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Message posted on 30/01/2023

Fwd: Soil Repair Panel - Nordic STS Conference, 7-9 June 2023 at TIK, University of Oslo

Dear all, this is to invite you to submit abstracts for the open panel "Soil Repair” at the Nordic STS Conference, 7-9 June 2023, hosted by the TIK Centre, University of Oslo: Best, Susanne

Please submit your abstracts here - deadline 1 March 2023:

-- Soil Repair: Recuperating Human-Soil Relationships; at Nordic STS Conference, 7-9 June 2023 Panel organizers: Susanne Bauer, Marianne Lien and Daniel Münster, University of Oslo; Nora Sørensen Vaage, NORD University

Human survival depends on the invisible and largely unknown world below our feet. The slow pace of “natural” soil creation processes (pedogenesis) justifies a perspective on fertile soils as a limited non-renewable resource, like coal and oil. Planet Earth has reached “peak soil”, the point at which we are destroying soil faster than it can recover. Moreover, precarious, contested and post-conflict livelihoods remain largely disconnected from conversations on more-than-human health based on microbial and metabolic thinking.

Soils are not just endangered—they are also becoming dangerous. Contaminated by chemicals and radioactive substances, some soils pose a threat to more-than-human health. Further, soils’ weakened ability to store organic matter—the result of extractive land use and global warming—means that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other climate gases are being released, accelerating the climate crisis. In this panel we will jointly begin to examine how soil scientists and practitioners have developed, carried out and imagined ways of maintaining and restoring soils. We conceptualize soil not as a natural resource to be exploited, but as “anthropogenic” – as lively and dynamic natural-cultural composition responsive to human care.

We aim to rethink and reimagine human-soil relationships beyond extraction, but to open up soil management to developing more relational understandings. This entails inventive methods, attending to studies of repair and maintenance. This Soil Repair panel invites contributions on soil repair, soil ecologies, soil remediation, soil commons, and soil aesthetics, contributing to one or several of these research themes:

  • knowledges about technologies and practices of soil repair in landscapes damaged by industrial agriculture or pollution
  • soils as living multispecies ecologies responsive to human care
  • inventive bioremediation experiments – anchored in technoscience, communities, or arts – with toxic, radioactive, or depleted soils
  • the role of emerging soil imaginaries in technoscience, agriculture, literature, and the arts for building more sustainable futures.

We aim to bring together scholars interested in both empirical and conceptual/theoretical contributions on practices of care and repair in relation to contaminated, toxic, and depleted soils. We are particularly interested in submissions that are grounded in empirical cases or specific sites of soils recuperation. These include, but are by no means limited to studies that contribute to:

  • conceptualizing and historicizing the layered assemblages of anthropogenic soils - close-up studies of bioremediation technologies and other practices of soil recuperation after industrial pollution, fallout, mining, or intensive agriculture
  • praxiographies of knowing and doing soils – and the multiple ontologies brought about by monitoring, measurement, planning, agricultural recuperating and environmental remediation
  • artistic research and practice-based experiments in conceptualizing and doing soils otherwise
  • efforts toward reimagining soil health, soil commons, and soils futuring.

We welcome contributions that engage with these topics on site and theoretically including formats of practice-based and artistic research.

The panel is coordinated by members of the large interdisciplinary project “Anthropogenic Soils. Recuperating Human-Soil Relationships on a Troubled Planet (SOILS)”, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and University of Oslo.

-- Susanne Bauer | Professor of Science and Technology Studies | Head of PhD track | TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture | University of Oslo | PO Box 1108 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo | Norway | E-mail:

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