Keeping Climate Futures Open: Managing Waters on an Aboriginal Island

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)

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On the small Aboriginal island of Milingimbi in Australia, residents, elders, clan leaders, government officers, service providers and researchers face an interesting question – how to manage the community’s groundwater supplies? Yolngu Aboriginal Australians have always known and cared for the water holes which are central to the songlines and clan kinship relations at Milingimbi. But, groundwater, on the other hand, is a western innovation which has emerged along with pipes, taps, bores, water meters, and utility companies. As the climate changes, and Milingimbi’s groundwater supplies gradually become more saline, who should care for this water and how? This paper tells ethnographic stories of a research project working with Yolngu and Western water on Milingimbi island. Revising the neo-Kantian figure at the heart of many contemporary cosmopolitical visions, these stories draw attention to means by which modern and ancestral practices are busily being evoked so as to elicit groundwater as a shared politico-epistemic problem which at the outset does not presume the conditions of its own resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages213
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2017
EventKnowledge/Cultures/Ecologies - Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
Duration: 15 Nov 201718 Nov 2017


Abbreviated titleKCE2017
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