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Research Theme: Global Ecologies

There is a double burden placed upon the South in today’s imagination of a precarious global ecology – both as the place that stands to suffer most from the oncoming environmental disaster as well as the source for humanity’s eco-friendly redemption. This research theme will bring people together across the University who are working on questions of ecology and the relationship between humans and nature.

If today, as Amitav Ghosh writes, we can no longer pretend that our planet is inert, then it is imperative to understand how this living force is experienced and engaged in different locations around the world. Even as the concept of the Anthropocene implies a new common global condition and focuses minds on growing planetary dangers, the idea of a fundamental global break may lead to yet another case of Eurocentric understandings masquerading as universal truth. It is sobering to note that some of the most dire scenarios of future ecological upheaval at the hands of climate change have been a daily reality for certain parts of the world since the onset of colonialism. However, at the same time that long histories of global devastation are ignored by a future-oriented catastrophism, the global south is looked to as the place from where radical alternatives to the mounting cataclysm of capitalist modernity are supposed to emerge. So there is a double burden placed upon the South in today’s imagination of a precarious global ecology – both as the place that stands to suffer most from the oncoming environmental disaster as well as the source for humanity’s eco-friendly redemption. Comparative and regional approaches are needed to make sense of how different global histories at many different scales are producing fundamentally different modes of life and politics in the relationship between humans and nature. Indeed, concepts such as “humanity” and “nature” – let alone “sustainability” or “conservation” – can only be made sense of if their divergent global histories and future possibilities are placed at the centre of analysis.

A significant number of researchers are pursuing these questions in and around the four Centres that comprise the Consortium for the Global South; however, until now, there have been few opportunities to engage across regional and disciplinary divides. By making Global Ecologies a central theme of the Consortium, we will help make possible conversations, debates, and research collaborations around this key theme across regions and disciplines.

 

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Tri-Continental Tea Seminar: The Politics of Science and Technology in the Global South

Nov 27, 2017

The Consortium for the Global South invites you to participate in the first of its Tricontinental Tea Seminars. This informal series is intended to connect researchers working in different departments and disciplines within the University departments, to share knowledge, and to explore the potential for future collaborative projects.