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Diane Borden B.A., M.Sc.

Diane Borden B.A., M.Sc.

PhD student

'Apis-temologies': More-than-human Temporalities of Pollination and Economics

Biography

Diane is an environmental geographer with an interest in the ecologies and economies of pollination across the United Kingdom. This work seeks to conceptualize more-than-human temporalities by bridging multispecies geographies, political ecology, and critical time studies.

Career

  • 2017: Shorebird Ecologist. The Trustees of Reservations, Martha's Vineyard, MA (U.S.A.)
  • 2014: Shorebird Ecologist. The Virginia Tech Great Plains Shorebird Project, South Dakota (U.S.A.)
  • 2013: Arctic Shorebird Ecologist. Kansas State University, field site in Alaska (U.S.A.)
  • 2012-2013: Songbird Technician. Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Georgia (U.S.A.)

Qualifications

  • M.Sc. (Distinction). Nature, Society and Environmental Governance. Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. (2016)
  • B.A. Anthropology & Environmental and Urban Studies. Bard College, U.S.A. (2012)

Awards and scholarships

  • 2019—Present: Cambridge Trust International Scholarship, University of Cambridge.
  • 2019—Present: Benefactor's Scholarship, St. John's College, University of Cambridge.
  • 2016: Nature, Society and Environmental Governance Best Overall Student Award, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
  • 2016: Nature, Society and Environmental Governance Joint Best Dissertation Award, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
  • 2016: School of Geography and the Environment Travel Grant, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
  • 2016: Regent's Park College Travel Grant, Regent's Park College, University of Oxford
  • 2011-2012: Seniors-to-Seniors Grant, Bard College, U.S.A.
  • 2008 -2012: Excellence & Equal Cost Scholarship, Bard College, U.S.A.

Research

Unprecedented global declines in pollinating insects are throwing the instability and unsustainability of current agroecological practices into relief, often garnering current calls to action that foreshadow a mounting 'pollinator-mediated food crisis' on the horizon. The porosity of this discourse is evident in parallel calls to 'save the bees'—the humming droll of the European honeybee, Apis mellifera, at the fore. Charismatic and familiar, the honeybee has traditionally been promoted as the quintessential pollinator encapsulating the dire implications of agricultural uncertainty. But what of the ecological? And moreover, what of the crucial non-honeybee pollinators—and their quintessential labors to both agricultural integrity and the biodiversity that encourages thriving agroecologies—rendered invisible within these dominant honeybee narratives?

A growing body of scientific research evidences how both honeybees and wild pollinators are entangled within the very fabric of our global food systems. Despite this, native bee labors remain unevenly understood and valued, creating fault-lines between conservationist aims and agricultural gains. These rifts are generative, whereby pollinators—to include bees, hoverflies, beetles, moths, wasps, etc.—become ideal candidates to examine relations between ecology and economy.

Mapping bee pollinator ecologies—to include human-bee relationships (both with wild and managed bees), knowledges, and the temporalities of pollination and bee lifecycles—with other native pollinator ecologies against capitalist imaginaries of time stands to trouble the very foundations of economic discourse, reorienting 'the commons' as a multispecies pursuit. Diane's research therefore purports that the ecological is constitutive of economics, exemplified by this 'swarm' of multivariate pollinators, their collaborative more-than-human labors, and their subsequent interlocking temporalities that define food production systems. Using the 'swarm' as a productive metaphor, this project aims to answer how the lives and ecologies of pollinators elucidates the temporalities of capitalist production and accumulation.

Broader research interests include:

  • Multispecies studies
  • Time geographies
  • Lively political economies
  • Geographies of biodiversity conservation & extinction

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications

2021

  • Oliver, C., Ragavan, S., Turnbull, J., Chowdhury, A., Borden, D., Fry, T., Gutgutia, S. and Srivastava, S. 2021. Introduction to the urban ecologies open collection: A call for contributions on methods, ethics, and design in geographical research with urban animals. Geo, 8(2): 1-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/geo2.101.

2019

  • Ruhs, E.C., D.M. Borden, T. Dallas & E. Pitman. (2019) Do feather traits convey information about bird condition during fall migration? The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 131(3): 693-701. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1676/18-174.

Public scholarship

Workshops

Spring 2021 - Present

  • Founder & Organizer, 'Political Entomologies' Seminar Series, University of Cambridge. Co-hosted with Dr Uli Beisel (Department of Human Geography, Freie Universität Berlin).

Conference papers

  • 'Narrating Embodied Environmental Histories Through Indicator Archives', with Anna Guasco. Animal History Group, 5th Annual Summer Conference: Animal Archives (July 2021)

Invited talks

  • 'Lundatímman': Telling Time with Atlantic Puffins', Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop. Faculty of History, University of Cambridge (November 2021)

Teaching

  • Supervisor, Part II, Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power (2020-2022)
    • Section I: 'Stealing the Commons from the Goose' (2021)
    • Section II: 'Animals, Food, and Biopolitics' (2020, 2021)
    • Section III: 'Technologies of Social Improvement' (2022)
    • Section IV: 'Technologies of Self-Improvement' (2022)
  • Supervisor, Part II, Political Ecology in the Global South (2022)
    • Section III: 'The Political Ecology of Forests'

External activities

  • Member of Association of American Geographers
  • Member of Political Ecology Reading Group, University of Cambridge
  • Member of Vital Geographies Research Group, University of Cambridge (Student Co-convener, 2021-present)
  • Member of Media Ecologies Reading Group
  • Member of Cambridge Conservation Initiative Reading Group