Workshop: Equivocal (anthropo)cenes: indigenous ontologies and the ethics of geo-climatic disruptions

Santiago, Chile. November 8-9, 2018

Organized by:
Marcelo González, P. Universidad Católica and CIGIDEN
Manuel Tironi, P. Universidad Católica and CIGIDEN

Kristina Lyons, University of Pennsylvania
Claudio Millacura, Universidad de Chile
Timothy Neale, Deakin University

The end of the world has begun, and the blame is on us –or at least on some “us”. Floods and droughts, fires and hurricanes, large-scale chemical pollution and a growing loss of biodiversity: human-induced disasters multiply, as this multiplication unveils the disruption of biospheric equilibriums to a threshold of no-return. The world will carry on but, we begin to recognize, it will not be anymore suitable for a humanity that has unleashed the inhuman might of a revengefull Gaia. The “Anthropocene” is how the geosciences has named this agonistic moment in human-nature relations.

But the “Anthropocene” dramaturgy needs to be decolonized. By posing itself in relation to two interconnected although distinct entities, “humans” and the “world,” the Anthropocene narrative rests upon a bifurcation that is anything but universal. From the perspective of the “the enormous minority of peoples that has never been modern” (Danowski and Viveiros de Castro 2017), who we is and for whom the “world” is a world are crucial questions that Anthropocene theories have failed to answer. Even social critique has only surfaced the challenge of accounting for modes of dwelling along, acting upon and caring for geo-climatic disruptions that are other to the assumptions of the Anthropocene: while critique has focused on the confusion between planetarity and generality, pointing to the heterogeneity of sites and “humans” involved in the (uneven) production and suffering of the Anthropocene, less attention has been paid to whether beyond the sociological question of difference, there is an ontological problem around what constitutes to be human, to inhabit the Earth and to die in and by it.

In this workshop we want to think about this (anthropo)cene otherwise, attending to how indigenous ontologies render knowable and interveneable geo-climatic disruptions. Problematizing the “end of the world” arc, we want to explore the ethico-political potentiality of the restorative and co-laboring practices that emerge when human-nature relations are indigenized. We take “indigenous” as a complex category that relates, first and foremost, to aboriginal, native or ancestral communities, but also to local, subaltern, or activists collectives rehearcing “emplaced” politics of becoming (Gibson-Graham 2003). Inspired by various contemporary proposals for the decolonization of the (anthropo)cene—such as Anthropo-not-seen (De la Cadena), Capitalocene (Moore), or Chtulucene (Haraway)— we are interested in exploring the following questions:

How human-geology relations and cycles of life and death are theorized and practized by indigenous communities or otherwise emplaced collectives?
What “disaster” –and by extension “risk”, “continuity” and “disruption”— means from indigenous ontologies and which moral principles are rendered relevant?
How can situated and immanent knowledge intervene in, and partake along, generalizing theories on geo-climatic processes and change?
Which other modes of attention, care, reciprocity, and collaboration are proposed by indigenous collectives in the face of biophysical disturbances?
What alterity means for thinking the (anthropo)cene and acting politically against it?
What do we have to learn from indigenous expertise for disaster risk reduction and mitigation?

The workshop will be held at P. Universidad Católica de Chile, campus San Joaquín, 8-9 November, in Santiago, Chile. The 2-days workshop is designed as a space for in-depth debate. We aim at a small group of 15 participants.

Upon acceptance, each participant will have to submit an extended abstract (3,000 words), which will be working on collaboratively during the days of the workshop. We are in conversations with University of Pennsylvania Press to publish an edited volume with the results of the workshop.

Application and deadlines

Applications to participate are now open until September 15th. Applications must include an abstract (300 words) sent to Manuel Tironi ( and Marcelo González ( Accepted participants will be notified by late-September.

Deadline for abstract submission (300 words, in Spanish, Portuguese or English): September 15th
Notice of acceptance: September 31st
Deadline for extended abstract submission (3,000 words, in English): October 25th
For questions please contact Manuel Tironi ( and Marcelo González (