Digital Conference, May 20-21, 2021
Un/Predictable Environments: Politics, Ecology, Agency
In the past year, unstoppable wildfires, devastating floods, powerful hurricanes, and the deadly Coronavirus pandemic have resulted in widespread death, despair, and destitution. The very terrain of global environmental action has been riven by political dramas and realignments played out on the international stage. Such un/predictable environments remind us not only of the interconnectedness of human systems with more-than-human ecologies, but also how multiple crises can converge and accumulate to produce intersectional impacts.
Our capacity to respond to environmental calamities depends upon how we understand the uncertainties associated with precipitous changes, the nature of vulnerabilities, and our ethical commitments to anticipatory and ongoing care and repair of the natural world. To foster transformative debate across three continents, we have proposed a digital conference at the convergence of critical and emancipatory practices around research, scholarship, art, and activism. The conference aims to explore how we undertake to predict and avoid socio-ecological harm and disasters. How do we frame the issue of ‘un/predictability’ in our narratives, solutions and practices, and how un/predictable are the intended outcomes?
This conference was co-hosted by the Public Humanities Hub at UBC-Vancouver and the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with the University of Allahabad. Keynote events and sessions were held online.
This site has been transformed into a living archive of our conference. If you missed an event of interest in another time zone, you may now go to the listing in the program and click on embedded media. You may need to refresh pages to access new content.
While this conference is virtual, UBC-Vancouver is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The land is situated on what has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam, who for millennia have passed on their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.
Welcome from Musqueam Elder Larry Grant:
Messages from the leadership of the host universities, the conference organizers, and the organizing teams:
Watch our keynotes
With the help of our sponsors, many of our events are available to stream, open access. Click here to watch the four keynote speakers’ presentations, recorded from Delhi, Toronto, Sydney, and upstate New York. We have also posted videorecordings of special events and presenters who wished to be recorded. Remember to reload your browser pages to refresh content.
The recordings posted here are freely available to use in classes, cite in papers, and share with your networks. Please take care to recognize the speakers and the conference when you do. If you need help to acknowledge a source, feel free to contact the organizers.
Thanks to everyone who participated
Scheduled over the two days of our digital conference, there were more than 20 panels and roundtables, with over 60 volunteered presentations streamed from all over the world. The conference was organized by a team of 14 students and faculty, and one canine mascot, across three host universities. You can meet us if you listen to the welcome message above. Our special events included keynotes, film screenings, an art prize, and the launch of the Environmental Humanities Research Network at UBC.
Available recordings are now embedded in our program. If you missed something in another time zone, you can watch it now! Check out our program to see an overview and read more about individual sessions by clicking on the links or browsing by session type. Registered conference participants were sent a password to the attendees-only section of the website, to access the Zoom links to events. Zoom links are no longer active, since the conference is finished. However, you can learn more about our conference themes by looking at the original call for papers, and visiting our blog.
Session presenters who would like a certificate of participation may request one directly from Prashant Khattri.
You can still join the conversation!
Are you excited about the conversations you had at the conference, or one of the videos you’ve just got to see? Follow along on our Conference Blog for event debriefs and continuing discussion about what “Un/Predictable Environments” means to you. We warmly welcome colleagues, students, artists, activists and community members to contribute. We’ll be posting presenter commentaries, participant reactions, photo essays, and more. Bookmark our Conference Blog Site, and tune in regularly for new updates!
There is no cost to participate or access recordings; however, volunteered papers and registration were required in advance. This conference was held online via Zoom.
This conference is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.