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In Session: Plantationocene in Southeast Asia
2: Can There be Justice Here? Indigenous Experiences in the West Papuan Plantationocene
Monday, March 22, 2021
12:30pm – 2:00pm EDT
University of Sydney, United States
This paper examines the possibility of social and environmental justice for Marind communities in West Papua, where large-scale agribusiness expansion is underway. I examine how monocrop oil palm plantations subvert Marinds’ transcorporeal kinships with forest plants and animals. I then analyze Marinds’ ambivalence surrounding conservation practices that are premised upon an assumed divide between humans and their environment. I situate the exclusion of Marind from natures both exploited and preserved within a long-standing history of political violence in a yet-to-be-decolonized region of the world. Finally, I analyze the ways in which Marind conceive and contest the possibility of justice now and in the future, for themselves, forest organisms, and oil palm itself. Drawing from Marind philosophies of justice, I invite a careful tacking between thinking with and within species in expanding the scope and subjects of justice beyond the human while also attending to the dehumanizing effects of capital-colonial regimes in the Plantationocene.