Temporality, Agency, and Migration in the Context of Climate Change

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Organizers: Liz Koslov, Brianna Castro
Chairs: Liz Koslov


In the aftermath of recurrent disasters and in anticipation of more extreme futures, there is growing discussion of what it means to move “out of harm’s way” – out of built-up floodplains, away from eroding coasts, to escape enduring droughts or find relief from deadly heat waves. This panel conversation will shift the focus from where is at risk to explore questions of when and the temporal dimensions of migration in the context of climate change. In theory, the uncertainty that inheres in determinations of when a place has become unsafe creates at least some room for agency on the part of those making relocation decisions. In practice, however, who holds the power to say when? What lends urgency to some decisions to move or calls to unbuild entire communities, while others are repeatedly deferred? Migration and retreat are often viewed as strategies of last resort to adapt to climate change, but what does this way of seeing movement accomplish? Whose interests does it serve to protect and whose does it render invisible? The panel will generate a discussion of the interplay of structural forces and individual and collective agency as related to migration and climate change, touching on topics such as the process of making migration decisions, experiences of waiting to move or anticipating return, and perceptions of risk in the face of slow-onset environmental change versus rapid-onset disaster. Participants include Chantel Comardelle (Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe), Nathan Jessee (Temple University), Brianna Castro (Harvard University), Kanako Iuchi (Tohoku University), and Heather Randall (SESYNC).


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Brianna Castro Harvard University 15
Panelist Nathan Jessee 15
Panelist Heather Randell National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) 15
Panelist Kanako Iuchi Tohoku University 15
Introduction Liz Koslov New York University 10

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