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Postcolonial Ecologies in the Global South: Explorations at the Culture/Nature Interface

When Jun 28, 2018 08:00 AM to
Jun 29, 2018 08:00 PM
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Invitation and Short Description

This is a flagship event that - for the first time - bring together five interdisciplinary centres at the University of Cambridge. We invite all Cambridge researchers working on the culture/nature interface or on any other theme related to postcolonial ecologies in the Global South to participate, from PhD students to senior academics. The exact form of the workshop is yet to be confirmed - depending on the number of participants and available funding - but we hope to include as many people as possible. As a result, we are not issue a call for abstracts, preferring to leave the exact format open for the moment. The main aim is for participants to learn about the work of colleagues across the University and therefore enhance the opportunities for future dialogues and collaborations. As such, likely formats are short presentations of ten minutes or round-table discussions but this will be confirmed in due course.

All we ask for is a brief email confirming your participation in the event and a summary (2-3 sentences) of the topic that you that would like to discuss. We would be grateful if this could be sent to Charles Pigott at the Centre of Latin American Studies (, who will be organising the workshop, by 31st October 2017.

This will be the first major event held by the Consortium for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Global South. The workshop will bring together the Centre of Development Studies, Centre of South Asian Studies, Centre of African Studies, Centre of Latin American Studies and University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute in order to exchange ideas and define collaborative research agendas regarding one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century: the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

The Global South is home to the vast majority of the world’s biological and cultural diversity. It is also the area where both kinds of diversity are disappearing the fastest. For these reasons, the countries of the Global South are especially relevant to the Environmental Humanities, in terms of both theory and practice. For theory, comparing radically different perspectives on humanity’s relationship with nature promises important insights about what “humanity”, “nature”, “culture” and similar concepts may mean. For practice, endeavours to conserve cultural and biological diversity at a global level need to develop integrated frameworks for the regions where this diversity is greatest and most threatened.

Just as the Global South is of particular relevance for the Environmental Humanities, so the Environmental Humanities touch the very core of the challenges and opportunities present in Global South. The economies of these regions are particularly dependent on natural resources, whether in the form of raw materials or tourism. They are also especially susceptible to disruption by natural phenomena. Indeed, a crucial dimension of the postcolonial reality is how states and populations reconfigure the relationship between humanity and nature in changing cultural and economic contexts.

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UCCRI is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, with a network of over 150 researchers from all 6 Schools of the University of Cambridge. The Institute supports multidisciplinary research on biodiversity conservation and the social context within which humans engage with nature. It works from a base in the David Attenborough Building, which is designed to enhance collaboration and the sharing of perspectives across organisational and disciplinary boundaries. Find out more...

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