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Department of Geography


Political Ecology Group seminars

Political Ecology Group seminars

Meetings of the Political Ecology Group at the Department of Geography.

# Tuesday 15th June 2021, 1.00pm - Janet Fisher, University of Edinburgh
Mapping and deliberating values for Uplands management
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Land uses in the UK uplands can become contested and may develop into conflicts, perhaps particularly when conservation stakeholders are involved. In light of various new priorities and policies for the uplands, there is a need for approaches that can help stakeholders to develop mutual understanding and deliberate key contentious issues. This talk describes the work of my UKRI Landscape Decisions Fellowship, in which I am developing what I have entitled the ‘MApping and DEliberating Values for Uplands management’ (MADEVU) toolkit. The concept behind this work is the development of a tool that stakeholders working in partnership in an upland setting could use to understand the various positions held by relevant parties about planned land use changes. Following the process of mapping out stakeholder perspectives, the work will go on to involve workshops, set up such that the issues revealed to be contentious could be deliberated, with a view to potentially resolving conflict, or at least negotiating compromise and settling difference. I build on some ideas developed with the ‘Group and Organisation Future of Conservation Survey’ (GO-FOX) collaboration, and integrate ideas from land use conflicts research and work on conflict amelioration more generally. The talk describes the background, early work and tool development and the preparation of two case studies in the Scottish highlands and lowlands in which the process will be piloted and iterated.

Previous meetings

# Tuesday 8th June 2021, 1.00pm - Anna Lawrence, University of Cambridge
Situating vegetal lives in political ecology: from plantationocene to planthroposcene
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

This week’s seminar uses as its departure point the ongoing debate surrounding how best to situate Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing’s concept of the ‘Plantationocene’ in order to avoid a multispecies flattening of relations – in particular those relations determined by race. When dealing with a multispecies framework within political ecology, it is often easier to locate animal actors than plants both ethically and politically. Vegetal agency is harder to translate and make legible, whilst plant lives are inherently valued far less than animal lives due in part to their mutable bodily boundaries which complicate our western conceptions of what constitutes an ‘individual’. How, then, might we rehabilitate the vegetal as a political actor whilst guarding against a flattening of relations? What might recent work in the emerging transdisciplinary field of critical plant studies have to offer those of us working with or among plants? In asking these questions, we shall wend our way to Natasha Myers’ invitation to seed ‘planthroposcenes’ in attending to plants as world-makers, centring them in our attempts to reimagine sustainable futures.

Suggested reading:

# Tuesday 1st June 2021, 1.00pm - Guillem Rubio Ramón, University of Edinburgh
More-than-human nationalisms in Catalonia and Scotland
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Geographical and cognate disciplines have thoroughly studied the intertwining of ideas of nature and nationhood. This work covers topics such as the social construction of nature; the intersections between nationalist and environmentalist political agendas; and the national discourses of ownership, control, and identity of natural resources. Mostly unseen within this broader picture are nations without a state and nonhuman lives that do not constitute authentic or national natures. Catalonia and Scotland are two cases that perfectly illustrate this: two European stateless nations where recent political turmoil is still altering what it is to be Catalan or Scottish. Even if the connections between nature and nationalism have been studied in both cases, animals have mostly appeared circumstantially or as passive symbolic objects within contested rural landscapes. My research, therefore, revolves around these gaps and seeks to simultaneously chart two convergent trajectories in this body of work: expanding how we understand nature and how we discursively construct the nation. Drawing on insights from previous fieldwork in the Pyrenees and ongoing research on pig farming in Catalonia and salmon aquaculture in Scotland, this presentation looks at those large numbers of nonhumans both hidden but radically ‘entangled’ in the machinations of the nation.

# Tuesday 25th May 2021, 1.00pm - Rogelio Luque-Lora, University of Cambridge
The roots of our ecological crisis
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 18th May 2021, 1.00pm - Revati Pandya, University of Wageningen
Subject formation through the influence of conservation governance: A feminist intersectional approach to neoliberal environmentality
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Research on environmentality has provided insights on subject formation through the influence of conservation governance. Within this research, examination of subject formation from the perspective of local socio-cultural dynamics has been gaining attention. However, a gender perspective in environmentality research remains marginal. In this presentation, I discuss women’s engagement with ecotourism based on ethnographic research as a part of my Phd at Corbett tiger reserve, India. Ecotourism has been promoted as a win-win at Corbett tiger reserve, and local dependence on tourism has been prolonged, influencing change in land use and livelihoods. Within this context, I focus on women and tourism and I draw from intersectional feminist political ecology to locate the influence of caste and class on women’s involvement in tourism and implications on their lives. In relating this perspective to environmentality, I find that women’s engagement with tourism is shaped by intersecting dynamics of caste and class, and the motivation for engaging in tourism and its implications often go beyond monetary benefits that neoliberal environmentality tends to emphasise. A focus on gender and related socio-cultural differences can also reveal the complex ways that specific conservation measures exacerbate inequity, and can be avenues to focus on for transformation and just conservation

# Tuesday 11th May 2021, 2.00pm - Paul Robbins, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Muir, Indigenous erasure, and conservation reckoning
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

The great naturalist and environmental advocate John Muir is well-known for his silence around the question of Native peoples, even and especially those who were violently removed from the lands in and around the places he most revered. Yet his 1913 book, “The Story of My Boyhood and Youth,” is notable for its saturation with descriptions of Native people and activity in the places around which the Muir family settled in Wisconsin in the 1840s, a little more than a decade after the violent conclusion of the Blackhawk War. Combining a close reading of the text with a psychoanalytic interpretation of this remarkable reversal reveals Muir’s repression of Native memories, which parallels the larger American erasure that accompanied that era’s genocide. A Lacanian analysis, moreover, suggests that such repression is necessarily never complete, and tends to erupt in the form of repetitive compulsion, announcing itself through the activities of conservation and the founding of the national parks system. Meaningful steps towards redressing historical inequity and violence, while advancing a more just model of conservation, require acknowledgment of this repression in Muir’s psyche and our own as settlers. This holds further implications for the role of the unconscious in political ecology more generally.

# Tuesday 4th May 2021, 1.00pm - Arpitha Kodiveri, European University Institute.
The Limits of Stewardship: land rights, legal mobilization by forest-dwelling communities and extraction in Odisha, India.
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

The Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) of India was a significant moment in the history of forest laws as it challenged the colonial forest governance paradigm with the inclusion of forest-dwelling communities in conservation decision making. This had not been done through a statute before. The FRA however creates a divide by legal design of who benefits from the Act. It identifies Scheduled Tribes (ST) as the primary rights holder to forest rights and introduces a new category of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) who have to provide evidence of 75 years or three generations of having lived and depended on forests. A mammoth task for communities who do not have access to such evidence. Through extensive interviews with the forest and local bureaucracy across the extractive frontiers of Odisha, this presentation will bring to light how this divide by legal design has resulted in a particular administrative-legal interpretation of the worthy and unworthy steward. The ST being viewed as a worthy steward while the OTFD communities being seen as the unworthy steward and thus not deserving the recognition of their forest rights despite providing the required evidence. Drawing on the work of Alpa Shah and Tanya Li the question of concern for political ecology that this paper seeks to address is when particular notions of indigeneity inform the understanding of stewardship in law what does the law in action look like? Does it create as Tanya Murray Li argues in the formulation of a tribal slot or eco-incarceration of Adivasi communities as Alpa shah states or does it empower forest-dwelling communities to address historical wrongs experienced by recognizing their role as stewards as environmental law scholar Kabir Bavikatte elucidates.

I argue that in extractive areas where land rights are so tenuous, the FRA with its particular understanding of stewardship creates a divide by legal design causing rifts within the forest-dwelling communities. The state merely reinforces these fissures with its understanding of stewardship. Based on fieldwork in three mining sites, I demonstrate how OTFD communities are caught in a bind of proving their stewardship and relationship to the land as being legally valid and as authentic as that of the ST community. I address the ways in which they try to do this with the larger argument of the limits of the understanding of stewardship present in India’s forest laws that pits one vulnerable community against another. I explore an alternative legal paradigm of the rights of future generations to overcome this limitation.

# Tuesday 9th March 2021, 1.00pm - Dr Simon P. James, University of Durham
How places matter: A new theory of environmental value.
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

In 1972, the Navajo activist Katherine Smith told Senate investigators that she would never quit her home on Big Mountain. I will ‘never leave the land, this sacred place’, she said. ‘The land is part of me and I will one day be part of the land… All that has meaning is here.’

It is standard practice to conceive of the value of places in terms of the ‘ecosystem services’ they provide. For Smith, however, Big Mountain was not merely a service-provider. It was a part of her life. There is a need for a theory of environmental value that can accommodate such cases. In this talk, I present such a theory.

I begin with a description of the standard model of environmental value, according to which places such as Big Mountain have instrumental or ‘service’ value for us humans on account of their causal powers. I then argue that that model comes up short when applied to those cases when places have religious, political, historical, mythic or any other kind of cultural value. I then move on to present my own model of environmental value, according to which places can have constitutive value on account of the contributions they make to certain meaningful wholes. In the final part of the talk, I briefly consider that model’s implications for environmental policy.

# Tuesday 2nd March 2021, 1.00pm - Dr Amber Huff, Institute of Development Studies
Pacification and the engineering of ‘green’ extraction in southern Madagascar
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

The Rio Tinto QIT-Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mine in south-eastern Madagascar has triggered serious social, environmental and legal conflicts since the late 1990s. These relate to broken promises of employment, disrupted livelihoods, poor compensation for physical and economic displacement, labor disputes, destruction of rare wetland and littoral rainforest ecologies, water pollution, and a ‘double land grab’ for mining activities and biodiversity offsetting. Despite these conflicts, the company stands by spectacular claims to be a responsible ‘green’ self-regulator and sustainable development actor, bringing conservation benefits and ‘gifts’ of development to an impoverished region. To make sense of this dynamic, this seminar explores the engineering of ‘sustainable’ mining in south-eastern Madagascar through the lens of ‘pacification’, conceptualized as a productive form of violence that works through the disruption and re-ordering of nature and society to create the exclusionary forms and spaces of ‘security’, ‘stability’ and even ‘sustainability’ that legitimize QMM’s continued claims to social and environmental virtue.

# Tuesday 23rd February 2021, 10.00am - Dr Wolfram Dressler, University of Melbourne
Defending lands and forests: NGO histories and extraordinary violence in the Philippines.
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Across the Global South, a surge in authoritarian rule and extractive agendas have intensified the harassment and murder of activists protecting remnant forest frontiers. In 2017, Global Witness (2018) documented the brutal murders of 207 so-called ‘environmental defenders’, the deadliest year on record since first documenting the killings. In the Philippines, particularly, the harassment and violence against environmental defenders have recently accelerated under the authoritarian regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. Excluding drug-related extra-judicial killings, the same NGO documented 30 murders in the country in 2018, the highest number of killings of any country globally that year. Fifteen deaths were linked to agribusinesses. Largely due to expanding plantations and mines, the frontier province of Palawan has experienced an associated surge in land grabbing and illegal logging, driving defender harassment, intimidation, and death. While several studies have explored the broader context of defender activities and violence in Southeast Asia (Grant and Le Billion 2019), few have considered how and why the rural poor emerge as activists, the role of NGOs in the process and how defenders negotiate activism with everyday life and livelihood. This paper fills this gap by examining the role of NGOs in forging networks, mobilizing communities and driving social movements that recruit, invest in, and shape defender practices on Palawan Island. I focus on how NGOs facilitate rural networks among indigenous defenders, why defenders do what they do, and how they negotiate life and livelihood as threats mount against them, their loved ones, and their comrades. I elaborate on defenders’ lived experiences and narratives of survival that emerged before and during Duterte’s rule and what these killings mean for the rule of law and activism in the Philippines.

# Tuesday 16th February 2021, 1.00pm - Adam Searle, University of Cambridge
Celia’s ghosts: On biotic loss and recovery in the Pyrenees.
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

The bucardo (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica), an endemic subspecies of Iberian ibex from the Pyrenees, was declared extinct in January 2000. The last individual, known internationally as Celia, was crushed to death by a falling fir tree in the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido, Aragón, Spain. Months before her death, however, a team of geneticists performed a skin biopsy and cryopreserved her cells. In 2003, the ibex rose to worldwide fame as scientists in Zaragoza cloned Celia’s cells, and an extinct animal was born to a surrogate mother. The clone died minutes later—but, for the first and only time in history, extinction was not forever. In this presentation, I discuss empirical material from my doctoral thesis, building upon an extensive period of fieldwork in Spain and France. The bucardo’s story was further complicated in 2014 when ecologists in the Parc National des Pyrénées released another subspecies of Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica victoriae) translocated from central Spain. These ibex are not bucardo, yet they occupy its ecological niche, and resemble the extinct animal in a number of ways. I explore what concern about the bucardo can teach about the changing meanings of extinction and restoration in the Anthropocene. The case raises a range of questions concerning the political ecologies of extinction and de-extinction, who gets to speak for Celia’s ghosts, and on whose terms.

