Ethiopia’s Lower Omo valley may be one of the oldest places in the world continuously occupied by humans. This birthplace of our species is now in the process of being remodelled for the sake of generating electricity and growing sugarcane. The Omo River, which
once served as the lifeblood of hundreds of thousands of people, has been impounded behind a hydroelectric dam. For the people of the river’s lower reaches, the annual flood of the river, along with the appearance of the Pleiades in the night sky, once marked the new year. For the aquatic life of Lake Turkana, into which the river drains, the flood provided nutrients that primed the reproductive systems of fish to spawn. In this presentation I tell the story of this watershed in two senses: the river system, and the momentous change now underway. The story serves as an allegory for the faustian bargain of development, and the dangers of squandering humanity’s biocultural inheritance. It challenges us to think anew about the relationships between people, place, and nature.
« Anthropologie à Nanterre » est un séminaire d’anthropologie généraliste, organisé par le Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative et le Département d’anthropologie de l’université Paris Nanterre. Le séminaire a lieu un mardi sur deux de 14h à 16h à la MSH Mondes, bâtiment René-Ginouvès, salle 308F (3e étage).
Les séances sont ouvertes à toutes et tous.