News

Banerjee’s work creatively approximates what Bruno Latour calls “hybrid” formations, by bridging cultures and natures, the pictorial and the geophysical, the image and the trace, the photograph and the text. … his work visualizes one modeling of an interspecies democratization of politics, working toward the composition of a common world—the result of an image complex formed out of photography, political theory and practice, legal testimony, activism, and exhibitions between the fields of science, visual culture, and environmental humanities. Banerjee’s politicization of visual culture exists at a far remove from the fatalism of climate–refugee narratives, and shows that resigned adaptation to the dislocations of climate change is hardly our only option.
—T. J. Demos, from Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology, Sternberg Press, 2016

EXHIBITIONS  |  PUBLICATIONS  |  LECTURES  |  PUBLIC WRITING  |  INTERVIEWS  |  TEACHING

EXHIBITIONS


Long Environmentalism in the Near North at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. 06 June 2017 – 11 November 2017.

[one-person] Long Environmentalism in the Near North: Activism, Photographs, Writing
Curators Arif Khan, University of New Mexico Art Museum, and Subhankar Banerjee
University of New Mexico Art Museum, 06 June–11 November 2017 †

In a recent essay I introduced the term ‘long environmentalism’ that draws attention to environmental justice engagements that last, not merely weeks or years, but decades, and become inter–generational. The exhibition presents a selection of photographs, writing, lectures, interviews and other activist initiatives over the past sixteen years that collectively continue to contribute to the ‘long environmentalism’ in Arctic North America.

          “Il Complesso Artico
          by Riccardo Venturi (Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris), Doppiozero, 20 May 2017 †

          “Photographer highlights threats to delicate balance of frozen world
          by Kathaleen Roberts, Albuquerque Journal, 4 June 2017 †

[group] Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775–2012
Curator Dr. Barbara C. Matilsky
Frederick Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 27 January–13 May 2018 †

This exhibition was produced by the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington, and traveled to several venues in North America:
        Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington, 2 November 2013–2 March 2014
        El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 1 June–24 August 2014
        Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 27 September 2014–4 January 2015
        McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario, Canada, 11 October 2014–11 January 2015
        David Brower Center, Berkeley, California, 11 February–11 May 2016

A 144–page EXHIBITION CATALOGUE was published by Whatcom Museum and distributed by the University of Washington Press.

[group] Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment
Curators Alan C. Braddock, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities, Princeton University, and Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum
Princeton University Art Museum, Fall 2018
The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue and will travel to two additional venues


Rights of Nature at the Nottingham Contemporary, United Kingdom. 24 Jan 2015 – 15 Mar 2015. (Photo: Nottingham Contemporary)

[group] Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas
Curators Dr. T. J. Demos and Dr. Alex Farquharson, with Irene Aristizábal
Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 23 January – 15 March 2015 †
The Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones selected Rights of Nature as the EXHIBITION OF THE WEEK.
Read T. J. Demos’ essay, “Rights of Nature: The Art and Politics of Earth Jurisprudence” †

PUBLICATIONS


After Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s Listening Session in Fairbanks, Alaska (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee, August 2006)

Ecocriticism and Indigenous Studies: Conversations from Earth to Cosmos
Edited by Joni Adamson and Salma Monani
(Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature, August 2016 †)
This book addresses the intersections between the interdisciplinary realms of Ecocriticism and Indigenous and Native American Studies, and between academic theory and pragmatic eco–activism conducted by multiethnic and indigenous communities” (from the publisher’s website).

I wrote the book’s third chapter, “Long Environmentalism: After the Listening Session,” which grew out of several conference talks: a keynote at the 27th annual meeting of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Notre Dame in 2013, and three talks in 2015, the Environmental Humanities Series at the University of Texas–Austin, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Visiting Artist Lecture at the University of New Mexico–Albuquerque, and the ‘Conflict Shorelines: History, Politics, and Climate Change’ Conference at Princeton University.

READ THE “LONG ENVIRONMENTALISM” ESSAY ONLINE

Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans
Edited by W. John Kress and Jeffrey K. Stine (Smithsonian Books, September 2017 †)

I contributed an essay “Why Polar Bear?

