OHP Publications


Advisory Board




The Albany Project


The Institute on Critical Climate Change

Ecologies of War: Life Technologies
and Planetary Conflict

November 8-9, 2007

University at Albany

Ecologies of War

Ecologies of War

There are indications that the Twenty-first Century will be one of visible and invisible wars, not only those predicted around resources (oil, water) or new technologies, but wars internal to all aspects of planetary organization: memory regimes, orders of knowledge, definitions of the human. These shifts present the problem of a new war ecology where the term ecology is to be read in the broadest sense. Perhaps the problem of the twenty-first century will not only be the weather, but the way we “weather” war?

How might we address such a future? Are Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and so on, little more than extensions of a declaration of war on ourselves as an "other," an all-encompassing ecological war without a theoretical language or discourse sufficient to describe these seismic shifts?

Global warming and global warring, race war, irreversible climate change, the coming atmospheric catastrophes, are paradigmatic for determining unprecedented planetary change, as if coming from without or beyond Twentieth-century models o f the humanities and science. Such shifts include: new social orders, new epistemological strategies, new modalities of info-conflict in an age of cybernetic violence--changes that seem to rupture the human against human model of conflict. A new "threat without enemy” opens onto other factors that have of yet to be fully disclosed.

Ecologies of War, a second symposium produced by the Department of English and CHATS furthuring the Institute on Critical Climate Change in the Humanities (ICCCH), complements a series of events initiated at UAlbany designed to open dialogue on shifts occurring within the environment at large and within various critical theory environments.

Presentations will be published in a special issue of Global South.
Issues and questions to be addressed over this two-day event include:

  • The interface of war technologies, terrestrial mutation, and the
    powers of memory and media;
  • Address of shifts in social agendas, political orders, and cultural
    preoccupation in a time of invisible and permanent war;
  • Speculation on co ming critical horizons and their continuity or
    discontinuity with the great 20th century discourses;
  • What models respond to a “post-polar” planetary condition that
    exceeds what we have meant merely by the global, and what new
    allegories and management of conflict can be anticipated?
  • What is the accord between such logics and the practices of memory
    regimes, mediacratic environs, and temporal models?
  • What of the communicative act itself--rendered now as rumor,
    technology, as bio-informatics—and its inseparability from the language
    of war? Popularizations of global warming refer to our “planetary
    fever,” national security demands the disintegration of the “neutral
    citizen,” and the privatization of the earths common treasuries
    portend a new epoch of biogenetic eco-economy, if not also, “corporate

Other topics for the Ecology of War symposium will include; the analytics of warfare in the era of climate change; aesthetics: brilliant munitions/brilliant mutations; the figure of the disabled veteran; environmental racism and the re-doing of "race"; bioengineering and global justice; the "de-civilianization" of the public sphere; scientific weather prophecy; and others.

Keynote Speakers

Jody Berland
Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities, York University, and a member of the graduate programs in Humanities, Communication and Culture, the Department of Music, and the Graduate Programme of Social and Political Thought at York University. She is the editor of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) and a member of the internatonal board of the Association of Cultural Studies. She has published widely on cultural studies, Canadian communication theory, music, radio and video, feminist bodies, cultural environmental studies, and social space. Her book North of Empire is forthcoming from Duke University Press.

David Harvey
Professor of Geography at the Johns Hopkins University. From 1987 to 1993 he held the Halford Mackinder Chair of Geography at Oxford University. His previous books include Social Justice and the City (Blackwell), The Limits of Capital (Chicago UP), and The Urban Experience (Johns Hopkins UP).

Chris Hedges
Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent and bestselling author, will be a keynote speaker at The Ecologies of War: Life Technologies and Planetary Conflict. Hedges is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), a national bestseller that explores the seductive powers of wartime mythologies. The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hedges shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize as part of the New York Times reportorial team on global terrorism. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007). Publishers Weekly said, “this urgent book forcefully illuminates what many across the political s pectrum will recognize as a serious and growing threat to the very concept and practice of an open society.” Other books by Hedges include Losing Moses on the Freeway (2005) and What Every Person Should Know About War (2003).

Ecologies of War Program

*All activities in the Standish Room on the 3rd floor of the Science Library unless otherwise noted*

Thursday, November 8th

10:30a.m. -12:00 p.m. Opening Session and Introduction

Message from the Dean Kathy Gersowitz

Message from Center for Humanities, Arts, and Technosciences Mary Valentis

Institute on Critical Climate Change Tom Cohen

Opening the Question Mike Hill

12:00pm-1:30 pm Lunch on Your Own

1:30pm-3:00pm Keynote Address: David Harvey, City University of New York

Introduction Bret Benjamin

3:30pm-5:30pm Panel Discussion

Pat Chu, Moderator

Jan Mieszkowski, Reed College:
Language and Violence (one more time)

Kevin Bell, University at Albany:
Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Radiance, Ruin, "Still/Here"

Jason Smith, University of California, Irvine:
The S tasiological paradigm: Global Civil War and the Threat without Enemy

5:30pm-7:30pm Cocktail Buffet in University Hall

8:00pm Keynote Address: Chris Hedges in Campus Center Ballroom

Introduction Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

Friday, November 9th

8:15am-9:00am Continental Breakfast in the Standish Room

9:00am-10:30 Panel Discussion

Elise Andaya, Moderator

Henry Sussman, University of Buffalo:
Terror Turned Domestic: The Escalating War of Insults

Shaun Irlam,20University of Buffalo:
Genocide and Biopolitical Modernity in Africa

Jason Groves, Yale University:
The Ecology of Invasions

11:00am-1:00pm Keynote Address, Jody Berland, York University
Animal as/and medium: Symbolic work in communicative regimes

Introduction Bret Benjamin

Buffet Lunch in the Standish Room, 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:00 pm-4:00pm Panel Discussion

Glynne Griffith, Moderator

Jennifer Burrell, University at Albany:
Technologies of Peace: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights

Al Lopez, Purdue University:
Apocalypse Ongoing: Living in the Postglobal World

Thomas Bass, University at Albany:
Counterinsurgency: A Report on My Week at the U.S. Army War College

4:15pm-5:30pm Wrap Up Panel

Tom Cohen, Moderator
Wartime Blogs on a 'threat without enemy'



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