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Fifth Geneva Convention

discursive-research project, in collaboration with Adrian Lahoud




Nature occupies a central place in the history of human conflict. Wars --- colonial and modern --- have been and will continue to be fought over control and appropriation of natural resources, while the purposeful transformation of environmental conditions, either by destruction or construction, has always been deployed as means through which conflicts are conducted in space. What has substantially changed, and with increasing intensity since the invention of atmospheric warfare in early twenty century, is the technological capacity in mobilizing the environment as medium of violence, the scale and duration of environmental destruction generated by modern war, and the exponential exhaustion of natural resources that feed the industrial basis that sustain the military complex. In turn, the violence of anthropogenic-induced modifications over environmental conditions led to radical transformations of the natural terrain itself, which, in feedback loop, is now transforming the politics of human conflicts. 

The Fifth Geneva Convention sets out to debate the relations between the environment and conflict, nature and politics, as they intersect in legal, military, humanitarian and scientific practices and transform spatial conditions. Through a series of roundtables, the 5GC projects a long-term forum to enquire into the geological history of environmental violence in relation to the means by which such violence is deployed and legally moderated, and asks how post-climate change/post-anthropocene scenarios will transform the relations between human conflict and the environment, the law that regulates their interactions and, ultimately, our very understanding of nature itself. 

convened by Adrian Lahoud and Paulo Tavares

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