Although we arrived only recently in Earth’s timeline, humans are driving major changes to the planet’s ecosystems. Even now, the basic requirements for human life—air, water, shelter, food, nature, and culture—are rapidly transforming the planet as billions of people compete for resources. These changes have become so noticeable on a global scale that scientists believe we are living in a new chapter in Earth’s story: the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans is a vital look at this era. The book contextualizes the Anthropocene by presenting paleontological, historical, and contemporary views of various human effects on Earth. It discusses environmental and biological systems that have been changed and affected; the causes of the Anthropocene, such as agricultural spread, pollution, and urbanization; how societies are responding and adapting to these changes; how these changes have been represented in art, film, television, and literature; and finally, offers a look toward the future of our environment and our own lives.” (from the Smithsonian Books press release).

Photographers and Research: The role of research in contemporary photographic practice
By Shirley Read and Mike Simmons (Routledge, 2017 †)

Chapter 5. ‘Case Study: Subhankar Banerjee

This ground–breaking book situates research at the heart of photographic practice, asking the key question: What does research mean for photographers? Illuminating the nature and scope of research and its practical application to photography, the book explores how research provides a critical framework to help develop awareness, extend subject knowledge, and inform the development of photographic work. The authors consider research as integral to the creative process and, through interviews with leading photographers, explore how photographers have embedded research strategies into their creative practice.” (from the publisher’s website).


TAKE on art magazine special issue on ‘Ecology’
Edited by Bhavna Kakar, Volume 3, Issue 1, January–June 2017

“Creative Ecologies” by T.J. Demos includes a discussion of my Arctic photography (READ ONLINE †)

How can art—as a site of creative construction, of the imaginative building of alternative worlds and potential futures—contribute to a great transformation toward a radically different form of life, one beyond the environmental violence and social destructiveness of advanced capitalism? … With the current cultural turn toward investigating multispecies and post–anthropocentric ways of knowing and being, propelled further by the threat of catastrophic climate change in the age of the Anthropocene, these questions could not be more urgent, nor solutions more readily available. For me, “creative ecology” means directing the science of biological connectivity (ecology), toward generative, rather than destructive, ends. It supports a culture of life, rather than one of short–term profits and the ruination of liveability.
—T. J. Demos


Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology
T.J. Demos (Berlin: Sternberg Press, July 2016 †)

Art historian T. J. Demos…considers the creative proposals of artists and activists for ways of life that bring together ecological sustainability, climate justice, and radical democracy, at a time when such creative proposals are urgently needed” (from the publisher’s website). The book includes a chapter, “Climates of Displacement: From the Maldives to the Arctic,” in which T. J. includes a discussion of my Arctic photography and social–environmental activism. I also wrote a blurb for the book’s back–cover: “Demos breaks new ground in art criticism. In an expansive analysis of polyvocal artist–activist practices in the Global South and the North, Demos eschews environmental catastrophism, scientific determinism, and techno–fixes to highlight collaborative resistance to neocolonial violence and neoliberal collusion–to–plunder. He is also searching for what the path forward might be. Rigorous, accessible, and rebellious, Decolonizing Nature is an inspiring and indispensible contemporary art manifesto.


Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology
Edited by Willis Jenkins, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (Routledge, August 2016 †)

The moral values and interpretive systems of religions are crucially involved in how people imagine the challenges of sustainability and how societies mobilize to enhance ecosystem resilience and human well–being. The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology provides the most comprehensive and authoritative overview of the field. … It presents contrasting ways of thinking about ‘religion’ and about ‘ecology’ and about ways of connecting the two terms. Written by a team of leading international experts, the Handbook discusses dynamics of change within religious traditions as well as their roles in responding to global challenges such as climate change, water, conservation, food and population. It explores the interpretations of indigenous traditions regarding modern environmental problems drawing on such concepts as lifeway and indigenous knowledge. This volume uniquely intersects the field of religion and ecology with new directions within the humanities and the sciences” (from the publisher’s website). I wrote the “Art” chapter that will appear in the “Environmental Humanities” section of the book. Additionally, one of my photographs made in an Even reindeer camp in the Sakha Republic of Siberia in November 2007 is the cover–art of the book.

