Seminar – 12 May – Lauren Bonilla

May 7th, 2015 by


Tuesday 12 May

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Lauren Bonilla

University College London

Extractive Atmospheres: Mining, Territory, and the Politics of Dust in the Gobi Desert

Mongolia’s southern Gobi desert has become a territory in transformation due to the rapid expansion of mining projects and ancillary infrastructures.  In this talk, I discuss the combined transformations of subsoil, land, and air, and explore how they are productive of new material and affective ‘atmospheres’ that shape life and politics both in the region and beyond.  I use the term ‘atmospheres’ to capture, on the one hand, the materiality of mining in the Gobi, where dust pollution from digging and transporting resources in an already dust-prone environment has become a site of public controversy and concern.  On the other hand, I use the term to capture how people sense and embody the political economy, spatiality, and governance of new mining activities.  I suggest that attending to these multi-layered atmospheres reveals emerging forms of subjectivity, territory, and geopolitics in a region increasingly characterized by resource extraction.

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