# Tuesday 9th February 2021, 1.00pm - Dr George Holmes, University of Leeds
Landscape values, rewilding, and contested discourses of rural change in West Wales.
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Across Europe, rural landscapes and communities are changing, following local, national and global pressures. The future physical makeup of these landscapes, the species, landforms and land uses that are present, and the relationship between these landscapes and local communities, are uncertain. As different visions for the physical makeup of landscapes are being proposed and negotiated, it is worth understanding how they fit into broader rural politics, and the values that underpin them. This study looks at competing visions for the future of landscapes in west Wales, an area which may see rapid change, particularly from proposed rewilding projects. We use image based Q methodology to analyse different visions, and to explore the values that underpin them. We find three distinct visions which we name socio-ecological transformation, maintaining heritage farming landscapes, and animals and aesthetics. We find that relational and eudemonic values underpin the first two in particular. Despite claims by participants and stakeholders to speak for rural communities, we find important differences within rural communities. We find that disagreements on the environmental and social futures of the landscape are based on shared facts but divergent values. We find that iconic species in farming and rewilding (e.g. sheep, beaver) generate highly bimodal viewpoints. Rewilding is a well-discussed and love-it-or-hate-it topic. These findings have important implications for the future of contested projects aimed at transforming the landscape of this region, and relevance for wider European landscape change. Our conceptual approach, which combines a focus on the politics of the rural with relational values, and our methodological approach, of image based Q methodology, have great potential for understanding debates over the future of rural landscapes and the future of rewilding.

# Tuesday 1st December 2020, 1.00pm - Trishant Simlai, Department of Geography
Negotiating the panoptic gaze: power & conservation surveillance
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

In recent years, the use of new and existing surveillance technologies in the practice of conservation has increased rapidly. This includes the use of drones, camera traps, satellite and thermal imagery for activities such as wildlife monitoring, anti-poaching and law enforcement. In many respects surveillance is constitutive of modern society, especially in urban spaces (Lyon 1995) where its use has been widely discussed. In the conservation context, surveillance intensifies the demarcation of spaces between nature and people by intensifying territorialization (Adams 2017), and it has been suggested that it could impact the wellbeing of local stakeholders in various ways (Sandbrook 2015, Sandbrook et al 2018). However, the social and political implications of surveillance technologies in conservation and natural resource management remain an underexplored field of empirical inquiry. Drawing from 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, India, this paper unpacks and explores the social and political implications of a wide range of surveillance technologies on local communities, conservation labour and on conservation governance. I argue that these technologies are used to establish multiple surveillance regimes, resulting in several environmentalities and in the production of disciplined people, wildlife and spaces. These regimes exacerbate already prevalent social injustices and structural inequalities of gender, caste and class discrimination, resulting in mistrust and negative perceptions of local communities towards conservation policies.

# Tuesday 24th November 2020, 1.00pm - Dr Jon Phillips
Democratising infrastructure? Governing energy democracy in South Africa
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Where material infrastructure is associated with injustice, critical scholarship is often concerned with how infrastructure can be democratised. Yet, the relationship between democracy and infrastructure is underexplored. This paper explores how infrastructure is entwined with democratic participation and rule by analysing distributed electricity generation in South Africa. Decentralised solar power is often assumed to enhance democratic control of energy systems by empowering citizens as owners of infrastructure and material participants in governance. We describe a more complex relationship between infrastructural and democratic change, of who and what are governed by whom, and how. First, we describe changes in South Africa’s model of entrepreneurial urban governance, in how tensions between the social and commercial imperatives of local government are managed through infrastructure and space. Second, we describe the new political subjectivity of the ‘prosumer’ (producer-consumer), shaped by the governmental tools of infrastructural gatekeepers that coordinate grid access and electricity exchange. We find democratic possibilities shaped by the incorporation of new technologies and subjects into existing relations of infrastructure, finance and power. We conclude by considering the prospect of material participation in democratic politics that not only places technology in the hands of businesses and residents but transforms socio-material relations that maintain injustices of infrastructure.

# Tuesday 17th November 2020, 1.00pm - Dr Sophia Cooke, Dr Chris Sandbrook & Prof Bhaskar Vira
Conservation finance in a post-covid world
Venue: Delivered online via Zoom

Two new projects in the department consider the way conservation is funded, particularly in the context of the collapse in certain funding models as a result of the Covid pandemic. In this session we will provide a brief introduction to these two projects, before a general discussion of the political ecology issues that they raise.

Yuan and Bhaskar’s project will explore sustainable financing alternatives for conservation landscapes post-Covid. The pandemic has disrupted traditional conservation finance models relying on private market flows. Landscapes are composed of multiple natural capital assets (i.e. the stock of natural resources) functioning as an integrated system, providing ecosystem services (i.e. benefits we receive from nature) that can be considered as public goods. It is important to find alternative finance models that recognise multiple values of nature to support better-informed landscape decisions.

Meanwhile, Sophia and Chris are focusing on conservation and development in Galapagos. Covid-19 has highlighted the fragility of the socioeconomic system of the archipelago, with the collapse in the (unsustainable and damaging) tourism industry putting thousands at risk of falling into poverty. Both local and national governments wish to transform Galápagos into a Sustainable Development Goals ‘Territory’ and move toward a more knowledge-focused economy and away from tourism reliance. This project aims to support Galápagos decision makers in this aim, which will include consideration of alternative methods of revenue generation for conservation.

# Wednesday 11th November 2020, 1.00pm - Beatriz Bustos, University of Chile
Opportunities and challenges for an ecological Constitution in Chile
Venue: Online, via MS Teams

On October 25th, Chileans voted to write, for the first time in their political history, their new constitution. The constitutional convention in charge of composing the new carta magna will be formed by 155 elected members, and will be the first in the world to achieve complete gender parity. The upcoming constitutional process aims to heal the deep divide caused by forty years of neoliberal policies that increased social inequality. Yet, the new constitution will also need to address the ecological challenges that climate change and an extractive economy pose for the future of the country. The presentation will discuss – from a political ecology perspective – the main challenges and debates that are taking place at the moment within academia, civil society and the corporate sector.

# Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 1.00pm - Trishant Simlai, University of Cambridge
Negotiating the panoptic gaze: people, power and conservation surveillance in the Corbett tiger reserve, India
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge


# Tuesday 25th February 2020, 1.00pm - Gediminas Lesutis, University of Cambridge
The infrastructural other: spatial effects of the Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge


# Tuesday 4th February 2020, 1.00pm - Juan Martin Dabezies, Universidad de la República (Uruguay)
Invasive species and ecological imperialism in South America. Current interactions between wood industry, wild boars, perroquets and hunters in Uruguay
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Uruguay is a cattle country. The colonization of Uruguay (and much of the Southern Cone of America) was based on the production and export of leather and meat of exotic species deliberately introduced by humans: cows. Livestock is currently the main productive activity of Uruguay. However, for about 30 years new species introduced by humans such as eucalyptus and soybeans, are changing the national productive map, competing with livestock as the country’s main productive activities. At the same time that the area of expansion of these new species begins to increase, wild boars and perroquets were declared national pests. Recently the wild boar is being fought very strongly because in addition to being a productive threat, it is an exotic environmental threat. In this presentation I analyze the postcolonial processes that have generated new ecological assemblages between exotic and native species, leading to some being considered plague and others almost “sacred.” Specifically I focus on fighting wild boar and the discursive roots based on speeches around production, conservation and biosecurity.

# Tuesday 28th January 2020, 1.00pm - Isabella M. Radhuber, University of Vienna (Austria)
Gender and Extractivism in Plurinational States – An intersectional approach to mining in Bolivia and Ecuador
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Co-authored with Marie Jasser

Highly diverse societies in the Andes clearly display the disproportionate impact of mining activities on women. Two cases – Bolivia’s biggest tin mine (Posokoni Mountain) in the Andean mountain plateau municipality Huanuni and Ecuador’s emerging copper exploitation in the megadiverse cloud forest region of Intag – show that specific impacts on women reinforce existing inequalities along poverty, ethnicity and rural-urban divisions. In this paper, we connect modern/colonial insights and recent contributions on extractivism within the broader field of feminist political ecology. We trace how gender-sensitive power relations in both places ultimately render the co-existence of variegated forms of living and production impossible. We find that a ‘legal shielding of mining companies’ leads to the suspension of democratic and fundamental rights of populations in affected territories. The consequences of ‘dispossession by contamination’ prove to be particular severe for indigenous-peasant-popular women as these consequences thwart subsistence activities that (in combination with housework activities) are carried out mainly by women. The fact that reproduction in these territories has been rendered impossible is being contested by increasingly female-led activism. This comparative case study sheds light on the gendered and variegated dynamics of extractivism in socio-environmental settings of high diversity.

# Tuesday 21st January 2020, 1.00pm - Doug Clark, University of Saskatchewan (Canada)
The political ecology of polar bear conservation: a circumpolar policy trainwreck
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Polar bears were one of the first globally-recognized icons in public discourse about climate change. Unfortunately for the aims of those deploying the bears as a symbol, they haven’t died off at the rates previously predicted and have not become an effective political lever to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, nation-states have indulged in “fig-leaf” policies intended to ameliorate political pressure while avoiding dealing with the underlying issue of climate change. Consequently, polar bear conservation policies have not so far resulted in any biologically meaningful conservation outcomes. Scientists and conservation advocates have faced considerable difficulty reconciling the emerging awareness of biophysical complexity and context-specificity in polar bears’ responses to a warming Arctic with the simplistic narrative more commonly promoted. Taken together, these interacting processes have tended to marginalize Arctic Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge and exacerbate political-economic and cultural divides. As the Arctic continues to warm, nonlinear impacts such as ecological regime shifts are underway and abrupt habitat loss for entire bear populations is possible. The concurrent drawdown of social capital from conflicts over polar bears makes collaborative effort for conserving polar bears and their habitat increasingly unlikely, despite being more necessary than ever.

# Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 1.00pm - Ariadne Collins, ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry
Forests of Refuge: Decolonizing Forest Governance in Guyana and Suriname
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 26th November 2019, 1.00pm - Rob Small, Fauna and Flora International
Social Assessment of Protected Areas
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 19th November 2019, 1.00pm - Anindya Sinha, Indian Institute of Science
The Political Ecologies of Urban Macaques in India
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Urbanisation is at the forefront of the challenges that India and several other nations of the Global South confront in the 21st century. Urban poverty is on the rise and rapid urbanisation is seriously outstripping most cities’ capacities to provide adequate infrastructure for their teeming millions. A neglected dimension of urban governance concerns nonhuman life in cities. New Delhi, for instance, has 12,000 stray cattle, 4,00,000 feral dogs and 9,000 wild monkeys — a situation similar to that in many other Indian cities. Although this is a major contemporary governance challenge, adequate frameworks to understand human-animal relations and design effective policies to manage potential conflict are seriously lacking in urban India. In this talk, I identify three areas of interdisciplinary rapprochement between nonhuman ethno-ethologies and human-driven political ecologies that are likely to have direct bearings on how Indian cities might be better governed. The first pertains to urban metabolism – the new ecologies of nonhuman life configured by the availability of provisioned food and waste. The second involves questions on space – the diverse ways through which animals territorialise, transgress and unsettle urban orders. The third entails an expanded notion of politics, emerging through conflicts between people, animals, the state and institutions governing them. I will suggest how this trilogy can be addressed through etho-geographical studies of urban macaques, highlighting their entanglement with three facets of urban governance: access to the city, livelihoods and public health. In conclusion, I will reflect upon the critical importance of such interdisciplinary conversations for a wider rethinking of ‘who’ poses challenges and ‘what’ constitutes the urban in contemporary India.

# Tuesday 5th November 2019, 1.00pm - Thomas Cousins, University of Oxford
Coal, custom, and constitution: worldly politics in contemporary KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

The HIV and demographic surveillance system of the Africa Health Research Initiative in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is one of the most comprehensive demographic surveillance sites in Africa. Within its geographical boundaries lies the Tendele Coal Mine, which since 2008 has been mining energy-dense anthracite for use in steel production around the world. The health surveillance site and mining operation are located on communal land under customary authority which overlaps with municipal boundaries, and is surrounded by conservation parks and timber plantations. Efforts to secure mass access to treatment are adjacent to environmental activists’ efforts to stop the mining; both are preceded by long-standing popular claims to restitution of land now under conservation.

In this presentation, I offer a description of a ‘social situation in modern Zululand’, a scene unfolding not far from Max Gluckman’s (1940) famous bridge scene, in order reflect on a set of debates on the nature of political authority, ritual efficacy, the place of the ancestors in contemporary life, as well as employment and ecology. These form the material for bringing together two concepts, worlds/worlding, on the one hand, and doubt or skepticism on the other. My hope is that these materials might provide a way to consider ordinary struggles to secure livelihoods and ‘life itself’ in the minor spaces of rural northern eastern South Africa, alongside structural transformations in political economy, from climate skepticism and coal-based job creation to an emerging politics of authoritarian populism and the re-enchantments of such figures as nature, tribe, and nation.