Systemic Crises of Global Climate Change: Intersections of race, class and gender
Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research (Routledge, April 2016 †)

Emergent Possibilities for Global Sustainability: Intersections of race, class and gender
Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research (Routledge, July 2016 †)

Edited by Phoebe Godfrey and Denise Torres


I contributed photographs with long captions for both volumes.

Humanities for the Environment: Integrating knowledge, forging new constellations of practice
Edited by Joni Adamson and Michael Davis (Routledge, November 2016 †)

Humanities for the Environment showcases how humanists are working to ‘integrate knowledges’ from diverse cultures and ontologies and pilot new ‘constellations of practice’ that are moving beyond traditional contemplative or reflective outcomes (the book, the essay) and towards solutions to the greatest social and environmental challenges of our time. With the still controversial concept of the ‘Anthropocene’ as a starting point for a widening conversation…” (from the publisher’s website). In 2014, I facilitated the concluding workshop at the Humanities for the Environment Symposium at the Arizona State University, hosted by the ASU’s Institute of Humanities Research. You can learn more about the Humanities for the Environment, or HfE, from the project’s website HERE and view online the workshop, “The Process of Writing and Using Images,” I facilitated HERE.

I contributed a blurb for this important book.

The American Environment Revisited: Environmental Historical Geographies of the United States
Edited by Geoff Buckley and Yolanda Youngs (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming)

Historian of environmental visual culture Finis Dunaway’s essay, “Reconsidering the Sublime: Images and Imaginative Geographies in American Environmental History” will appear in this volume, in which he includes a discussion of my Arctic photography.

Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point
Edited by Subhankar Banerjee
Seven Stories Press, New York, hardcover 3 July 2012, updated pbk 22 October 2013

In Arctic Voices, long–term issues of global importance—the exploitation of wild places for fossil fuels, and whether we’re determined to ride our energy binge to the grim end—are made immediate and vivid … One of the great strengths of Arctic Voices is that it shows how Alaska and the Arctic are tied to the places where most of us live. … In this impassioned book, Banerjee shows a situation so serious that it has created a movement, where ‘voices of resistance are gathering, are getting louder and louder.’ May his heartfelt efforts magnify them.—Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books

Arctic Voices is an eye–opening account of a precious place…many writers included in the anthology not only share their love of nature, but also raise important questions about our reliance on oil, gas and coal. … Native groups have banded together to fight big oil and preserve the cultural continuity… Their reverence for, and connection to, the earth—its animals, water, mountains and land—is beautifully described in Arctic Voices, and each essay is as much a prayer as a call to activism.—Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout

The volume’s most outstanding feature is that it shows the Arctic not as a sublime wilderness devoid of human beings, but as a region in which people have been living for a long time, and in which contemporary developments threaten not only nature, but in a great measure also indigenous cultures. … Through making both victimisation and resistance visible, Arctic Voices is itself an important contribution to the struggle for environmental justice in the far North.—Reinhard Hennig, Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment


LECTURES



Conference—“Decolonizing Nature: Resistance | Resilience | Revitalization”
University of New Mexico, 19–22 April 2017 †

In April 2017, the University of New Mexico was the host of an interdisciplinary environmental justice public forum ‘Decolonizing Nature: Resistance | Resilience | Revitalization’, which included a four–day conference, a two–week long exhibition, a one–day film screening, and a community event on Earth Day. The conference brought to Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than thirty speakers from the fields of art, architecture, humanities, religion, science, and grassroots activists from across the US and from Mexico and Canada. The discussions focused on integration of knowledge across disciplines, practices across cultures, and social–environmental movements across geographies.

       Decolonizing Nature Website:    OVERVIEW     |    LECTURE VIDEOS

The conference and the associated programming were sponsored by the Art & Ecology and Land Arts of the American West programs in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 516 ARTS, UNM Art Museum, Friends of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Los Jardines Institute, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Organizers are grateful for the generous support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the New Mexico Humanities Council, and University of New Mexico’s Office of the Vice President for Research, Center for Regional Studies, College of Fine Arts, and the Department of Art. I was convener of the forum.

