Migrants, Environmental Knowledge, and Consumer Society

Sep 27, 2023 - Sep 28, 2023

2023 Annual Academic and Policy Symposium at the GHI’s Pacific Office at UC Berkeley | Conveners: Axel Schäfer (Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) and Atiba Pertilla (German Historical Institute Washington)

Symposium Program

The symposium is part of the GHI’s research focus on the nexus of migration and knowledge studies (please see migrantknowledge.org). It will explore migration and migrant knowledge in relationship to the search for a post-consumerist society beyond the wastefulness of mass consumer culture, the cult of economic growth, and the nature-human divide. The Berkeley symposium has two main aims: on the one hand, we want to unpack the historical relationship between migration, growth economies, and consumer culture. On the other hand, we want to learn from the often unrecognized (or “submerged”) knowledge of migrants as part of the search for more climate-resilient and sustainable development practices. Topics of interest include: 

  • The historical connection between both forced and voluntary human migration and the rise of mass consumer societies. 
  • The environmental movement and migration. 
  • The environmental knowledge and activism of migrant populations. 
  • The cognitive, affective, aesthetic, and material means by which the “knowledge economies” of consumer societies might preserve, recover, and incorporate migrant environmental knowledge into the creation of a post-consumerist society.