# Tuesday 29th October 2019, 1.00pm - Dr. Tuuli Toivonen, University of Helsinki, Digital Geography Lab
Understanding the use of green spaces using social media data – possibilities and challenges
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

National parks and other protected areas are crucial for biodiversity protection, but justification for their existence often depends on their recreational use. In the urban context, availability of parks and other green spaces are considered an important component of sustainable, healthy and socially equal urban environment. Conservation and green space management require information about the use of green spaces, but such data is generally laborious to collect. Recently, social media has been gaining increasing attention as a data source for research and planning. Social media data come, however, with biases and ethical and practical challenges. In this presentation I will 1) present the characteristics of social media data, 2) inspect their possibilities to gain understanding on when and how people use green spaces, 3) present methodological advancements for social media analytics, and finally, 4) discuss the potential and limitations of social media data analysis in understanding how people use green spaces. The presentation is based on our recent works using social media data in national parks in Finland and in South-Africa and in urban green areas in Finland.
For more, please see:

# Tuesday 22nd October 2019, 1.00pm - Maan Barua, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Affective economies and the atmospheric politics of lively capital
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

This paper is concerned with the affective economies of lively capital. Its central argument is that nonhuman life itself has become a locus of accumulation, marked by an atmospheric politics of capital: the incorporation of entire lifeworlds into regimes of generating value and an intensification of relations between life and productivity. Focusing on the Giant panda – a spectacular “charismatic” icon raising millions of dollars globally – the paper first examines junctures at which their alluring affects emerge and are manipulated to produce value. Turning to panda lifeworlds in zoos, it then shows how such value production is contingent upon affective labours nonhumans perform in captivity. Nonhuman labour, as a component of atmospheric politics, enables understanding how lively capital is produced and reproduced, a theme interrogated through a critical analysis of the commercial global circulation of pandas. The paper develops the concept of atmospheric politics – an intervention in an animal’s milieu and its affective intensities – as a means for analyzing the dynamics of lively capital. Atmospheric politics retrieves a critical political economy obscured by the concept of nonhuman charisma, and restages biopower as an apparatus and political technology of capital.

# Tuesday 15th October 2019, 1.00pm - Martin Walsh, Wolfson College
Zombie leopards, voodoo science and post-truth challenges to conservation
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Extinction denial may be a relatively new phrase, but it isn’t a new phenomenon, nor one that is necessarily linked to the denial of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. In this talk, I will discuss some of its causes and consequences in the extraordinary case of the Zanzibar leopard, which was driven to extinction because of its associations with witchcraft, but has refused to die, not least in the imagination of its former persecutors. While the reasons for scientific caution and popular belief are relatively easy to comprehend, the actions of hoaxers and fakers are harder to excuse, especially when their motivations are purely mercenary and their effects so pernicious. How should we respond to lies and fraud in our midst, not only in the context of wider battles over misinformation and disinformation in the contemporary world, but when they directly affect our research and the relationships it is built upon?

# Wednesday 19th June 2019, 1.00pm - Victoria Maguire-Rajpaul University of Oxford
The continued marginalisation of cocoa farmers: from colonialism to contemporary, climate-smart governance
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Smallholders in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana supply >60% of the world’s cocoa to the $103bn chocolate industry. Chocolate corporations rely on low-cost labour and forest land, yet decades of extensive cultivation have deforested the world’s top two cocoa-producing countries. Additionally, climate change threatens cocoa yields. Chocolate corporations respond to these challenges with ‘climate-smart’ cocoa schemes that seek to govern the conduct of Ivorian and Ghanaian smallholders across a national border with divergent histories, languages, and institutions. Despite a highly diffuse producer base comprising 1.7 million heterogeneous farmers, cocoa trade and governance are becoming highly concentrated in the headquarters of oligopolistic chocolate corporations. I discuss smallholder exclusion in ‘climate-smart’ cocoa policy negotiations through Fletcher’s neoliberal environmentality paradigm (2010, 2017), and by drawing on historical precedents to illustrate long-standing power asymmetry in cocoa value chains. Since ‘climate-smart’ cocoa schemes could perpetuate – and by some measures even exacerbate – smallholder marginalisation, I introduce alternative governance mechanisms that integrate landscape and forest management with food security goals and other pro-poor approaches.

# Tuesday 18th June 2019, 1.00pm - Alice Vadrot University of Vienna
The Politics of Marine Biodiversity Data: Global and National Policies and Practices of Monitoring the Oceans
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

In order to protect marine biodiversity and ensure that benefits are equally shared, the UN General Assembly has decided to develop a new legally binding treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Marine biodiversity data will play a central role: Firstly, in supporting intergovernmental efforts to identify, protect and monitor marine biodiversity. Secondly, in informing governments interested in particular aspects of marine biodiversity, including its economic use and its contribution to biosecurity.In examining how this data are represented and used, we will create a novel understanding of the materiality of science-policy interrelations and identify new forms of power in global environmental politics as well as develop the methodologies to do so.
This is crucial, because the capacities to develop and use data infrastructures are unequally distributed among countries and global initiatives for data sharing are significantly challenged by conflicting perceptions of who benefits from marine biodiversity research. Despite broad recognition of these challenges within natural science communities the political aspects of marine biodiversity data remain understudied. Academic debates tend to neglect the role of international politics in legitimising and authorising scientific concepts, data sources and criteria and how this influences national monitoring priorities.
The aim of this presentation is to introduce MARIPOLDATA, an ERC funded project, which aims to overcome these shortcomings by developing and applying a new multiscale methodology for grounding the analysis of science-policy interrelations in empirical research. The project collects and analyses data across different policy-levels and spatial scales by combining 1) ethnographic studies at intergovernmental negotiation sites with 2) a comparative analysis of national biodiversity monitoring policies and practices and 3) bibliometric and social network analyses and oral history interviews for mapping marine biodiversity science.

# Tuesday 4th June 2019, 1.00pm - Judith Plummer Braeckman - Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
‘To dam or not to dam?’ Issues in financing and developing large hydropower.
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Hydropower has a crucial role to play in a zero carbon future and particularly in balancing intermittent renewable electricity and strengthening the grid. Governments around the world are continuing to seek greater private sector involvement in hydropower development. This is particularly the case in developing countries where public funds are scarce with many competing priorities and there is a need to utilise the technical expertise of the private sector. However, to date it remains difficult to attract private investment in developing countries as hydropower’s risk profile is poorly understood by many banks who have only limited experience of similar investments. The circle of lack of experience, poor understanding of risk and reluctance to invest is difficult to break.

With the need for private sector investment only to increase in the future, this session will discuss and debate whether traditional models still have a role in the sector and what new innovative financing structures have a role in sustainable financing for dams. In addition, there is a need to explore what mitigation tools are available to help ensure that all stakeholders including governments, development finance institutions, lenders and developers accept a fair allocation of risk.

# Tuesday 28th May 2019, 1.00pm - Suresh Babu Ambedkar University Delhi
Nature in the City: thinking 'post' ecologies in Delhi
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

In the context of urban ecology, it has become imperative to think of the entanglements of nature with access and power, and of exclusion and accumulation. The conservation science does not seem certain anymore of what needs to be conserved and at whose cost in the cities. The bit of nature that exists, is hard to classify as wild, domesticated, horticultural or feral. The struggle of understanding nature in the city is riddled with the sheer variety of natures and the seemingly inextricable knotted-ness, in the human -non -human continuum extending into the biophysical and beyond. The comfort of doing conventional ecology, with a certainty that what we measure is nature, and urban nature can be understood with familiar toolkits is long gone. Perhaps a new framework for doing ecology in the urban is emerging, through these struggles and new optics. This discussion attempts to foreground the contested ecology of natural spaces and creatures in the context of Delhi, for comments and inputs.

# Tuesday 7th May 2019, 1.00pm - Connor Joseph Cavanagh Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Who can afford (not) to mitigate? Agency, inequality, and additionality in agricultural carbon finance
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

This seminar presentation explores the uneven geographies and political ecologies of agricultural carbon finance, understood as incipient efforts to source certified emissions reductions from mitigation activities at the landscape scale or agriculture-forest interface. In short, efforts to assemble emissions reductions in this context result in a notable convergence between longstanding concerns in the political ecology of agriculture with more recent debates about the environmental (in)justices of both climate change and its mitigation. At least since Piers Blaikie’s Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries, for instance, political ecologists have often sought to challenge prevailing explanations for alleged soil erosion or ‘land degradation’, and particularly those which appear to rely on neo-Malthusian narratives of over-population and intransigent local persistence with ostensibly sub-optimal land management practices. Simply put, project designs for agricultural carbon finance once again bring these debates squarely to the fore, given that they must explicitly articulate an explanation for land degradation – and thus potential for enhanced carbon sequestration or other emissions reductions – in order to establish the ‘additionality’ of a proposed intervention within a given project area. With reference to preliminary results from ongoing fieldwork in East Africa, the seminar presentation seeks to nuance our understanding of additionality in such contexts by foregrounding the oft-unacknowledged or disavowed significance of growing agrarian inequalities within such project designs, as well as the politics of knowledge and expertise which underpins their formulation, development, and dissemination within the nascent mitigation-industrial complex.

# Tuesday 16th April 2019, 1.00pm - Dr. Kasia Mikolajczak
Saving forests with love? Connection with nature at a tropical deforestation frontier
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Conservation has traditionally relied primarily on the ‘carrot and stick’ approaches of legal restrictions and economic incentives to motivate the protection of nature. Much less attention has been paid to intrinsic motivations for conservation, such as “loving nature”. Will this change in future? Motivated by interest in the role that feelings and emotions such as love for nature play in biodiversity conservation, Kasia’s PhD focused on psychological nature connection – the self-identification with nature and emotional attachment to the natural world. Using a quantitative survey in a farming population at an Amazonian deforestation, the research challenges persistent conventional wisdoms in conservation, including that poor people don’t care for nature beyond material benefits, and that caring about nature is dependent on knowledge of the natural world. Here she will discuss what this means for conservation in practice and some exciting questions that it opens up for future research.

# Tuesday 12th March 2019, 1.00pm - Bruce Huett, Associate member Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge
Protecting a Beyul: Harnessing the Power of Mountain Gods and Environmental Law to Protect a Sacred Landscape
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Buddhism is often considered as a religion in which there is a positive relationship with the natural world and “environment friendly”. Many of Tibetan Buddhist rituals are focused on communicating with powerful “gods of the place” located in mountains, lakes and other water sources. Hidden lands (Beyuls) are particularly sacred and also biodiversity rich. In popular belief it is important that the gods are not upset and human actions do not disturb their environment, such as carrying out transgressive activities in their “domain”.

China, as a state, is also espousing “green values” and conservation NGOs have developed over the last few years, some of which are community based.

However the situation becomes more charged when conservation interests are set against business interests and this paper explores a local initiative linked to a monastery on the Eastern fringes of the Tibetan Plateau in China where a monk recruited the community to oppose controversial mining interests in the area using ritual structures and practices to call on the mountain dieties for support.

Based on interviews with key players this presentation will describe how the local villagers were mobilised. This combined ritual activities with interventions through local government frameworks and publication of documents about the spiritual and ecological nature of the area. It will also explain how the community used the Chinese Environmental Protection Laws and Chinese Constitution to argue their case successfully.

The presentation will also place this activity in the context of similar contested conservation related activities in other parts of Tibetan areas in China.

# Wednesday 6th March 2019, 1.00pm - Professor Katherine Homewood, Dept of Anthropology, UCL
Women, wellbeing and wildlife management areas in Tanzania
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Conservation theories of change are often predicated on community-based wildlife management bringing positive developments. However, current thinking in political ecology and postcolonial intersectionality predicts adverse impacts of such interventions on marginalised people, including many rural women. This first large-scale, rigorous causal evaluation studies impacts of Tanzania’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) on married women’s livelihoods and wellbeing (937 wives in 42 villages across six WMAs and matched controls; three Northern and three Southern Tanzania sites). Married women perceive community infrastructure benefits associated with WMAs, but have limited participation, and experience major costs through resource use restrictions and fear of wildlife attacks. Poorer wives are often worse affected.

# Tuesday 26th February 2019, 1.00pm - Dr Alexander Cullen, Lecturer in Political Ecology, Geography Department, University of Cambridge.
Assembling Conservation as Territoriality in Timor-Leste.
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Political ecology research has been attentive in illuminating the processes of protected area creation as a conduit of state territorialisation. Practices of physical and institutional discipline by the state and related conservation partners are oft entangled in the production of spatial legitimacies of control. However, arguably more important in such processes is the effectual articulation of rights to landscape, which here is framed through sovereign conservation imperatives and development. Few studies have critically detailed how the variegated components of environmental knowledges are (co)-produced and assembled so as to scaffold eco-political discourses of state authority over the national margins.
This paper attempts this by examining the establishment of Timor-Leste’s first national park in the forests that previously were ground zero for guerrilla resistance against Indonesian occupation. It highlights the importance of narrative and discourse in a post-conflict arena where formalised governance is weak and resource funding low. The national park is shown to be a complex site where histories of violence, livelihoods, national identity and neoliberal development intersect with new “eco-logical” reasoning. However, by unpacking the different discursive components of Timorese conservation control, it is shown that they conceal serious contradictions which work to undo the spatial authority state conservation seeks to make.

