Ways of Knowing the Ordinary in Climate Adaptation

Colloquium | October 24 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 2538 Channing (Inst. for the Study of Societal Issues), Wildavsky Conference Room

 Sarah Vaughn, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

 Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Joint UCSF/UCB PhD Program in Medical Anthropology, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, and Mgmt. (ESPM)

In this talk I track the development of a Red Cross participatory climate adaptation project in a flood-prone and former urban squatter-town in Guyana. Based on fieldwork between 2009 and 2010, the talk focuses on one technology specific to Red Cross urban climate adaptation called the Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (VCA). The goal of my talk is to examine the VCA as a provocation for the ethnography of climate change. Specifically, I ask: how should we understand the work of participatory climate adaptation, which seeks to train people not to avoid but become sensitive to the ordinariness of vulnerability? I answer this question by engaging recent debates on new materialism in the social studies of science and affect theory to consider how knowledge about vulnerability is understood as an ‘ordinary’ dimension of everyday encounters with climate change.

 bcsm@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0813