Climates of Colonialism

Session Convenors:

Julia Lum (Scripps College, Claremont, CA, USA),

Gabrielle Moser (OCAD University, Toronto, Canada),

Please email your paper proposal to the session convenors using the Paper Proposal Form


This session investigates how art and cultural production in the (former) British Empire has long charted the interdependent and co-constitutive logics of climate and colonialism. It welcomes scholarly analyses of historic and contemporary art and visual culture – from historic maps, topographical sketches, built environments and landscape painting, to 20th-century touristic views, earth art installations, film and video art – that consider how artistic treatments of environmental change can be located within broader histories of dispossession, extraction, and genocide. Not only was climate central to anthropological representations of racial differences in imperial ideologies – such as suppositions about which populations were ‘naturally suited’ to particular weather events, temperature ranges and climatic conditions – but colonial practices of extraction and commodification radically altered ecologies under colonial rule. Following calls by Indigenous, Black, post-colonial and feminist scholars to locate the history of climate change at the start of global trade and modern colonialism, rather than the Industrial Revolution, this session imagines climate change not as a new event, but rather as ‘the continuation of practices of dispossession and genocide, coupled with a literal transformation of the environment, that have been at work for the last five hundred years’ (Davis and Todd 2017: 761). Taking up the rich cross-disciplinary discussion that has emerged around the Anthropocene (which permeates nearly every academic discipline), this session seeks to consider representations of not only atmospheric pollution, extraction, flood, fire, and meteorology, but also human/animal and inter-species relations, agrarianism, deforestation, cities and transportation networks, gardening and park land, and acclimatisation as indexes of colonial intervention.

Successful panelists may discuss the option of presenting via Skype.

Submit a paper

Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors above, using the Paper Proposal Form

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 21 October 2019

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