# Tuesday 12th February 2019, 1.00pm - Adam Runacres, UCL
Engaging Conservation: Forest-Employed Villagers and Intervention Bureaucracies in Central India
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Social science studies of Indian conservation have done well to expose the myriad conflicts between local people and conservation authorities, highlighting the realities of crop and livestock depredation, village relocation or interference in local forest-dependent livelihoods.
Panna Tiger Reserve is no exception, where a critical tiger habitat, rich in forest and mineral resources, was brought back from the local extinction of the tiger population; a tense context for both villagers living around the reserve and the officers and officials managing and protecting it. While often pitted against each other, my research has focused on the interrelationships between these groups. The village and the forest should not be seen as always already monolithic entities perpetually in conflict, but instead as multiple groups entangled in complicated relationships, situated in local socio-political contexts. In many ways, locally-employed forest workers and safari guides are at the heart of these relationships, embroiled in the simultaneous dramas of both village and conservation life.
They provide an excellent case study of how village-forest relations unfold and are negotiated, what that reveals about the character of conservation authority and intervention in
this particular landscape, its inconsistencies and ambiguities, and how competing vulnerabilities speak to broader issues concerning rural citizens and the Indian state.

# Tuesday 29th January 2019, 1.00pm - Dr Helen Curry, University of Cambridge
Endangered genes and the International Seed Bank: conserving crop diversity after the Green Revolution
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

In this talk I will explore the history of efforts to conserve genetic diversity in crop plants, focusing on a pivotal moment in the early 1970s when the perceived endangerment of this diversity reached new heights. The late 1960s saw a succession of “high yielding varieties”, especially of wheat and rice, sweep across regions of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. This process was assumed to entail the rapid displacement, and potentially irrecoverable loss, of landraces (local varieties) of those same crops and all the genetic potential they contained within them. Although early conservation strategizing focused on the unification of scattered and mostly dysfunctional national and regional seed banks into an international operation with strict oversight, competing visions of conservation followed in rapid succession. Here I elaborate briefly on three alternative instruments proposed in the 1970s: data generation, community seed banks, and participatory breeding. As becomes apparent in the comparison, these varied approaches assumed different vulnerabilities of and threats to crop diversity.

# Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 1.00pm - Ajay Rastogi, Director of the Foundation for Contemplation of Nature based in Central Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India.
Resilient Leadership: Place-Based Learning for Sustainable Transformation.
Venue: Hardy Building 101 (first floor), Downing Site, Cambridge

Nature conservation can’t wait! Economic Development can’t wait either. So, we put economic values to elements of nature. This is not just a scientific enterprise but also hugely political. Could there be plausible ways to reconcile diverse objectives into channels of enterprises that could
sustain the ecology and the economics of a place. Many experiences are showing the way forward across the global canvass. We are going to share a place based education module that has evolved for university students and is getting popular across the world. Its run by village women self help
group in association with Foundation for Contemplation of Nature in the Central Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India.

The talk will cover the 3 pillars of the module: Dignity of Physical work, Interdependence and Interconnectedness. What are the practices that are built around these principles and how they help instil ‘Critical Awareness’ in the participants? What constitutes the approach of Contemplation of Nature, the science and the practice? How mindfulness compliments student learning outcome in a way that helps them carry the lessons further in their working life. How they view ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ which are the main driving forces in pursuit of economic development and the choices
they make now and in future.

# Tuesday 11th December 2018, 1.00pm - Bram Büscher, Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University
Deadly Truths and Lively Tensions: Saving Nature in the Era of Post-Truth and Platform Capitalism
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Geography Department, Cambridge

The post-truth conundrum presents an acute challenge to environmental conservation: how to share environmental facts in an era where the value of truth is questioned like never before? The answer, for many conservationists, is to share the truth about nature more vigorously than ever before, especially through new media platforms. In this paper I follow them as they they creatively struggle to do so. By developing an understanding of post-truth as an expression of power under platform capitalism, I argue this this strategy is contradictory, even deadly, but harbors lively theoretical tensions that deserve unpacking. Doing so not only has important implications for understanding nature-culture dualism, agency and ‘saving’ nature, it implores us to reconsider the importance of searching for truth as part of our ecological politics. I conclude by arguing for a conceptual move towards ‘dialectical entanglements’ in order to move beyond problematic tendencies in much theory in nature-society geography, political ecology and beyond.

Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University, The Netherlands and holds visiting positions at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies of the University of Johannesburg and the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. Between 2008 and 2015, he was Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development at the Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, the Netherlands.

# Tuesday 27th November 2018, 1.00pm - Daniela Sanchez-Lopez, University of Cambridge
From a white desert to a strategic resource: history of the commodification of the Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

The Uyuni salt flat (Salar de Uyuni) is located in the Bolivian high plateau, is considered to be a natural wonder and the largest lithium deposit in the world. This landscape, once known as the white desert, nowadays has become a strategic space and a fiscal reserve for an ambitious and unpresented state-owned mining project for extracting and industrializing lithium carbonate. In this presentation, I seek to examine under what conditions the Uyuni salt flat has been commodified over the past 40 years (both under a neoliberal and post-neoliberal regimes), the discursive elements behind this transformation and the cultural impacts on the communities surrounding the salt flat.

Keywords: lithium, governance, post-neoliberalism

# Tuesday 20th November 2018, 12.00am - Bina Agarwal, Professor of Development Economics and Environment University of Manchester
Time and title to be confirmed. This talk will be held in conjunction with Cambridge University India Society (CUIS) and the Cambridge Society For Economic Pluralism (CSEP)
Inheritance law and the uniform civil code in India
Venue: To be confirmed

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 13th November 2018, 1.00pm - Dr Jacob Phelps, Lecturer in Tropical Environmental Change and Policy, Lancaster University
Institutionalising environmental values and valuation into policy
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Economic valuation of ecosystem goods and services is increasingly embedded in environmental policy. However, despite broad claims of policy-relevance, there is widespread frustration that valuation tools have not demonstrably improved environmental outcomes. Moreover, there is concern that valuation tools often fail to meaningfully reflect societal and environmental values. This talk will argue that this is, in part, because a tendency to overlook the mechanics of how valuation tools and data are embedded into the institutions by bureaucrats that mediate valuation data and decision-making. I will draw on examples of by 7 national agencies in Indonesia and consider the various challenges that arise when environmental economics hit the realities of government bureaucracy. My talk will take particular interest in the under-explored potential for valuation to better inform legal proceedings, notably through civil liability for environmental harm. This space has unique potential to lever mainstream economic valuation tools in ways that better align with the interests of political ecologists and efforts to create meaningful social and environmental change.

# Tuesday 6th November 2018, 1.00pm - Peadar Brehony, University of Cambridge
Could ‘dark logic’ help to avoid causing harm in conservation interventions?
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Although conservation interventions are intended to improve our relations with nature and rarely set out to cause harm to people, this is not always the case. While there continue to be numerous assessments of the negative social impacts of conservation interventions after they have been implemented, there are few frameworks which help to avoid such situations.

I will begin this presentation by sharing some well-documented cases of harm caused by conservation interventions. Secondly, I will suggest that conservation interventions should thoroughly examine potential harms to people, and the underlying mechanisms of these, before they begin. I will propose the idea of ‘dark logic’ models to help guide such evaluations of potential harms and their underlying mechanisms. Lastly, I will use ‘dark logic’ to evaluate how harm to people might have been avoided in the conservation interventions presented, and what this might mean for future conservation interventions.

# Tuesday 30th October 2018, 1.00pm - Professor Bhaskar Vira, University of Cambridge
Discussion of chapters from Steven Pinker's book "Enlightenment Now"
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress is a 2018 book written by cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. It uses statistics to argue that health, prosperity, safety, peace, and happiness are on the rise, both in the West and worldwide. It attributes these positive outcomes to Enlightenment values such as reason, science, and humanism.

A discussion session led by the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Insitute Director Professor Bhaskar Vira, will take a Political Ecology approach to dissect key chapters in the book.

An extract is below:

“A Babylonian in 1750 BCE would have had to labor fifty hours to spend one hour reading his cuneiform tablets by a sesame-oil lamp. In 1800, an Englishman had to toil for six hours to burn a tallow candle for an hour. (Imagine planning your family budget around that—you might settle for darkness.) In 1880, you’d need to work fifteen minutes to burn a kerosene lamp for an hour; in 1950, eight seconds for the same hour from an incandescent bulb; and in 1994, a half-second for the same hour from a compact fluorescent bulb—a 43,000-fold leap in affordability in two centuries. And the progress wasn’t finished: Nordhaus published his article before LED bulbs flooded the market. Soon, cheap, solar-powered LED lamps will transform the lives of the more than one billion people without access to electricity, allowing them to read the news or do their homework without huddling around an oil drum filled with burning garbage.”

# Wednesday 24th October 2018, 1.00pm - Murat Arsel, Murat Arsel, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam
Note this talk will be held on a Wednesday, while ordinarily the Political Ecology talks are on a Tuesday.
Bombarding with data? Drones, oil extraction and environmental justice in the Amazon
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography

With falling prices and improving technology, drones have gone mainstream. Their use is no longer limited to barely acknowledged military missions. In addition to becoming yet another fashionable gadget for affluent consumers, they have found a variety of uses around the world for progressive causes. This presentation focuses on one such example, the deployment of drones (together with other ‘frugal but advanced’ hardware and software) to enhance community-based environmental monitoring of the impacts of oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It will seek to answer two related questions: What types of epistemological assumptions and implications accompany the coupling of ‘advanced technologies’ with indigenous knowledge? To what extent can such combinations help dismantle existing structural inequalities between affected communities on the one side and corporations and the state on the other?

# Tuesday 16th October 2018, 1.00pm - Jose Chambers
Group discussion of decolonising conservation – based on a video of Paige West’s plenary session at this year’s Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) conference
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

At the biannual Political Ecology Network conference, Paige West gave a provoking and thoughtful presentation on decolonising conservation. This group will discuss her plenary speech (citation below) which can be read here: and viewed here:

Josie Chambers will reflect on Paige’s plenary, before a group discussion. Please come even if you were not able to view the plenary in advance, but you may get more out of the discussion if you have seen the material.

West, Paige and John Aini 2018. Critical Approaches to Dispossession in the Melanesian Pacific: Conservation, Voice, and Collaboration. Keynote Lecture, POLLEN 2018 Political Ecology Network Biennial Conference, 19 – 22 June, Oslo, Norway.

# Monday 8th October 2018, 1.00pm - Earl Harper, University of Bristol
Note this talk is unusually on a Monday, thereafter unless otherwise specified, PE talks will be on a Tuesday 1-2pm. As this is the first session of term, there will be a short introduction at the beginning.
The production of an urban post-political ecology: Or, is the apocalypse really such a good thing?
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Since the early 2000s and the arrival of the new millennium, Apocalyptic discourse seems to permeate a great deal of public, private and academic culture. From the proliferation of films depicting heroes battling the end of all things through to the seemingly irresistible drive towards cultural and planetary annihilation heralded by the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, climate change, migrant/refugee crises and plastic straws. I take the apocalypse as a starting point to understand how ‘the urban’, broadly conceived, and radical democracy respond to an environmental pressure, such as climate change. The literature appears divided, typified by Zizek’s claim the apocalypse is necessary for revolutionary politics as it makes explicit currently disavowed forms of inequality and power, and Swyngedouw’s argument that the Apocalypse, through the production of a terrifyingly catastrophic lack of future, leads to the production of a post-politics of technomanagerialism. This presentation does not pretend to offer an way out of this stalemate, but rather plays with the role of Political Ecology in understanding Post-Politics and the urban in the Anthropocene. Utilising visual semiotics and Lacanian psychoanalysis, I will explore my fieldsite of Elephant & Castle, South London, and the literature to explore the basis for an ‘Urban Post-Political Ecology’.

# Tuesday 19th June 2018, 1.00pm - Karen Wong-Perez, University of Cambridge
Local perceptions of Justice and Natural Resources in a Mexican fishing community
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 12th June 2018, 1.00pm - Josie Chambers, University of Cambridge
Transforming global “win-win” discourse
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Transforming global “win-win” discourse

Conservation projects increasingly employ particular “win-win” discourses to justify their work despite widespread empirical accounts of complex trade-offs and conflicts at local sites. Drawing on political ecology and social science concepts and literature, and detailed empirical fieldwork in northeast Peru, I demonstrate how projects framed as “win-wins” for people and nature are built around narratives that frame challenges, solutions and measures of success in internally coherent ways. These narratives are set within globally circulating discourses through which they are developed, strengthened and replicated as stories of “success”, even in the absence of any evidence that they have achieved their intended objectives on the ground in Peru. The result is the accumulation of global capital for a relatively narrow conservation and development problem-solution framework that fundamentally does not question power relations of the broader political economy, and at the same time, guarantees the continued (re)production of contradictory project effects. To explore possibilities for more transformative discourse, politics and models for socio-ecological governance, I attempt to first map out the power relations which sustain these dominant “win-win” discourses and linked intervention models, and then consider potential leverage points to disrupt and reconfigure these power relations.

