Department of Sociology organizes seminar on ‘Siting the un-sitable : Exploring Atmospheric Connections in COVID-19 Times’

The Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, invites you to the seminar titled ‘Siting the un-sitable : Exploring Atmospheric Connections in COVID-19 Times’ by Dr. Annika Capelán, Postdoctoral Marie Curie Global Fellow 2022-2024, Aarhus University, Denmark, Cape Town University, South Africa and Dr. Vasundhara Bhojvaid, Assistant professor, Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR. The seminar will be held online.

This article strives to respond to the possibilities of collaborative research on atmospheres during a pandemic that reformulated modes of doing and communicating research. Our general interest is methodological with a focus on how encounters may happen across geographical remoteness and what such encounters may expose. More specifically we explore this interest by revisiting our respective research – on air in India and wind in Patagonia – bringing in the idea of collaboration as contamination, while acknowledging its historicity, i.e. transformations over time through entanglements between humans and nonhumans. We argue that by paying close attention to nuances and discourses of contamination we can make sense of air as it operates in varying intensities. By rethinking contamination as entangled encounters between kinds and looking at how and with what air relates in each fieldsite, we find that it is its un-graspability that makes air a protagonist. A situated notion of ‘social distancing’ may further provide tools for an analysis of the relatedness of air. We conclude that, alertness to the fact that any anthropology of air is a process of siting the un-sitable, and it is precisely the necessary methodological move that makes a collaboration of air in distant places rewarding.

Dr. Annika Capelán holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology and is a EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow 2022-2024, jointly hosted by Aarhus University, Denmark and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. CORDIS project description: Her research focuses on historical, environmental and political aspects of sheep farming and industrial wool production on the Patagonian, Australian and South African grasslands. She works with ethnographic methods with an emphasis on participant observations, and a special interest in visual and collaborative knowledge building.

Dr. Vasundhara Bhojvaid is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR. Her current work looks at how air pollution is effecting and effected by policies, transforming life in urban spaces and understandings of the body. This is informed by her broader interests in how air pollution has close intersections with climate change and is charting new ways in which to anthropologically explore the contemporary.