2023 Distinguished Speaker Presentation with Dr. Deb Cowen

December 08, 2023

Distinguished Speaker series

  • Title: Deadly Lifeworlds meet Pallative Politics
  • Presenter: Dr. Deb Cowen, University of Toronto
  • Date: December 7, 2023


The entangled crises of climate and coloniality define our wider conjuncture, and genocide our immediate present. What infrastructural inheritances usher in this era that might best be characterized as “palliative”, and how might an immanent politics of care and collaboration orient us towards other paths? This talk takes an experimental journey through logistics systems that both constitute and cut across colonial ecologies. It will journey along haunted rails, across racial borders of land, labor and the human, and into the singular human microbiome. Holding seemingly disparate sites of crisis together, it attends to practices of survivance of those who refuse the colonial borders of life and death.


Deborah Cowen is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. Deb’s work is concerned with the intimate life of war in ostensibly civilian spaces, the logistics of supply chain and racial capitalism, and the contested geographies of settler colonial infrastructure. The author of The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade and Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada, Deborah also co-edited War, Citizenship, Territory and Digital Life in the Global City: Contesting Infrastructures, and with Katherine McKittrick and Simone Browne co-edits the Duke University Press book series Errantries.