# Tuesday 5th June 2018, 1.00pm - Jessica Hope, University of Bristol
Assemblages for sustainable development: omissions and transformations in Bolivia
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

In this paper, I analyse how global development NGOs treat contentious politics in Bolivia, as the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals are being constituted. In Bolivia, progressive environmental policies (seen in reconceptualising development as Vivir Bien/ Buen Vivir and awarding rights to nature) and increased political rights for indigenous groups (seen in political autonomy over territories and inclusion into a reworked state) have been curtailed and undermined by increasingly aggressive extractive frontiers, particularly in lowland, Amazonian areas. In 2015, the government announced plans to become the energy heart of Latin America, adding hydropower and fracking sites to areas contracted for hydrocarbon extraction. Once again, these cross into, or sit alongside, indigenous territories and conservation areas and bring roads and other infrastructure. Oppositional contentious politics find discourses of progressive change appropriated by the government and face criminalisation and threats in the face of claims for development and the environment.

In this context, I interrogate the environmental remit of the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and question the extent to which they bring about socio-environmental transformation. I argue that assemblage theory is a productive way to investigate and make sense of the (re)emergent sustainability agenda (Delanda 2006), addressing the vague content of the term, as well as questions of power, control and transformation. I show that despite evidence that social movement and contentious politics are crucial for informing understandings of what is (or is not) sustainable (Scheidel et al 2017) and vital for transforming hegemonic and destructive patterns of resource use and ownership (Adams 2008), SDG assemblages can too easily side-step and ignore unsustainable logics of development by failing to include or support contentious politics. Finally, I argue that in Bolivia the SDGs are being disciplined by the state’s extractive project and that the sustainable development agenda remains remarkably unchanged by Bolivia’s national, regional or local environmental politics.

# Tuesday 29th May 2018, 1.00pm - Elia Apostolopoulou,University of Cambridge
Biodiversity offsetting, urbanization and the right to nature
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

In this talk, I seek to offer a Marxist historical-geographical analysis of biodiversity offsetting policy in England, and its emergence in the context of the global economic crisis, and government aspirations for large-scale urban development projects. By paying attention to the interplay between offsetting, urbanization and the neoliberal reconstruction of conservation, my aim is to shift the focus of the neoliberal conservation literature from the role of offsets as ecological ‘commodities’ to the way offsetting is used to support the production of space(s), place(s) and nature(s). By drawing on empirical work in the UK, and specifically on two controversial housing developments in South East (Lodge Hill) and in North East (North Tyneside) England, I will highlight the historically specific interactions and socio-economic and political contexts that explain why and when biodiversity offsetting is selected as the appropriate policy to resolve conservation-development conflicts. I conclude that conflicts around the use of space and nature involve fundamentally political questions, and must be addressed in political terms by identifying the strategies through which a more egalitarian mode of democratically producing socially and environmentally just natures can be achieved.

# Tuesday 22nd May 2018, 1.00pm - Johanna Lindahl, Intl. Livestock Research Institute, Uppsala University
Urban livestock keeping in Hanoi: policies, risks and benefits
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

J Lindahl, LT Pham, TT Nguyen, F Jakobsen, HV Nguyen

Urbanization does not only mean that more people move to cities, they also bring a demand for more food, and particularly the growing middle-income classes desire animal products. The reason why people in cities keep livestock may vary; some have always kept animals and either bring them or obtain new in the cities. For others, it may be a way of securing extra incomes, either to meet the growing demands of the city or to sustain their own families.
Urban livestock typically follow the trend of the region as a whole: in Kenya, ruminants predominates both in cities and in pastoral areas, whereas the upsurge of pig production in Vietnam means that pigs are also important in cities. This paper focuses on describing the urban livestock keeping in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
Out of 30 districts in Hanoi city, 5 does not have any livestock reported at all, and these are the 5 districts with the highest human density, more than 20,000 humans per km2. The rest of the districts all have less than 10,000 humans per km2, but these districts may have as many as 1,600 pigs or 14,000 poultry per km2. There are increasing regulations prohibiting livestock keeping in the most central districts, which is reflected in the reporting, but this also causes a risk of that livestock in those districts are not reported. The trend of livestock farms is however not decreasing, and between 2014 and 2015, the number increased according to the Sub-Department of Animal Health (Sub-DAH) of Hanoi.
While there is regular vector spraying in the city, there is no knowledge about how vector presence is affected by livestock keeping. Leptospira is recognized as an important zoonosis, but no rodent control is organized. Rabies is one of the priority diseases, and the Sub-DAH works on eradicating it in certain urban districts. However, extensive trade of dogs and other livestock make disease control difficult. In conclusion, urban livestock in Hanoi is there to stay and we need more data on its contribution to public health risks for effective management.

# Tuesday 15th May 2018, 12.00pm - Bhaskar Vira, University of Cambridge
Session on the Green Economy: How does politics and economics interact with respect to the environment?
Venue: Alison Richard’s Building, S1, Sidgwick Site

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 8th May 2018, 1.00pm - Julie Zaehringer, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern
Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation
Venue: Manatee Room, David Attenborough Building (DAB)

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 1st May 2018, 1.00pm - Adrian Gonzalez, Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London
The political ecology of voice (PEV) of oil company-community relations in Peru’s Loreto Region
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

This paper studies resource extraction industry-community engagement through a focus on the ability and willingness of local citizens to report environmental pollution incidents. This is conducted through the political ecology of voice (PEV) theoretical framework which comprises investigation into economic, political, social and geographical factors over an explicit period and their impact on different actors’ voices. The case-study was centred around Peru’s Loreto Region, the state-run oil company Petroperu and the interview testimonies of two communities affected by Petroperu pollution incidents. This PEV paper finds that the community relationships are strictly controlled by Petroperu who, wherever possible, avoid citizen dialogue and engagement which raises significant difficulties for citizens wishing to report environmental contamination events. However, through deliberate threats to their provision of important community economic and development opportunities, Petroperu generated a climate of fear which sought to silence the willingness of citizens to report contamination events or the company’s poor and abusive post-spill response. This suppression of voice was only overcome through the actions of strong, independent citizens, and the accessibility to exterior community-based organisations. However, the latter’s involvement does not always outweigh the powerful influence which companies like Petroperu wield over citizens and their voice.

# Tuesday 13th March 2018, 1.00pm - Bram Buscher
To be confirmed
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre (SLT), Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 6th March 2018, 1.00pm - Jess Hope
To be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 27th February 2018, 1.00pm - Elia Apostolopoulou, University of Cambridge
Biodiversity offsetting and the construction of "Equivalent natures": A Marxist critique
Venue: HB101, Sir William Hardy Building Seminar Room, Department of Geography

In this paper we explore the logic of biodiversity offsetting, focusing on its core promise: the production of ‘equivalent natures’. We show how the construction of equivalence unravels the environmental contradictions of capitalism by exploring how and why it is achieved, and its profound implications for nature-society dialectics. We focus on the construction of an ecological equivalence between ecosystems, the construction of ecological credits that are considered equivalent in monetary terms, and, finally, the construction of an equivalence between places. The existing critical literature, in some cases implicitly and unwittingly, assumes that biodiversity offsetting creates value. In contrast to this argument, we apply Marx’s labour theory of value to conclude that in the majority of instances offsetting does not create value, rather it is an instance of rent. We also draw on Marxist analyses on the production of nature and place to show that biodiversity offsetting radically rescripts nature as placeless, obscuring the fact that it facilitates the production of space, place, and nature according to the interests of capital while emphasizing that at the core of offsetting lie social struggles over rights and access to land and nature. Biodiversity offsetting’s dystopian vision for the future makes it an important focus for all critical scholars seeking to understand and challenge the contradictions of the capitalist production of nature.

# Tuesday 20th February 2018, 1.00pm - Barnaby Dye, University of Oxford
The Politics of Dam Resurgence: Exclusion and Inclusion of Socio-Ecological Impacts From Three Case Studies
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Following a decade that saw a near cessation in dam building across the world, and particularly in Africa, dams are back on the agenda with projects and funding widespread. This phenomenon is controversial because dams’ social and environmental costs, economic effectiveness and longevity issues have been well evidenced. Thus, understanding the reasons for this surprising trend is timely, representing ground-breaking research considering one of the latest trends in the political ecology of development in Africa.

The talk asserts that justifying rationales for dams, the decision-making and knowledge production involved in their implementation, are influenced by the high modernist development ideology that arguably reached its zenith in the 1950s-1970s. I argue that a bricolage of this ideology is present in the contemporary dam-building resurgence, meaning that many of high-modernisms underlying logics, such as being expert-centric, top-down and non-participatory, persist alongside reforms in having socio-environmental assessment and a degree of compensation. This ‘high modernist bricolage’ remains crucial in dam planning, often to detrimental effect on people and the environment. The resurgence in dams is thus significant. It demonstrates the winners and losers entailed by a dam surge and the key ideologies shaping international development trends

# Tuesday 13th February 2018, 1.00pm - Lewis Daly
The Shaman is the White Man's Computer": The interaction of shamanism and conservation in Amazonian Guyana
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 6th February 2018, 1.00pm - Joe Hawes
Reflecting on success and failure in community-based conservation: a case study from Western Amazonia
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Wednesday 31st January 2018, 1.00pm - Adam Branch, University of Cambridge
Charcoal Power: Woodfuels and Political Violence in Uganda
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 1.00pm - Rachel Carmenta, University of Cambridge
Perceptions across scales of governance and the Indonesian peatland fires
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Peatland fire management is a leading global environmental challenge and extensive peatfires in Indonesia have become a domestic and international priority, spurring intensely contentious debates, policies and legal proceedings. Previous fire management interventions (FMI) are numerous yet have suffered widespread implementation failures.

Distinct stakeholder groups are involved in the peat fire complex, involving particular relationships with the flows of benefits and burdens that accrue from intentional and escaped fires. The perceptions of stakeholders often condition behaviour, compliance and engagement in ways that impact environmental outcomes. Against this backdrop, our manuscript provides a thematically and methodologically novel analysis of how diverse stakeholders, from local farmers to international policy makers, perceive peatland fires in terms of, i) how they prioritize the associated benefits and burdens, and ii) the perceived effectiveness of FMI. We adopt an innovative application of Q method to provide needed insights that serve to quantify the areas of contention and consensus that exist among the stakeholders and their multi-dimensional perspectives.

# Tuesday 28th November 2017, 1.00pm - Bill Adams, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Conservation by Algorithm
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 21st November 2017, 1.00pm - Chris Sandbrook, Department of Geography, University of CAmbridge
What do conservationists believe about people, nature and markets?
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Recent years have seen heated debates within the conservation community about why, what and how to conserve. These have tended to be dominated by a small number of (mostly) white, western men occupying powerful positions. The Future of Conservation survey set out to discover what the wider community of conservationists felt about the issues under debate. With nearly 9,000 respondents, it is the largest ever survey of the conservation community, and provides some startling results that challenge conventional thinking. In this seminar, Chris Sandbrook will outline the contours of current conservation debates, provide an early insight into the unpublished findings of the survey, and discuss their implications for the conservation movement. (If you would like to take the survey yourself, it is at

# Tuesday 14th November 2017, 1.00pm - Professor Camilla Toulmin, Lancaster University and iied
Scarce land, diverse livelihoods - Tracking 35 years of change in central Mali
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Camilla’s work documents change over 35 years in a small mud village in central Mali. Like much of the Sahel, the village of Dlonguebougou and the wider area is usually seen by government and outsiders as poor and degraded. But her study shows remarkable growth and investment over the last 35 years. Today, for example the combined assets of Dlonguebougou households are worth more than $600,000, a sum which has multiplied by 5 since 1980 when she first went there. Shops, solar panels and motorbikes have become the “must have” assets, alongside oxen plough-teams, donkey carts and wells. Like many other communities in this dry zone, people are dealing with multiple and diverse risks. Rainfall, harvests, illness, political shocks and market shifts all make it difficult to plan and manage the family’s fortunes. For example, the recent arrival of a large Chinese sugar-cane plantation has had multiple damaging impacts on this region, with hundreds of farmers evicted from their land now seeking cultivation space around Dlonguebougou. But the powerful combination of cooperation and competition you find in this and neighbouring communities helps explain their ability to manage risks and accumulate capital. However, not everyone does well. She shows the vital role of large domestic groups in providing collective insurance to its members.
This talk presents: History of the village, and the purpose of this study; Land, rainfall and farming system; People and households; Investments and wealth; changes in attitudes and values; migration patterns; and finally, important activities to follow up including what the new Land Law can offer to secure local land rights, and engagement strategies with the Chinese sugarcane plantation.

# Tuesday 31st October 2017, 1.00pm - Raghnild Freng Dale
Petroleum in the Norwegian Arctic: Local content or dreams at sea?
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 24th October 2017, 1.00pm - Sipke Shaughnessy
Drought, Politics or Historical Injustice? Reflections on fieldwork during the 2017 'Laikipia crisis’ in Kenya ?
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 17th October 2017, 1.00pm - Meredith Keller
Multilevel Governance Theory in Practice: How Converging Models Explain Urban Climate Change Mitigation Policy in Bristol
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 10th October 2017, 1.00pm - Louise Carver
Securing the ‘value of nature’? Biodiversity offsetting in England and the implications for conservation policy at home and abroad
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Policy and business rhetoric over the need to ‘value’ nature has animated recent efforts by the UK Government to introduce mechanisms for biodiversity offsetting (BDO) into English land planning systems. Biodiversity offsetting was officially trialled in England by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through a 2-year pilot study between 2012-2014. While it was unfeasible for Government to adopt the approach formally, BDO has continued to proliferate across numerous local government and commercial contexts in a semi-voluntary, largely un-regulated capacity.

