"Habitability and Empire” Conference | 23-24 June 2022

A two-day conference examining ideas of ‘habitability’ and ‘uninhabitability’ in the context of empire and the changing limits of life on Earth.

VENUE: Humanities Institute (H204)


Day 1 – 23 June 2022

10.45-11.00 Opening Remarks

11.00-12.30 Differential Habitability

Mark Dizon (Ateneo de Manila University): “The Uninhabitable Tropics: The Spanish Conquest of the Philippine Uplands”
Oluwadara Abiodun Fakunle (Osun State University, Ikire): “Making Sense of the Habitable and Uninhabitable Homeland of the Orile-Owu People (Southwest Nigeria)”
Maria Gago (European University Institute/IHC, Nova University of Lisbon): “Coffee, Race and Deep Time: Negotiating human and nonhuman habitability in the making of colonial Angola (1898-1961)”

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break

13.30-15.00 Habitability, Colonisation and Labour

*Patrick Anthony (LMU/Cambridge): “Inhabiting the Dead House: Exile and Empire in Siberia”
*Erica Mukherjee (NYU Shanghai): “Salt Water and Waste-Land in the Sundarbans”
*Olivia Durand (Freie Universität Berlin): “Inhospitable or cosmopolitan cities? Comparing the port cities of New Orleans and Odessa as expressions of American and Russian settler colonialism”

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break

15.30-17.00 Habitability and Imperial Imaginaries

*Anuparna Mukherjee (IISER Bhopal): “Nostalgia’s Maps: Habitability and its Limits in the Imperial Narratives of Colonial India”
*Toby Harper (Arizona State University): “Trout Acclimatization and Habitability in the British Empire”
*Sandrine Uwase Ndahiro (University of Limerick): “Re-defining uninhabitability in Niger Delta using a postcolonial lens”

19.00 Conference Dinner


Day 2 – 24 June 2022

9.30-11.00 Habitability and Changing Limits

*Melissa Charenko (Michigan State University): “Changing Climate and Overcoming Inhabitable Environments”
*Róbert Balogh (University of Public Service, Budapest): “Habitability - for whom? Goats, subalterns and foresters in times of floods: the Danube frontier of the Habsburg Empire before World War I and post-war fears of uninhabitability”
*Mike Heffernan (University of Nottingham): “Debating Habitability Between the Wars”

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break

11.30-13.00 Human and Nonhuman Habitability

*Phoebe Springstubb (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): “The Bone House and Architecture’s Animal Energy”
*Jules Skotnes-Brown (University of St Andrews): “Scurrying Seafarers: Human and Rat Co-Habitability in British and North American Maritime Spaces, 1850s-1950s”
*Peter Braden (University of Michigan): “Collateral Killing: Humans, Rodents, and Plague in China, 1931-1971”

13.00-14.00 Lunch Break

14.00-15.30 Terraqueous Habitability

*Kelly Presutti (Cornell University): “(In)Visibility and (Un)Inhabitability in the Nineteenth-Century French Landes”
*David Stradling (University of Cincinnati): “Dredging at the Edge of the American Empire”
*Rachel Thompson (Harvard University): “Dutch Designs on Jakarta: Refiguring the (Un)Inhabitable on Aqueous Ground

15.30-16.00 Discussion and Close

[*] Indicates in person All times are listed in Irish Standard Time

Contact: habitabilityandempire@gmail.com (or lachlan.fleetwood@ucd.ie)

With thanks to the National University of Ireland and the Irish Research Council for their generous support.