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Consortium for the Global South


The workshop “Postcolonial Ecologies in the Global South: Explorations at the Culture/Nature Interface” took place on 28 and 29 June 2018 in the Alison Richard Building. We got off to a great start with Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke’s engaging and thought-provoking talk on international climate justice in the African context. This was followed by the first session, “Conserving Biodiversity”, with a suitably diverse set of presentations on indigenous ecological knowledge in Colombia (Falk Parra-Witte), the co-production of conservation in Peru (Josie Chambers) and digital representations of elephants (Bill Adams). The second session, “Environmental Conflicts”, took us first to a discussion of land-use changes in Ghana (Clare Bissell), then to eco-favelas in Río de Janeiro (Jennifer Chisholm) and finally to the production of charcoal in Uganda (Adam Branch). Many of us concluded the day with a delicious meal at Hughes Hall, preceded by sparkling champagne on the terrace.

Day Two began with a session on “Natural Disasters”: a transnational volcanic eruption in Chile and Argentina (Amy Donovan) and the sometimes-unexpected consequences of hurricanes in Mexico (Lucy Foster). The next session, “Alternative Epistemologies”, explored the potential advantages and pitfalls of classifying cultures (Andrew Buskell), the re-engagement with indigenous worldviews in Chilean cinema (Joanna Page) and decolonizing discourses in environmental education (Kat Buchmann and Victoria Tait). This was followed by “Food and Farming”, where we engaged with the environmental implications of ethical capitalism (Ivan Scales), the diversity of maize in the Americas (Helen Anne Curry), and insects as an alternative food source (Charlotte Payne). Fittingly, the session was then followed by lunch (sadly without insects!), after which the session on “Waterscapes” took us to a discussion of water supplies in Cairo (Noura Wahby) and floods in Buenos Aires (Adriana Laura Massidda). The final session, “Posthuman Poetics”, explored human/nature interactions in Guyanese literature (Tim Cribb), postcolonial photography in an Indian hill town (Siddharth Pandey) and contemporary Mayan nature writing (Charles Pigott).

The event was followed by a reception outside where wine and discussion continued to flow! The organizers would like to thank everyone who attended for the wonderfully engaging presentations and stimulating questions, as well as our funders for their generosity: The Smuts Memorial Fund, The Leverhulme Trust, Centre of African Studies, Centre of Latin American Studies, Centre of South Asian Studies and Centre of Development Studies.