Dates: 11-12 July 2024Location: Port Harcourt, NigeriaSubmission deadline: 26 January 2024
Oil drilling has a long history in the Niger Delta. After oil was discovered in commercial quantities in Oloibiri in 1956, the petroleum industry has transformed environments and lifeworlds across the Niger Delta. Dead fish in the rivers after an oil spill, devastated agricultural fields, militant activism, but also practices of kpofire are all part of this environmental history.
Anthropologists, historians, geographers, and political scientists have produced excellent studies of oil in the Niger Delta, focusing on issues of labour, economic change, politics, cultural expression, and much more (e.g. Watts, 2008; Adunbi, 2015; Agbonifo, 2018). Building on the rich scholarship on oil spills, gas flaring, and environmental protest movements, this conference centres on how people have learned to live with the environmental transformations induced by petroleum extraction in the Niger Delta. How did those living around oil wells and pipelines make sense of suffocating air pollution from gas flares and oil spills and the resultant prevalence of chronic respiratory and carcinogenic diseases? Why did some people protest through NGOs and litigations, and some through indigenous means, while others responded by shifting their gardens and livelihoods elsewhere to avoid toxicity?
This conference is organised within the framework of the European Research Council funded project AFREXTRACT, ‘Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation’. We are interested to bring together interdisciplinary scholars, artists, and activists interested in questions of environmental change, lived experiences, cultural expressions, and political responses working on oil extraction in the Niger Delta.
Contributions might address some of the following questions:
We explicitly welcome contributions that go beyond these questions and speak to the conference from a pluralistic perspective along the following sub-themes:
Please send in an abstract of max. 250 words, to: afrextract gmail.com by Friday 26 January, 2024 if you are interested in presenting at the conference. We will inform you by mid-February 2024 whether your abstract has been selected.
This conference will be held on 11-12 July, 2024 at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria (exact location t.b.c.). This conference receives organisational support from the University of Port Harcourt, Faculty of Humanities. Participants should cover their own travel costs to/from Port Harcourt.
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