Valerie Olson to Speak on Gulf Oil Spill March 3

Friday, February 18, 2011 - 13:15

After last year's catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rice University anthropologist Valerie Olson went into the field to determine how deepwater experts understand the mysterious and imperiled ocean subsurface. Mostly unseen and inaccessible, this extreme zone is becoming deeply linked to our national future.

On Thursday, March 3, Olson will share what she learned when she speaks on "The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Below the Surfaces" at 4:30 pm in room 305 of Kendade Hall. She will explore how the disastrous spill calls attention to new extensions of environmental politics.

"My research is concerned with how 'the human environment' and 'human ecology' are constituted as objects of knowledge and politics," says Olson. "I am particularly interested how these processes happen at the intersections of spaces, contexts, and kinds of expertise."

"Olson is doing exciting field-setting work in the anthropology of extreme environments," notes event organizer and MHC anthropology professor Debbora Battaglia. "Focusing on the human factor in interspecies relations--from outer space to the ocean depths--she invites us to consider how better to make our future worlds from the detritus of sometimes disastrous mistakes."

This event is sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College. It is open to the public, and admission is free. For more information, call the Miller Worley Center at 413-538-3091, or visit the website.