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Department of Geography

 

Natures, Cultures, Knowledges

Natures, Cultures, Knowledges

Understanding of the concepts of nature has grown more plural, complex, and divergent. So too have our obligations and challenges to articulate the relevance, potential, and application of geographical analysis as a means to reveal more equitable and sustainable pathways for our globe's diverse societies and ecosystems. The importance of a more reflexive collective self-understanding is evidenced in on-going diagnoses of human-nature pathologies and potentials (e.g. the Anthropocene). Formulating new models of responsibility and action requires understanding how different 'ways of knowing' can be linked, oriented, and embodied across a diversity of social, cultural and economic spaces and scales. A shared priority is, broadly speaking, to understand the reflexive conditions and structures of environmental concern and engagement.

The Natures, Cultures, Knowledges Group run three meeting series: Political Ecology, The Magic Circle and Circumpolar History and Public Policy.

Themes

Natures

Natures

Our studies of nonhuman agencies pose new intellectual challenges for how we explain both continuities and radical disjunctures within knowledge communities, how we assess what is taken to constitute reliable knowledge, standards, and baselines, for which purposes and to what ends.

Cultures

Cultures

Our engagement with the sources and character of resilience and diversity in knowledge traditions enables us to identify new or hidden strategies, modes, and ontologies of assemblage across heterogeneous material cultures and constellations of local and situated fields of practice.

Knowledges

Knowledges

Our multiple forms of engagement with processes of evidenced-based policy provide us with a set of platforms to analyse processes of negotiation and justification including deliberation, reciprocity, and accountability. To this end the foci of our research include the philosophical underpinnings of public enquiries, advisory bodies, participatory models of governance, protected areas of special ecological significance, environmental reviews and impact assessments.

Group members

The Natures Cultures, Knowledges thematic group consists of the following members:

Professor Bill Adams The political ecology of socially constructed natures
Professor Ash Amin Urban sentience and human being; and resilient states and subjects.
Dr Evangelia Apostolopoulou The political ecology of nature conservation with a particular emphasis on the reconstruction of biodiversity conservation around the measurement of the economic values of nature.
Professor Tim Bayliss-Smith Agroforestry, intensification and social institutions in Melanesia
Dr Michael Bravo Indigenous ontologies; geographies of mobility; cultures of navigation
Dr Amy Donovan Science, knowledge and policy in the context of volcanic eruptions; volcanic risk and uncertainty; human and physical interface in volcanic areas
Dr Robert Doubleday Cultures and politics of technoscience
Dr Philip Howell Animal geographies
Professor Nigel Leader-Williams Conservation policy and human-animal conflicts
Dr Emma Mawdsley Environmental politics in India
Dr Shane McCorristine Disembodiment/embodiment; cultures of 19thC exploration
Dr Iris Möller Scientifically-informed coastal management; scientific underpinning of coastal ecosystem service, risk, and uncertainty assessments.
Dr David Nally The politics of global food provisioning
Professor Clive Oppenheimer Volcanic risk management and the human ecology of volcanic regions.
Professor Susan Owens Knowledge, expertise & policy; planning and the politics of sustainability
Professor Sarah Radcliffe Postcolonial cultures and subaltern knowledges
Dr Remy Rouillard Ways of life of indigenous peoples and of the workers involved in extractive industries in northern Russia and Canada
Dr Chris Sandbrook Political ecology; market-based conservation; role of evidence in conservation
Dr Ivan Scales Political ecology of resource use and environmental change
Dr Tatiana Thieme Urban political ecologies of waste and sanitation in post-colonial cities.
Dr Bhaskar Vira Political economy of natural resources, ecosystem services and development
Dr Piers Vitebsky Indigenous cosmologies and ontologies in the Arctic and tropical forests
Dr Liz Watson Coping with risk and uncertainty in the Horn of Africa

Meeting series

Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group (CHiPP)

Circumpolar History and Public Policy

Research in the Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group (CHiPP) aims to address issues of contemporary relevance to the polar regions by bringing together historical analysis and public policy debate.

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is a long-running group at the Scott Polar Research Institute for the informal discussion of research in progress on ritual, symbolism and the anthropology of religion worldwide, and its interface with theology, psychology and related disciplines. Participants and speakers include graduate students, senior scholars, and practitioners of religion and psychology.

Political Ecology Group

Political Ecology Group

The Political Ecology Group is interested in all aspects of the symbolic and material politics of socially constructed natures. Its interests span the industrialized and developing world. Some members of the group are active in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.