Miguel da Cruz (State University of Campinas, Brazil):
(In)hospitable landscapes. Weeds and people in the midst of urban infrastructure
In the face of climate emergency, the global circulation of waste and toxins, and the state of ordinariness of planetary environmental risk, history and anthropology, it seems, have become academic disciplines of ruins examining the dynamics of life on a disturbed planet. This talk is centred in Brazilian realities, tying together strings of narratives grounded in human-plant relations in damaged places. The centuries of colonial, imperial and industrial endeavours leave behind layers of residue – be they infrastructure, ruins, waste, rubbles – but also entail complex biosocial lives. Through practices and knowledge systems found in community gardens in vulnerable communities in the West of São Paulo State, we are called to expose histories of damage, while at the same time exploring the cracks, gutters, potholes and wastelands of the urban environment and learn to notice the unexpected neighbors that arise in the interstices.