The Vienna Science Studies Lab recently held its third meeting at the KLI, focusing on Max Liboiron's thought-provoking book, "Pollution is Colonialism". Max Liboiron is an indigenous marine pollution researcher in Newfoundland and Labrador. In their work, they dismantle the colonial perception of land as a disposable resource, conceptualizing pollution as not just a side effect but rather an enactment of ongoing colonial relations to land. For example, Liboiron’s Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) in Labrador, does not work with thresholds of ‘toxic capacity’ for water streams. Instead, they model an ethic of care and citizen science that respects the relationships between humans, non-human living beings, and the land.
Laura Menatti, the meeting’s host and moderator, began with an introduction to Liboiron’s book which looks at how colonial land relations play out in current research, how anti-colonial relations can shape science for the better and how ethics, epistemology, and scientific practice intersect. Breakout sessions provided an opportunity for focused discussions on methodological, feminist, and anti-colonial aspects of Liboiron's work. In these conversations, participants also reflected on how Liboiron’s approach could be translated and applied in their own research, and how to do so while manoeuvring different constraints and unjust systems. After sharing their perspectives with the plenary, the meeting concluded with a collective reflection on how transformative scientific practice can be further developed, both in thinking and doing, in different disciplines and contexts.
The Vienna Science Studies Lab, a collaborative initiative of the Konrad Lorenz Institute, the UPSalon of the University of Vienna, and the Epistemology of the In/human Project at Central European University, facilitates a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue and critical engagement with feminist science studies. The reading group is organised by KLI fellow Laura Menatti and KLI alumna Sophie Veigl. It is open to anyone interested and meets twice a year.