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Denaturalizing climate change: migration, mobilities and spaces

In recent years, the climate change and mobility nexus has become a central focus for the interdisciplinary field of climate change adaptation research. Much attention has been given to defining, measuring, and consequentially managing environmentally driven migration, mirroring widespread public concerns about increased human mobility from global South to North in the context of climate change. So far, the issue has been largely discussed along existing categories of migration control, often overlapping with security discourses addressing perceived threats of future climate change. Determining the role of environmental factors for human mobility remains contentious and tends to rely on a problematic distinction between society and nature as two clearly separable realms.

That fore, this workshop has two goals: on the one side, we aim at further developing critical empirical research perspectives that address social processes linked to climate change. We want to revisit the climate change and migration nexus and bring at least two bodies of critical literature into the conversation. On the one hand, the wide field of critical mobility and postcolonial theory theorizes struggles on interpretational sovereignty and asks questions on new conflicts around resources and postcolonial identities. On the other side, scholars at the intersections of critical geography, anthropology and science and technology studies have challenged the society-nature dualism with new theoretical verve. Understanding climate change as a necessarily social and natural phenomenon at the same time opens up new perspectives on human dealings with social natures that challenge naturalizing understandings of human mobility in a climate-changed world and that helps us to gain new insights into transformation processes of the 21st century more generally.

We invite international scholars to come to Bremen and discuss their empirically grounded papers from different disciplinary backgrounds addressing these and related aspects of climate change, human mobilities and spaces. The workshop will take place at the guest house “Teerhof” of the University of Bremen at the heart of the city centre.

Preliminary program

Workshop organisation:
Silja Klepp
Friederike Gesing      
Johannes Herbeck

Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung