explore how these coalitions form and take creative or experimental action around matters of pollution, mobility, food access, stormwater, wildlife management, sanitation, and ecological health. What do these efforts reveal about the present and future of cities? How might they complicate prevailing theories of socioecological change? And what, finally, does anthropological engagement with these coalitions reveal about the capacities and shortcomings of our own disciplinary tools, particularly ethnography?