Marina Peterson, "Sensory Attunements: Working with the Past in Appalachian Ohio"Marina Peterson, "Sensory Attunements: Working with the Past in Appalachian Ohio"http://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/259351Chase Auditorium2014-02-25T16:30:002014-02-25T18:00:00
February 25, 4:30PM–6:00PM
Coal Mining in Ohio
In Appalachian Ohio, the present is palpable—felt. Bodies entangled with matter are conductive mediums for the movement of heat and sound, sensorily attuned to a past of work that turned men’s faces black and a future in which a coal fire evoking the passion of early labor struggles continues to burn. This article explores the qualities and textures of the present in a place conditioned by decline. Moving away from a structural narrative of the consequences of changing modalities of capitalism for labor in the context of a place long registered as an expression of precarity, it considers how the present is a moment of sensory attunement to past and future. Thus, rather than accounting for the shifting nature of labor, it focuses on the quality of work being done and its relationship to the past and an imagined future. Through renovating buildings, collecting miners’ artifacts, festivals, and cleaning streams, the present palpates between past and future, bound up with the former while reaching toward the latter, with whatever levels of anxiety or hope. By focusing on the quality of the present and taking seriously decline as such it questions a modernist logic of expansion and a normative capitalist subjectivity.
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