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Products for grant FEL-273064-21

Inside-Out Earth: Residual Governance Under Extreme Conditions
Gabrielle Hecht, Stanford University

Grant details:

Residual Governance: How South Africa Foretells Planetary Futures (Book)
Title: Residual Governance: How South Africa Foretells Planetary Futures
Author: Gabrielle Hecht
Abstract: Diving into the wastes of gold and uranium mining in South Africa, this book explores how communities, experts, and artists fought against residual governance and for infrastructural and environmental justice. I define residual governance is the deadly trifecta composed by: (1) the governance of waste and discards (2) minimalist governance that uses simplification, ignorance, and delay as core tactics (3) governance that treats people and places as waste and wastelands Not least because of its tight imbrication with the state—which persisted through colonialism, apartheid, and majority rule—mining in South Africa offers a prime example of residual governance. But it’s far from the only one. Residual governance, I argue, is every bit as significant and oppressive as the financial and legal instruments that have, for example, subjugated generations of Black Americans. I argue that residual governance is a primary instrument of modern racial capitalism and a major accelerant of the Anthropocene. To make this case, I approach residual governance in South Africa via those who called out its failings and sought to improve its terms. I ask how scientists, community leaders, activists, journalists, urban planners, artists, and others responded to the effects of residual governance on their water, their air, their land, their health, and their rights. They certainly said and did a lot. According to one activist, the documents concerning one particularly polluted catchment would, if printed and piled, exceed five meters in height. Stacks of such documents form the building blocks for this book. The mortar is made from my archival and field work in South Africa over the last two decades. The story of mine waste and the pursuit of infrastructural and environmental justice in South Africa, I argue, has many lessons for navigating planetary futures.
Year: 2023
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Links to the Duke UP placeholder page for my book, which is currently in production.
Access Model: Open Access
Publisher: Duke University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-1-4780-249
Copy sent to NEH?: No