The network seeks to make visible the place-based, material and imaginative structures, practices and relations that sustain the exploitative capitalist system, and the modern global history of colonisation, that underpin climate change. These structures, practices and relations actively construct a geography of injustice constituted of multiple shadow places. Simultaneously the network seeks to document and reimagine more just and ethical connections and understandings of place.
We are committed to transnational, cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary and more-than-human collaborations, and invite the open participation of others committed to environmental justice andto find new ways of imagining, organising and practicing collaborative enquiry and environmental activism.
While it is manifestly true that we are not all situated identically, no situatedness is granted immunity. Not just tangled up in webs and networks of process, we are all tangled up in dynamic edges, patches and zones of colliding uncertainty
The network is inspired by Australian feminist and eco-philosopher Val Plumwood, whose powerful and poetic concept of shadow places (2008) offers a framework for constellating questions of capitalist exploitation, colonial legacies, social justice and environmental futures in a materially grounded context of place. Shadow places are physical sites that bear the burden of global climate change and other environmentally and socially degrading forces; these places, and their communities, are forgotten or repressed in the prevailing western mind. They are the places that sustain the West’s affluence and manifest spatially, and materially (in bodies, environments etc), the inequitable distribution of suffering under global modernity.
Shadow places are everywhere but rarely made visible. They are spatialised and also practiced. Yet, they are connected; their relations to each other, produced in ways that cannot be reduced to spatio-temporal proximity, suggest an alternative map of capitalist and colonial history that speaks of their exploitation, abjection and crisis. Their relations – the network of shadow places itself – trace out a different history and future of global life, that always exceeds capitalist imaginaries, and maintains this in tension with dominant systems of culture and governance.
Importantly, The Shadow Places Networks acknowledges prior presence, work, and events: we do not imagine ourselves in a vacuum, intellectually, ethically or materially. Our aim is to connect across time, space, and practice, in a methodological ethics that does not elevate the solo scholar/practitioner, or enshrine any particular knowledge base – and its emergent time and place – as exclusive and isolated.
The Shadow Places Network is funded by The Seedbox, a Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory.
We acknowledge the multiple Countries that the members of the Shadow Places Network live and work on, across Australia and internationally. Members live and work on Darug and Gadigal Countries, and the Country of the Wadawurrung, Wurundjeri and Gunditjmara peoples, as well as Indigenous lands around the world.
This website affords us the capacity to recognise ongoing connections to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries, and Indigenous lands and waters globally; these ongoing connections to Countries have been maintained for thousands of years. We recognise that these digital spaces rely on infrastructure that sits on unceded Indigenous peoples' land. The Network looks to the leadership of Elders, past and present, to help better understand shadow places and our responsibilities towards them.