Shifting Baselines, Altered Horizons: Politics, Practice, and Knowledge in Environmental Science and Policy
June 21 to June 22
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Room 265
This workshop, organized as part of the Art of Judgement working group, aims at fostering a multidisciplinary analysis of the role of baselines in a variety of fields, ranging from policy to academia, and including nature conservation, toxic waste, sustainable development, and sea level rise.
One of the workshop’s purposes is to suggest alternative pathways for conceptualizing and utilizing baselines, putting in the forefront the necessity to put all different kinds of existing baseline discourses in science and policy into their broader social, cultural, and material context. The working group that will crystallise around this workshop aims thus at reframing the epistemological problem of shifting baselines as one of cultural representation and imagination, radical historicity, connection of power and knowledge, and the distributed agency of a variety of human, non-human, and post-human actors operating at multiple geographic and temporal scales. Finally, instead of merely asking which temporal framework best serves as a starting point for measuring environmental change, the workshop plans to explore how and in which terms global and cosmopolitan processes of standardsation of environmental knowledge prevailed over vernacular, regional, or national ways of seeing, measuring, and stewarding ecosystems.