Brown Bag Seminar: A Dying Lake, A Living Sea, and Other Bodies of Wat
Wed 04 Apr
Auditorium 1 (4206-117), Moesgaard Campus
Located between the dry world of humans and the wet world of fish, the littoral generates dynamic and sometimes confusing mixtures of people, fish, and ideas about how best to organize life at the shore. Based on long-term historic and ethnographic research in island and mainland fishing sites in Uganda since 2007, this project engages the productive liminality of the littoral to offer a fresh account of Africa’s largest body a freshwater, a system too often reproduced in scholarly and popular accounts as Lake Victoria, a "sick giant" still "in the heart of darkness.” By foregrounding gendered movements, meanings, and material forms of fish that circulate within and beyond these littorals, I examine how stories about the past shape and are shaped by contemporary policy debates, and how alternative—but no less accurate—accounts may inspire more livable futures.
Jennifer Lee Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University and a current fellow with the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. Johnson’s research is historically rooted, ethnographically engaged, and focused at the confluence of gender, legality, and the ontological politics of sustainability. Her recent publications have appeared in the journals Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (awarded the 2017 Junior Scholar Award from the Anthropology and Environment Society) and Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management, and in the edited volumes, Loanwords to Live With: An Ecotopian Lexicon(University of Minnesota, forthcoming in 2018), Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research (Springer, 2017), Subsistence under Capitalism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Mc-Gill-Queen’s, 2016) and Landscape, Environment and Technology in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa (Routledge, 2012).
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