Anthropology Seminar | Fire’s Habit: Pyrodiversity and the Politics of Apprehension
This paper introduces and reflects upon some recent, northern Australian efforts to re-imagine fire. These efforts bring together fire ecologists, anthropologists, and Indigenous peoples from across the top end of the Northern Territory, and aim both to enclose fire, to contain its excessive animacy in novel arrangements of expertise, ecological management, and carbon exchange, and to disclose fire’s constitutive relation to Australian landscapes, climate, and Indigenous sociality itself. In pursuing the tensions that accompany such efforts, this paper charts the peculiar work that fire performs as a “theory machine” (Galison 1993) for policy makers, Indigenous advocates, and anthropologists alike.
About the Speaker
Danny Fisher is associate professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley. He is author of The Voice and its Doubles (Duke, 2016) and co-editor of Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century (NYU, 2012). His work on music and sound, Indigenous media, and the voice has appeared in publications including American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, and Oceania and in collections including Aural Cultures and Keywords in Sound. He is currently completing a monograph on the new urban worlds of Australia’s Northern Territory, while pursuing additional projects on the political life of Aboriginal musical celebrity and the resurgence of elemental analytics in and beyond Anthropology.