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Environmental Futures

ISBN: 978-1-119-27832-0
212 pages
May 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
Environmental Futures (1119278325) cover image


Concerns about the exploitation of limited resources, optimum development trajectories, and climate change draw attention to the temporal horizons of our environment - Environmental Futures is a curated collection of essays that explores different ways of knowing the future and how these futures shape contemporary social worlds.

  • Includes a range of detailed case studies, from ice melting in Antarctica to coal mining in Bangladesh, flooding in Colombia to climate modelling in Egypt
  • Approaches prognosis as a cultural, political, and material process
  • Reveals the ways in which authority and expertise may be reinforced, circumscribed, or contested in the process of making a prediction and its aftermath
  • Offers novel insights on how and why futures come to be significant in the present
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Table of Contents

  1. Prognosis: visions of environmental futures (Andrew S. Mathews and Jessica Barnes)
  2. Sensing the ice: field science, models, and expert intimacy with knowledge (Jessica O’Reilly)
  3. Uncertainty in the signal: modelling Egypt’s water futures (Jessica Barnes)
  4. Subsoil abundance and surface absence: a junior mining company and its performance of prognosis in Northwestern Ecuador (David Kneas)
  5. Mines and signs: resource and political futures in Bangladesh (Nusrat Sabina Chowdhury)
  6. Chronicle of a disaster foretold: scientific risk assessment, public participation, and the politics of imperilment in Bristol Bay, Alaska (Karen Hébert)
  7. A doubtful hope: resource affect in a future oil economy (Gisa Weszkalnys)
  8. Liquid Oman: oil, water, and causality in Southern Arabia (Mandana Limbert)
  9. Prognosis past: the temporal politics of disaster in Colombia (Austin Zeiderman)
  10. Claiming futures (Elizabeth Ferry)
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Author Information

Jessica Barnes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment & Sustainability Program at the University of South Carolina. Her work focuses on the culture and politics of resource use and environmental change in the Middle East.  Dr Barnes’s publications include Cultivating the Nile: the everyday politics of water in Egypt (Duke University Press, 2014), Climate cultures: anthropological perspectives on climate change (co-edited with Michael R. Dove, Yale University Press, 2015), and articles in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Critique of Anthropology, Social Studies of Science, and Geoforum. Her current project, funded by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, draws on ethnographic and archival work to examine food security in Egypt and the long-standing identification of security with self-sufficiency in wheat and bread. 

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