Lecture—“Art of Environmental Justice in an Expanded Field”
A Symposium on Creative Activism and Eco-Politics across Boundaries
Princeton University, 13 April 2017 †
Led by professor Alan C. Braddock, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities

Lecture—“ExtrACTION” Speaker and Screening Series
Center for Creative Ecologies, University of California, Santa Cruz, 21 February 2017 †
Led by professors T. J. Demos and Laurie Palmer

Lecture—E.A.T./Engadin Art Talks “Snow and Desert”
Zuoz, Switzerland, 28 & 29 January 2017 †
Led by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co–Director Serpentine Gallery in London, Daniel Baumann, Director Kunsthalle Zürich, Bice Curiger, Director Fondation Van Gogh Arles, and Philip Ursprung, Professor ETH Zürich

Panel—Earth to Cosmos: How Environmental Humanities and Indigenous Studies Engage a Sense of Expanded Home
2016 American Studies Association Annual Meeting “Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are”
Denver, Colorado, 17-20 November 2016 †

Lecture—Climate Change Speaker Series: 10th Anniversary of 516 ARTS
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 29 October 2016 †

Keynote—LENS (Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies) Inaugural Symposium
This event is part of “Earth Now:Earth 2050” UCLA College Luskin Endowment Inaugural Symposium, 18–20 October 2016 †

Visiting Fellow Lecture
Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge, UK, 9 June 2016 †

Lecture—Cambridge Climate Histories Interdisciplinary Research Group Seminar
Center for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, UK, 18 May 2016 †

Guest Artist Lecture—M.A. Program in Photography
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, 3 May 2016

PUBLIC WRITING


Smoke from the Paradise Fire, Elwha River Valley, Olympic National Park (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee, 2015)

My View: Arctic Refuge, the Gwich’in and the budget fight
by Subhankar Banerjee
Santa Fe New Mexican, 21 May 2017
READ ONLINE (PDF)

Paradise Burning
by Subhankar Banerjee, with introduction by Tom Engelhard
TomDispatch.com of The Nation Institute, New York, 3 March 2015 †
The article was subsequently published in a number of other places: AlterNet | Bill Moyers’ Moyers & Company | Common Dreams |
Countercurrents | Eco Report | Grist | Guernica | Huffington Post | Juan Cole’s Informed Comment | Naked Capitalism | The Nation |
Nation of Change | Pacific Free Press | Progressive Radio Network | Rebelion (translated in Spanish) | Salon | Surviving Capitalism |
Trutdig | Truthout | Unz Review | War in Context | ZNET

In the Warming Arctic Seas
by Subhankar Banerjee
World Policy Journal, published by the World Policy Institute, New York, June 2015
READ THE PRINT VERSION (PDF)     |     READ THE ONLINE VERSION AT THE WPI WEBSITE

To Drill or Not to Drill, That Is the Question
The Obama Administration, Shell, and the Fate of the Arctic Ocean
by Subhankar Banerjee, with introduction by Tom Engelhard
TomDispatch.com of The Nation Institute, New York, 3 March 2015 †
The article was subsequently published in a number of other places: AlterNet | Asia Times | Bill Moyers’ Moyers & Company |
Common Dreams | Countercurrents | Energy Post | Global Possibilities | Guernica | Huffington Post | Juan Cole’s Informed Comment |
Le Monde diplomatique | The Nation | Nation of Change | The Real News | Resilience | Salon | Trutdig | Truthout | Utne Reader |
War in Context | YubaNet
On March 4, I did a radio interview with Warren Olney, host of To the Point, a nationally syndicated program on the Public Radio International. It’s about 10 minutes long. LISTEN ONLINE

INTERVIEWS

Title

Arctic Climate Warming Twice as Fast As Anywhere Else
Subhankar Banerjee in conversation with Sharmini Peries
The Real News Network, 4 June 2017 — VIEW ONLINE

TEACHING

In 2017, I will be teaching the following two graduate/senior undergraduate level interdisciplinary courses at the University of New Mexico:

       Integrative Ecology & Social Transformation—Spring 2017
       ARTS 429/529 | AMST 320 | BIOL 402/502 | CJ 463 | CRP 470/570 | GEOG 499 | PADM 590 | RELG 347 | SUST 402 | UHON 401

       Species, Space and Politics of Survival—Fall 2017
       ARTS 429/529 | BIOL 402/502 | CRP 470/570 | LA 511 | SUST 402 | UHON 401


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