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Vortrag von Pierre du Plessis: Tracking Contested Landscapes: Speculation, Extractivist Creep, and Temporal Disjuncture in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

17.01.2023, 18.30 Uhr
Iwalewahaus und Zoom


This paper is a story of failures and environmental destruction surrounding the early stages of Coal-Bed Methane prospecting in a semi-protected wildlife area in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. It explores the processes through which remote landscapes are transformed into resource frontiers and how those processes involve a great variety of contradictory ideological framings, practices, and enactments.

Not least of these are the simultaneous speculative practices that treat landscapes as both empty, homogenous, and static (and timeless) and as full of untapped potential, diverse, and lively in order enact them as “standing reserves” (critical to energy futures). In so doing, the paper also offers a glimpse into how even failed prospecting projects serve as signs of the emergence of larger extraction projects in the future, while having immediate and long term social and ecological effects.

This work usually occurs out of sight of broader publics-- but with dramatic effect on local communities and environments-- with the specific joint aims of striking it rich and securing energy futures that emphasize the potential of extraction, even as the ventures fail to produce. Yet, despite the speculative nature of prospecting, by the time it occurs the frameworks for extraction projects are often already well on their way to being realized, even when prosecting fails. The social-environmental consequences, in turn, appear to be treated as mere collateral and expendable debris. 

Link zu den Zoom Einwahldaten

Verantwortlich für die Redaktion: Nadja Bscherer

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