In a time- and perspective-bending intro segment possibly designed by friend of the pod Chris Nolan, Cymene and Dominic are joined by Jason Cons (jasoncons.net) from the University of Texas who helps us to introduce his own interviewin order that we can talk about the impact of last week’s Cyclone Fani on Bangladesh. The news, as it happens, is surprisingly encouraging. From there (18:33) we travel back in a time a week to the main part of the interview. We start with how Austin is adapting to the brave new world of ubiquitous electric scooters and from there move into his work on the making of Bangladesh into an exemplary space for experiments in climate adaptation. We talk about the shifting priorities of development intervention and how they are coming to forefront security objectives like reducing climate migration even as regions around the delta are widely predicted to become uninhabitable in as little as two decades’ time. We discuss the history of development ventures in the country, the imagination of chaotic futures and wastelands foretold, heterotopias and heterodystopias, delta temporalities and fugitive landscapes. Jason explains the limited capacity of political and legal imaginations predicated on dry land to understand the damp ontology of alluvial regions. On the last lap we talk about the usefulness of the Anthropocene concept in Bangladesh, and his recent publications on chokepoints and resource frontiers.
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