Biodiversity offsetting seeks compensation for habitat loss associated with infrastructure and residential development through securing gains for losses ‘in a measurable way’. As such BDO is frequently positioned as a win-win solution that reconciles economic development and conservation through delivering the ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity ‘values’. Drawing from a 30-month fieldwork engagement with the English BDO government pilot study, this paper investigates the processes that performatively shape the ‘value of nature’ through a valuation technology such as biodiversity offsetting. It will discuss the various implications of the approach for conservation policy and science as well as critically reflecting on the discourse around win-wins in conservation policy, forecast through this nascent move towards ‘valuing’ biodiversity.

# Tuesday 12th September 2017, 1.00pm - Andrew McGregor, Geography and Planning, Macquarie University
Prefigurative politics and plant-based food in the Anthropocene: quiet activism within Sydney's foodscapes
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

The livestock industry, sprawling over one third of the earth’s non-ice terrestrial surface, is a key driver of planetary change. Various propositions are being assembled as to how societies should respond to growing awareness that current patterns of growing global meat consumption are unsustainable – ranging from more intensive farming, caring consumption, in vitro meat production, to abandoning livestock production altogether. In this paper we explore each of these propositions before focusing on the latter proposition in the context of Australia – where established political economies and cultural norms have resulted in one of the world’s highest per capita rates of meat consumption. In the absence of any formal political action to address meat consumption we approach the production and promotion of plant-based food as a type of prefigurative politics in which proponents employ a variety of strategies that assemble skills, knowledges and materials oriented at plant-based food futures. Our research, based on a city wide audit of plant-based food businesses, initiatives and proponents, reveals a growing, dynamic and innovative community employing a quiet activism oriented at contesting meat cultures. We focus on the visceral politics employed by plant-based food makers and the supportive strategies assembled by plant-based food communities. We also consider some of the apprehensions within this community in regards to class, gender, access and the policing of particular identities. The paper concludes with a discussion on the potential and problems facing plant-based food proponents wanting to contribute to broader socioecological change.

# Tuesday 6th June 2017, 1.00pm - Josie Chambers
The politics creating a mismatch between conservation project win-win logics and local realities in Peru
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 30th May 2017, 1.00pm - Marcus Nyman
Discerning the food from the trees
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 1.00pm - Rogelio Luque Lora
Human bycatch from camera traps
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 16th May 2017, 1.00pm - Anca Serban
Evaluating the socioeconomic and ecological implications of land use interventions using agent-based modelling
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Can food security be guaranteed for all, while also shrinking agriculture’s environmental footprint? Some argue that an important component for achieving this balance will require a landscape where the land for nature and agriculture are segregated (land-sparing), while others argue that integration of the two (land-sharing) is a better option. Assessments of land-sharing, land-sparing have largely failed to assess the broader socio-economic impacts of their implementation. Using role-playing games and agent-based model three land-sharing land-sparing scenarios were tested in rural India and assessed for their comparative merits. Benefits were reported under both strategies but with different implications for local livelihoods.

# Tuesday 9th May 2017, 1.00pm - Jasper Montana
Biodiversity Science and strategy in IPBES
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 2nd May 2017, 1.00pm - Ben Neimark
Who are the Eco-precariat?: Theorizing Labour & Work in an Environmental Service-based economy
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 25th April 2017, 1.00pm - Eszter Kovacs
Subsidies and state corruption in Eastern Europe
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Wednesday 7th December 2016, 12.30pm - Sarah Bracking
The post-carbon world? the role of financial derivatives in the regime of environmental management
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 29th November 2016, 1.00pm - Liz Watson
Spaces of pastoralism and conservation in northern Kenya
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 1.00pm - Emma Mawdsley
Financialisation for Development? Accelerating financialising logics, narratives and partnerships
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 15th November 2016, 1.00pm - Susan Buckingham
URBAN-WASTE: rubbish, tourism and gender in Europe
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 8th November 2016, 1.00pm - Brett Matulis
Digital Environmental Politics and the New Geographies of Anonymous Online Power
Venue: Seminar Room

As the human encounter with nature takes place in an increasingly digitally-mediated world, we must work to understand environmental politics in the context of digital activism. Already social media and other means of virtual discourse are re-shaping conservation and environmental governance. The “surface web” is now ubiquitous in environmental campaigning and an essential means of organising political action. Critiques of new-media-based social movements, however, have suggested that digital activism is too deeply embedded in the ideologies of neoliberalism – and online identity is too deeply exploited under cognitive capitalism – for it to foster genuinely transformative politics. In light of this important critique, digital activists have been taking to the so-called “darknet” (an underworld of technologically untraceable communication) to engage in collective political activism. In this talk, I explore anonymous environmental activism coordinated on the darknet and work to conceptualise this growing political arena. In addition, I consider how these technologies may be producing new spatialities of power wherein political actions can be coordinated and carried out from unknown and unfixed geographic locations simply by connecting to computer networks and exploiting vulnerabilities in network security.

# Tuesday 1st November 2016, 1.00pm - Chris Sandbrook
Discussion of Bruce Braun chapter "From critique to experiment: rethinking political ecology for the anthropocene"
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 25th October 2016, 1.00pm - Alice Vadrot
IPBES between Theory and Practice: How weighted concepts travel
Venue: Seminar Room

The aim of this paper is twofold: Firstly, it wishes to explore the emergence of the term “biocultural diversity” and its political implications in international biodiversity politics and policies. Secondly, by doing so, it aims to understand the particularities of international science-policy interfacing bodies in contemporary environmental politics through an exploration of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and its fourth Plenary held in February 2016. Our analysis starts with the observation that the use of particular terms in multilateral negotiations activates a particular constellation of reactions from the participants present, reigniting past struggles and contestations. By analysing the way in which the term “biocultural diversity” structured the reactions of delegates negotiating the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the pollination assessment of the IPBES, we want to explore how particular semi-scientific terms in international environmental governance de-stabilise and re-stabilise the distribution of argumentative power in particular ways. In order to theoretically ground this observation, we introduce the notion of “weighted concepts”, which the paper further elaborates as a methodological innovation in Global Environmental Policy.

# Tuesday 18th October 2016, 1.00pm - Rob Small
Social Assessment of Protected Areas
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 11th October 2016, 1.00pm - Nicholas Wilkinson
An analysis of proposals to engage local people in conservation of the Vietnamese Saola (and whether it could use some more political ecology)
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Thursday 10th March 2016, 1.00pm - Professor Erik Gomez-Baggethun (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NMBU)
Commons and commodities: Struggles for hegemony in environmental governance
Venue: Room 206, Sir William Hardy Building

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 8th March 2016, 1.00pm - Jasper Montana (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
Gene editing for conservation: a desirable future?
Venue: Seminar Room

The potential to eradicate entire populations of invasive species or confer disease immunity on endangered species might seem like the holy grail for environmental managers. In fact, given the capability, it may even be perceived as a moral duty for human kind. Advances in science and technology through CRISPR-based gene-editing bring this future closer to our reach, yet beyond the materiality of laboratory experiments, this future also involves the interplay of imagination and collective building that surrounds the process of publicly deliberating the role of science and technology in conservation and the human place in nature. This discussion-based seminar introduces the concept of Sociotechnical Imaginaries, developed by Sheila Jasanoff at the Harvard Kennedy School where I have recently been a Visiting Research Fellow, and invites a discussion of gene-editing within a Science and Technology Studies and Political Ecology framework as a technology for shaping conservation futures.

# Tuesday 1st March 2016, 1.00pm - Christine Noe (University of Dar es Salaam)
Encountering the global and local on space: Uranium, wildlife and people in Southern Tanzania
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 23rd February 2016, 1.00pm - Bruce Huett
Tibetan Pastoralists’ Vulnerability to Climate Change
Venue: Seminar Room

Discussion of the paper “Tibetan Pastoralists’ Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Political Ecology Analysis of Snowstorm Coping Capacity” by
Emily T. Yeh & Yonten Nyima & Kelly A. Hopping & Julia A. Klein in Human Ecology February 2014 Volume 42, Issue 1 pp 61-74

# Tuesday 16th February 2016, 1.00pm - Jessica Hope
Title to be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 9th February 2016, 1.00pm - Albert Arhin (University of Cambridge)
Title to be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 26th January 2016, 1.00pm - Guiseppe Feola
Guiseppe Feola Between Change and Continuity: Peasant Institutions and Cultural Models in the Colombian Andes
Venue: Seminar Room

In the Colombian Andes, peasants have co-evolved with their environment for centuries, but it is uncertain whether traditional informal institutions and cultural models are adapting to current and possibly unprecedented economic and climatic disturbances. This study investigated institutional adaptation and the social mechanisms of institutional change or continuity in a peasant community in the Eastern Andean Cordillera. The research was informed by evolutionary theories of institutional change and based on a qualitative approach that included data collected through a focus group, oral histories, key informant interviews and observations. This study suggests that reciprocal work exchanges, festivities and gender-based divisions of roles have been disused or changed due to economic pressures, but that most informal institutions have persisted due to selective outmigration, conformist intergenerational transmission, and practices of everyday resistance. The natural model of vital energy and the traditional peasant ethos represents a ‘social attractor’ that has influenced institutional continuity. This study highlights tensions between resilience, cultural diversity, and transformation that are important in many other marginal rural locations in the Andes

# Tuesday 19th January 2016, 1.00pm - Harry Jonas
New Steps of Change: Looking Beyond Protected Areas to consider other effected area-based conservation measures
Venue: Seminar Room

n 2010, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Target 11 calls for ‘at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas’ to be conserved by way of ‘well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures’. Yet four years after their adoption, parties to the CBD and other rights- and stakeholders have not received guidance about either what kinds of arrangements do and do not constitute ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’, or how best to appropriately recognise and support them. The paper argues that without clear guidance on the issue, conservation law and policy will continue to inappropriately and/or inadequately recognise the great diversity of forms of conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their constituent elements across landscapes and seascapes, including by Indigenous peoples and local communities. In this context, and in line with calls from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the IUCN, it proposes the establishment of an IUCN Task Force to further explore the issues with a view to developing clear guidance on ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ as a means to effectively and equitably achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.

# Tuesday 1st December 2015, 1.00pm - Sunita Chaudhary
To Be Confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Thursday 26th November 2015, 1.00pm - Mari Miyamoto (Extra Session!)
State, religious institution and community: Conservation and stigmatized slaughter in pastoral societies in the Himalayas
Venue: Seminar Room

Speaker bio: Mari Miyamoto is a Newton International Fellow working at the SOAS South Asia Institute. She has analysed diverse processes of cultural interpretations of global political issues such as “democracy” as well as “environmental conservation” in people’s everyday lives. Her current interest lies in plural interpretations of “secularism” and religious integration in Bhutan as a multireligious society in the Himalaya.

Abstract: The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is known as an “environmentalist” nation that proposes 50% of the county as protected areas and has a conservation philosophy enriched by Buddhism and its teachings. However, Buddhist monasteries and monks have been in fact often conflicted with conservation policies of the government and INGOs in rural areas especially when conservation policies bring changes to pastoral villages, such as the reduction of cattle for forest protection (Miyamoto 2015).
In this presentation I will describe transforming perceptions toward animal slaughter and pastoralist communities in Himalayan Buddhist societies in relation to changing meat markets in the area and the influence of increasing Buddhist practices such as Tsetar, (the release of living things kept in captivity to gain merit), in context of the livelihood and everyday practices of people living in rural areas of Bhutan.

# Tuesday 24th November 2015, 1.00pm - Matthew Gandy
Ten years gone: urban political ecology in prospect and retrospect
Venue: Seminar Room

In this brief presentation I want to reflect on the field of urban political ecology and its current state of flux. I will suggest that there are certain material and conceptual gaps in the existing body of literature that we might refer to as the “first wave” of urban political ecology but there remains significant potential to develop new approaches that take account of different conceptions of agency, scale, and the full complexity of socio-ecological entanglements

# Wednesday 18th November 2015, 1.00pm - Christian Kull (Extra Session!)
Political Ecology of Invasive Species
Venue: SCR, St. Catherine's College

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 17th November 2015, 1.00pm - Karen Wong (University of Cambridge)
Ph.D. Presentation (1st Year Grad Forum)
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 10th November 2015, 1.00pm - Albert Arhin (University of Cambridge)
Where do ideas about conservation come from? The story of how a beach conversation became REDD+
Venue: Seminar Room

The past two decades or so have witnessed emergence of ‘new’ ideas and concepts aimed to protect the environment. These include but not limited to concepts such ecotourism, carbon offsetting, debt-for-nature swaps, ICDPs, payment for ecosystem services, CBNRM and many more. Where do these ideas come from? And how do they become popular? Political ecologists have played an important role in answering these questions by tracing the history of such ideas and how they come to achieve discursive power. This presentation, which is about the (re)emergence of the policy mechanism of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), contributes to this field of knowledge. In this presentation, I infuse the field of political ecology with insights from Science and Technological Studies (STS) to tell the story of how a beach conversation between two people about a difficulty of a World Bank loan propelled the spread of what has now become known as REDD+ in environmental governance. In particular, I trace the rise of REDD+ into mainstream global environmental policy arena with the attention to some of the actors, the storylines, the politics and the technologies that have facilitated the popularity of this mechanism as “the last chance of saving tropical forests” (Boyd, 2010: 845). I conclude by reflecting on how a combination of STS and political ecology as analytical lens can be a useful way of tracing the origins of the spread of environmental policy ideas.

