Brown Bag Seminar: (Staff only) Particulate Matters: Dust, Disease, and the Embodiment of Catastrophe in Central California

Speaker: Michael Vine (Cambridge, AURA/Centre for Environmental Humanities visiting Ph.D. student) Organized by Heather Swanson

2017.04.30 | Nynne Visbo-Bomose

Date Wed 24 May
Time 11:00 12:00
Location 4206-117 (aud. 1), Campus Moesgaard

In the early twentieth century, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power completed construction on its first aqueduct: built to convey water to the city from the Owens River, 240 miles to the northeast. Within a few short years, the Owens Valley’s riverine environment had undergone a profound transformation, unleashing a series of immense dust storms that continued to blow until the turn of the twentieth century. Following these dust storms as they traffic through homes, into human bodies, and throughout the intensely anthropogenic airscape of Central California, this paper enquires into the shifting textures of everyday life in the shadows of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. In place of the linear spatial and temporal assumptions that often underpin the ways in which environmental crises are imagined and theorised, the paper investigates the mutual absorption of the event and the ordinary, the organism and its environment, and the ethnographic case at hand and its broader historical context amidst a scene of unfolding environmental change. 

Antropologi