# Tuesday 3rd November 2015, 1.00pm - Prof. Bill Adams
Discussion: ‘In the Nature of the Non-City: Expanded Infrastructural Networks and the Political Ecology of Planetary Urbanisation’ by Martín Arboleda
Venue: Seminar Room

This paper proposes extending Urban Political Ecology’s (UPE) ideas about the urbanisation of nature in order to include the geographical imprints of expanding, global metabolic flows of matter, energy and capital. It does so through the analysis of Huasco, a small agricultural village in northern Chile that has been overburdened with massive energy undertakings aimed at powering the operations of mines that supply raw materials to international markets. Like the sewage and technological networks that feed the life of cities, the paper argues that Huasco—as a metabolic vehicle of planetary urbanisation—has also been hidden from view, and thus the fetishisation of urban infrastructural networks initially theorised by UPE, has been ratcheted-up to the global level by the mediating powers of neoliberalising capitalism. Just as the socio-material arrangements that facilitate the smooth functioning of the modern city and household are riddled with glitches and exclusions, the paper suggests that globally up-scaled infrastructures reveal even larger contradictions that put into jeopardy the very premises upon which the ongoing commodification of nature is grounded.

# Tuesday 27th October 2015, 1.00pm - Elia Apostolopoulou
Biodiversity offsetting and the capitalist production of nature: reflections from England
Venue: Seminar Room

Biodiversity offsetting involves the balancing of biodiversity loss in one place (and at one time) by an equiva- lent biodiversity gain elsewhere (an outcome referred to as No Net Loss). The conservation science literature has chiefly addressed the extent to which biodiversity offsets can serve as a conservation tool, focusing on the technical challenges of its implementation. However, offsetting has more pro- found implications than this technical approach suggests. In this paper we introduce the concept of policy frames, and use it to identify four ways in which non-human nature and its conservation are reframed by offsetting. Firstly, off- setting reframes nature in terms of isolated biodiversity units that can be simply defined, measured and exchanged across time and space to achieve equivalence between eco- logical losses and gains. Secondly, it reframes biodiversity as lacking locational specificity, ignoring broader dimensions of place and deepening a nature–culture and nature–society divide. Thirdly, it reframes conservation as an exchange of credits implying that the value of non-human nature can be set by price. Fourthly, it ties conservation to land develop- ment and economic growth, foreshadowing and bypassing an oppositional position. We conclude that by presenting offsetting as a technical issue, the problem of biodiversity loss due to development is depoliticized. As a result the pos- sibility of opposing and challenging environmental destruc- tion is foreclosed, and a dystopian future of continued biodiversity loss is presented as the only alternative.

# Tuesday 25th November 2014, 1.00pm - Bill Adams and Chris Sandbrook
The Politics of Conservation
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 11th November 2014, 1.00pm - Judith Schleicher
Title to be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 4th November 2014, 1.00pm - Tatiana Thieme and Eszter Kovacs
Services and Slums: Rethinking Infrastructures and Provisioning across the Nexus
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 28th October 2014, 1.00pm - Jose Antonio Cortes Vazquez
A Natural Life: Beheading the political ecology of nature conservation
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 21st October 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Chris Sandbrook (University of Cambridge)
Discussion on Resilience
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 14th October 2014, 1.00pm - Jonny Hanson
Snow Leopards and the Soul: Conservation and religion in the 21st Century
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 7th October 2014, 1.00pm - Lys Alcayna-Stevens
Endemic Apes & Foreign Wealth: Conservation and Scientific Tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 30th September 2014, 1.00pm - Marta Lang
Influencing industrial facility compliance in rapidly developing countries: Provincial practices of wastewater discharge monitoring and inspection, and responses to development agency capacity building in Vietnam
Venue: Seminar Room (Department of Geography, Downing Site)

My PhD research subjects are provincial officials attempting to normalise, and generate compliance with, industrial wastewater discharge laws in four rapidly developing provinces in and around Hanoi Vietnam, where polluting production systems proliferate and non-compliance is commonplace. Fieldwork concluded in April focused on practices, procedures and planning for engagement with polluting facilities by three units (the monitoring, inspection, and environmental protection unit) of the environment department in each province. I interviewed 46 officials, and used ‘diary exercises’ alongside ‘a monitoring files exercise’ to yield examples of practice. Canadian and Japanese development agencies worked with officials in three of the four provinces until May 2013, to encourage more strategic and consistent polluter inspections through adoption of protocols, information recording formats (databases and forms) and prioritisation criteria. I gathered extensive development agency documentation and interviewed consultants.

I am now piloting a data coding framework emerging out of theoretical ideas about organisations drawn from: sociological institutionalism and performativity theory, the communities of practice literature on how practice evolves within teams (and how it can be influenced), and thinking around how material artefacts (such as standard operating procedures and forms) shape practice. The corresponding analytical approach treats the articulation of multiple logics, partial uptake of structuring artefacts, divergence from standard procedures and un-used sections of forms, as particularly instructive. As responses to the development assistance, officials’ conceptions of ‘room for improvement’, what is taken up as useful, and what they do ‘their way’ will be explored. This talk aims to spark discussion on the theory underpinning this approach.

# Tuesday 10th June 2014, 1.00pm - Eric Alms (University of Zürich)
Political ecology of nature conservation and sustainable tourism in Chinese conservation areas
Venue: HB101

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 3rd June 2014, 1.00pm - Prof. Tim Bayliss-Smith
Landesque capital: chaotic concept, or useful step towards understanding the value of enhanced nature?
Venue: HB206

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 27th May 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Maan Barua, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Bio-geo-graphy: landscape, dwelling and the political ecology of human-animal relations
Venue: Seminar Room

The relation between the bio and the geo has been amongst geography’s most enduring concerns. This paper contributes to ongoing attempts in human geography to politicize the dynamics and distribution of life. Drawing upon postcolonial environmental history, animal ecology and more-than-human geography, the paper examines how humans and elephants cohabit with and against the grain of cartographic design. Through fieldwork in northeast India, it develops a ‘dwelt political ecology’ that reanimates landscape as a dwelt achievement whilst remaining sensitive to postcolonial histories and subaltern concerns. The paper conceptualizes and deploys a methodology of ‘tracking’ through which archival material, elephant ecology and voices of the marginalized can be integrated and mapped. It concludes by discussing the implications of this work for fostering new conversations between more-than-human geography and subaltern political ecology.

# Tuesday 20th May 2014, 1.00pm - Eneko Garmendia, Ph.D.
Bridging the gap between social-metabolism and ecological debt: the case of a northern open economy
Venue: Seminar Room

Globalization of the world economy has increased the material and energy flows around the planet, raising the pressure over natural resources and the communities that depend on them. In this context it becomes critical to better understand the link between consumption and production patterns and associated social-ecological impacts at multiple scales. Historically, Northern industrialized countries have been responsible for major pressures and resource consumption while developing countries have suffered to a great extent the consequences of these patterns. This article analyzes the Ecological Debt of the Basque Country (Southern Europe), to illustrate the responsibility of Northern open economies towards the global environment, by looking at (i) its social metabolism, i.e. the energy and material flows linked to the production and consumption activities of the region, (ii) the social-ecological impacts that these physical flows generate worldwide, and (iii) three illustrative case-studies associated with the Basque social metabolism in Latin-America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods the study shows how to connect production and consumption patterns to extraction impacts for global commodity chains, in order to better understand current environmental injustices and their roots. Furthermore, we illustrate how this narrative can bridge the gap between the local and the global, creating a useful approach for both policy making and education.

# Tuesday 13th May 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Marieke Sassen, UNEP-WCMC
Please note that this session will take place in a different room.
Conservation in a crowded place: people and forest on Mount Elgon, Uganda
Venue: HB101

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 6th May 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Salwa El-Halawani
Involving local communities in planning the establishment of no‐take zones in the Red Sea National Parks of Elba and Wadi Gemal, Egypt
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 29th April 2014, 1.00pm - Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
The political ecology of a customary conservation practice: understanding processes of translation and hybridisation
Venue: Seminar Room

Mountain-closure is a tradition practiced in different regions of Bhutan to propitiate the mountain deity and to safeguard crops. It is believed to have ecological effects, and has been represented as a traditional form of conservation. It effectively functioned as a way to manage resources within a community and between different communities, and is embedded in agricultural and migratory herding cycles. As a social institution it is believed to ensure community wellbeing and effectively maintains rights over natural resources.

In this session I present a thesis chapter-in-progress. After situating the chapter within the body of my thesis, I discuss empirical findings on community mountain-closure practice in Bhutan from a political ecology perspective. I then reflect on elements which emerged from this research process which could be broadly grouped under themes of translation and of ‘hybridising’ knowledges.

# Tuesday 11th March 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Ivan Scales, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Ivan Scales presents on 'The future of conservation and environmental management in Madagascar: More than just flagships, forests and furry animals?’
Venue: Seminar Room

Madagascar is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, the result of 160 million years of isolation from the African mainland. More than 80% of species are found nowhere else on Earth. However, this highly diverse flora and fauna is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation and the island has been classified one of the world’s highest conservation priorities. The history of conservation policy and practice over the last 30 years shows that international donors, conservation NGOs and the Malagasy government have not been short of bold solutions – from national environmental actions plans to community resource management initiatives and the tripling of its protected areas. However, the continued loss and fragmentation of habitats; the resurgence of the illegal trade in exotic hardwoods; and the fact that policy has often had serious impacts on local livelihoods suggests that there is still much to be done. There has been a recent flourishing of social science research on conservation and development in Madagascar. This has come from a range of disciplines – anthropology, economics, geography, political science and environmental history. Over the course of the last two years I have edited a book on ‘Conservation and Environmental Management in Madagascar’ (Routledge, 2014). The aim of this paper is to distil the key themes and issues that have emerged from the book, highlighting the lessons from the past and the challenges ahead.

# Tuesday 4th March 2014, 1.00pm - Regina Hansda, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
System of Rice Intensification and the Shifting Dynamics of Gender and Labour
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 25th February 2014, 1.00pm - Dr Tatiana Thieme, Dr Bhaskar Vira, Dr Emma Mawdsley and Dr Ivan Scales, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Urban political ecology of small towns in Africa and India
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 18th February 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Bhaskar Vira, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Bhaskar Vira presents (title to be confirmed)
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 11th February 2014, 1.00pm - Professor Paul Robbins, International Fellow from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Paul Robbins leads an Early Career Researcher Seminar
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 4th February 2014, 1.00pm - Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp will lead a discussion on Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Venue: Seminar Room

(reading to be confirmed)

# Tuesday 28th January 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Jenn Baka, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Sciences
Biofuels and Marginal Lands: Interrogating the Land Use Change Impacts of Jatropha Promotion in South India
Venue: Seminar Room

In this talk, Dr. Baka will examine the micro-level land use impacts of India’s National Biofuel Program, which restricts cultivation to ‘wastelands’, an official government classification of marginal lands. Through field work in South India using an industrial and political ecology framework, she finds that India’s wastelands are not exactly marginal: their existing land usage provides approximately three to 10 times more useful energy than would the country’s proposed biodiesel system. She also finds that the process of defining, classifying and developing wastelands, a government-sponsored program that began in the late 1970s, is an inherently political process that obscures local land use practices. Collectively, these factors have helped facilitate ‘land grabs’ in rural Tamil Nadu, a process that is dispossessing land users/owners and decreasing the ability of agrarian communities to self-provision.

# Tuesday 21st January 2014, 1.00pm - Dr. Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Michael Bravo leads a discussion on three articles by Paul Robbins
Venue: Seminar Room

Articles to read and discuss:
1) Robbins 2012 – Talking abou objects (attached)
2) Robbins 2012 – Qu’est-ce que la Political Ecology (attached)
3) Robbins 2012 – Chapter 4 of the new edition of his book “Political Ecology: a Critical Introduction” —> you can find the electronic version by searching for “Political Ecology Robbins electronic” here:

# Tuesday 3rd December 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Bhaskar Vira, Geography Department, University of Cambridge
Discussion on 'Environmental Humanities'
Venue: Seminar Room




# Tuesday 26th November 2013, 1.00pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Topic to be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 19th November 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Ann Laudati, University of Bristol
Securing Insecurity: Rethinking Livelihoods, Violence, and Vulnerability in DRC's Cannabis Trade
Venue: Seminar Room

When speaking of the stark differences between the international attention given to conflict timber compared to that of conflict minerals, a blood diamond campaigner stated, “Diamonds are sexy and logs are not” (Yearsley, 2000; Cited in Le Billion 2003:271). Academic research on ‘war economies’ and scholarship seeking to uncover the realities of the ‘resource curse’, have seemingly been seduced by similar temptations. Today, much of the literature linking natural resources and violent conflict, focuses on the exploitation, the trade, and the impact of mineral economies, ignoring in the process the role that a broader repertoire of natural resources plays in shaping violence, and subsequently in ensuring peace. This presentation centers on one of these previously undertheorized and understudied non-mineral economies. Drawing from four months of qualitative research on the trade in marijuana in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, I’ll consider the dual role that marijuana plays for local livelihoods as well as a source of violence. Contrary to commonly held opinion of marijuana’s influence on violence, however, I will present an alternative story of drug related violence in the region. Namely, this presentation argues that the dangers stemming from an entanglement with the drug are rather, as one informant aptly stated, the result of ‘security’. Building on a rich anthropological foundation which seeks to understand ‘the everyday violence’ in warscapes, and contributing to a growing but yet still unfulfilled political ecology of war, this talk presents a case study which contends that the violence associated with Congo’s drug problem lies not with the people who take the drugs nor with those who traffic them but rather it is its very prohibition that shapes violence in the region.

# Tuesday 12th November 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Tatiana Thieme, Dept. of Geography, University of Cambridge
Discussion session: Urban political ecology of waste
Venue: Seminar Room

The world’s least urbanized countries have been the most rapidly urbanising ones since the 1960’s. As the waves of wage migration in rapidly urbanising cities in the Global South outpace the availability of formal wage labour and housing provisions, most urban growth in infrastructural and economic terms is marked by makeshift forms of improvisation and adaptation. One of the material signs of rapid urbanisation and its associated challenges concerning availability of housing, wage labour, and basic services is the abundance of garbage. The production and visibility of various forms of waste in cities like Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi, or Sao Paolo, elicit paradoxical responses: on the one hand, alarmist narratives evoke the public and environmental hazards as entire neighbourhoods live in close proximity to dumpsites and landfills and ill-served (if at all) by the municipality; and on the other hand grassroots strategies to cope with, manage, and live alongside ‘garbage’ indicate that there are growing waste economies providing both work opportunities, local services, and innovative ways to re-use and re-purpose seemingly discarded materials. What if we saw beyond the paralyzing apocalyptic scenario of “wastelands” and re-examined the very notion of waste in political ecology terms? While the scholarship on the political ecology of rural environments, agricultural livelihoods and conservation practices is well established, applying the language and lens of political ecology to urban environments, particularly waste, has not received as much scholarly attention.

In this session, I propose we consider the unlikely and generally overlooked “resource” of waste, to discuss the ways in which waste becomes the locus for contested power struggles and politics over the management of resources, reflective of contradictory notions of value, ecology, worthlessness, consumption, boundaries of the self, as well as the material, infrastructural and practical logistics of discarding, collecting, re-using and re-inserting use and exchange value into “rubbish” materials. Paying particular attention to the discourses, production and reproduction of wasted goods and the invisible sanitation workers who take garbage “away,” I will draw on my PhD research in Nairobi, Kenya to ground the discussion, in particular relating to the complex power relations at different levels of the city that shape the urban waste economy and the particular narratives of youth self-proclaimed “hustlers” of waste work. I suggest that these waste-based “hustle” economies in the urban informal sector might be considered as post-capitalist alternatives, reflecting certain aspects of the “peasant moral economy” in their diversification of risk and emphasis on the small-scale and limits to growth, but very much entangled with and replicating capitalist relations.

For some background reading, please see Garth Myers’s Chapter 1: Towards a Political Ecology of African Cities in Disposable Cities: Garbage, Governance and Sustainable Development in Urban Africa (2005).

# Wednesday 30th October 2013, 1.00pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Topic and venue to be confirmed
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 22nd October 2013, 1.00pm - Professor Bas Arts, Wageningen University
Assessing participatory forest management: a practice based approach
Venue: Seminar Room

Recently, the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (FNP) of Wageningen University in the Netherlands developed the so-called ‘practice based approach’ to analyse forest governance issues. This approach is a response to the – in our view – shortcomings of the most dominant schools in our field, particularly rational choice and neo-institutionalism. Both are largely flawed, because each is unable to capture both human capacities and creativities and collective action and regularities that together constitute social fields. The practice based approach claims to offer that broader perspective. In this seminar, the approach will be shortly explained and applied to some cases of participatory forest management (PFM) in India and Ethiopia. Although PFM seems to be pushed into the background of the global forest agenda, probably due to more recent initiatives like REDD+ and FLEGT, the movement is as important and alive on the ground in various countries around the world as let’s say 10 years ago. The practice based approach will offer a fresh perspective on PFM and its (perceived) successes and failures, as will be shown by confronting the practice based findings from India and Ethiopia with the broader PFM literature.

# Tuesday 15th October 2013, 1.00pm - Discussion session
Discussion session: Contribution of Systematic Reviews to Management Decisions.
Venue: Seminar Room

Reading: Contribution of Systematic Reviews to Management Decisions. Conservation Biology, 27(5), 902–915.

# Tuesday 8th October 2013, 1.00pm - Per Arild & Iulie Aslaksen, Statistics Norway
The Norwegian Nature Index: Challenges and Successes
Venue: Seminar Room

The aim of the Norwegian Nature Index is to provide an overview of the state of biodiversity within and across major ecosystems. The index is composed of a series of indicators, each representing individual species or diversity measures. The indicators are standardized and scaled in relation to a reference state, and combined for ecosystems or geographical regions, to give a number between 1 (reference state) and 0 (seriously degraded biodiversity). In 2010, when the Nature Index was developed for the first time, the state of biodiversity was highest in mountains, ocean, coastal waters, and freshwater, intermediate for mires and wetlands, and lowest for open lowlands and forests. Since its launch in September 2010, the Nature Index has been approved by the Ministry of Finance as an indicator for biodiversity in the set of sustainable development indicators and approved by the Ministry of Environment as an indicator of the state of major ecosystems.In this seminar we give an overview of the conceptual framework and methodology of the Nature Index and presents its main results. A challenge for future applications of the Nature Index framework for policy analysis and local nature management is to enhance the data quality for different geographical areas.

# Wednesday 19th June 2013, 1.00pm - Professor Bill Adams, Dept of Geography, University of Cambridge
Please note this session is on Wednesday 19th June
Political ecologies of the Anthropocene
Venue: Seminar Room

This reading and discussion session will be led by Bill Adams and use the following papers (tbc via mailing list) as a departure point:

Lorimer, J. (2012) Multinatural geographies for the Anthropocene. Progress in Human Geography, 36(5): 593-612).

Robbins, P., & Moore, S. A. (2013). Ecological anxiety disorder: diagnosing the politics of the Anthropocene. Cultural Geographies, 20(1), 3–19. (

# Tuesday 18th June 2013, 1.00pm - Albert Arhin, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Geography, University of Cambridge
Safeguards and ‘Dangerguards’: Towards a framework for unpacking social safeguards for REDD+
Venue: Seminar Room

The mechanism of REDD+ is currently high on the agenda of international climate change negotiations. While REDD+ has potential to contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable development, it is also expected that the mechanism could lead to exclusion and disempowerment which have implications for the vulnerability of poor people. The recent years have therefore seen growing attention and proliferation of social and environmental principles—known as REDD+ safeguards—whose implementation is expected to avoid harm to local communities while ensuring that communities obtain multiple benefits from the scheme. While REDD+ safeguards have an intuitive appeal, the concept is riddled with ambiguity—and means different things to different people. This presentation proposes a framework to unpack the many faces of REDD+ safeguards to guide their application and operationalization at national and local levels.

# Tuesday 11th June 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Mark Infield, Director, Cultural Values and Conservation, Fauna & Flora International
The King Returns: Politics, culture and conservation in the Mountains of the Moon, Uganda
Venue: Seminar Room

The Rwenzori Mountains run for 70 kilometres along the Uganda / Democratic Republic of Congo border and provide watershed functions for millions of farmers and support high biodiversity. In 1992, the creation of a national park had considerable impacts in local communities by restricting access to both natural and cultural resources. Though intended to promote conservation, it is arguable that they achieve the opposite. The return of the King of the Mountain People has created social and political opportunities to re-examine relationships between the people and the mountains, the people and the national park, and the park authorities and traditional institutions. I will discuss how the Culture, Values and Conservation Project implemented by Fauna & Flora International and the Uganda Wildlife Authority is attempting to engage with these issues and opportunities to improve the conservation of the mountain’s natural and cultural values.

# Tuesday 4th June 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Michael Bravo, Dept. of Geography, University of Cambridge
Does Ice have Politics? The Materiality and Mobility of Frozen States
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract: In 2006 I predicted that there will another Exxon Valdez ecological disaster and that it would be watched in real time across boardrooms and throughout public spheres around the world – my message was that the new Arctic is less remote or hidden from view than we have imagined. In the same article in the Brown Journal of World Affairs (co-authored with Gareth Rees), I coined the term ‘cryopolitics’ to draw attention to the claim that frozen states – in their many forms – have a material history, culture and environmental politics. These cryopolitics are both changed and distorted by the dominant neoliberal narrative that a future ice-free Arctic presages and enables new more efficient flows of global commodities.

In this seminar, I want to discuss three aspects of cryopolitics. First I will try to communicate something about the materiality of the High Arctic archipelagic region by sharing some of my fieldwork experience working with Inuit Elders in Pond Inlet near Lancaster Sound, the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. Secondly I will illustrate contemporary cryopolitics by briefly exploring some relationships in the indigenous world between the materiality of ice and mobility, and how they risk being displaced by industrial investments. Thirdly, and most importantly, I hope to engage the audience in generating a discussion as to what if anything, makes cryopolitics distinctive from other kinds of environmental materialities and their associated geopolitics in other parts of the world (e.g. aridity, drought, flooding, volcanic eruptions).

  • M. T. Bravo and W. G. Rees, Cryopolitics: Environmental Security and the Future of Arctic Navigation, Brown Journal of World Affairs, 13(1), Fall/Winter 2006, 205-215

*The link to access this paper is:

# Tuesday 28th May 2013, 1.00pm - Rémy Rouillard, Post-doctoral Researcher, Scott Polar Research Institute
Making connections in a recently collapsed empire: when Nenets reindeer herders meet with Soviet-era settlers and mobile oil workers above oil deposits
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract: What connects the post-Soviet Chechnyan wars to indigenous Nenets reindeer herders living in the Nenets Autonomous District (NAD) in northwestern Russia? What effect have French documentary makers had on interactions between these herders and Russian oil workers, extracting oil from an island in the Barents Sea since the late Soviet era? Considering that these patriotic workers have spent most of their lives extracting oil in the Arctic for a state-owned company, how do they view the potential privatisation of their company and their transfer to extraction sites situated off the shores of Vietnam? Based on a year’s doctoral field research in the NAD, this presentation will discuss ways in which Nenets herders, Russian settlers and current oil workers engage with the land in the district, and with each other, in the context of an oil-thirsty global economy and of a Russian state “addicted to oil-revenues”. I will show how the interactions between these different groups are marked by the co-presence of different codes of conduct: the Nenets “law of the tundra”, Soviet-inherited patriotism and reindeer herding management practices, as well as values inherited from the global market economy.

# Tuesday 14th May 2013, 1.00pm - Gregory Akall, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Geography
Changing Landscapes and Lifestyles: Adapting and Building Resilience to Droughts in Turkana, North-West Kenya (1963—2013)
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract: Drought has long disrupted lives and livelihoods in Turkana, Kenya. As climate change creates new environmental uncertainties across the world, there are new fears that droughts and other extreme weather events will disrupt lives and livelihoods further. In dryland regions like Turkana, there has been an emergence of new activities to help communities become more resilient, especially to drought.

This research will investigate the perspectives of developers and Turkana on the ‘problems’ facing lives and livelihoods, which shape the nature of the interventions that are implemented. Where this research is distinct is that it will examine the current views and developments in their historical context. The research examines changing attitudes to the ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ of adapting to drought, and how this has changed—if at all—over a period of 50 years, particularly given the new challenge of climate change. The study compares two periods of interventions, 1970-1990 and 2000-2013. The first, 1970—1990, was an era of top-down modernizing activities, where irrigation and settlement of Turkana pastoralists were the preferred development policies (Anderson and Broch-Due, 1999). The results of these initiatives were generally poor: irrigation systems failed to live up to their promise and sedentarization was linked to poverty and malnutrition (Adams, 1992). The second, 2000—2013, represents a new era of development based around ideas of resilience and adaptation. Reports from the region suggest that, in practice, many of the new interventions on the ground are remarkably similar to those that went before. For example, some ‘new’ initiatives are restoring abandoned irrigation schemes from the 1970-1990 period. (From 1990-2000s, there were few development interventions; organizations working in the region mainly carried out food distributions).

The aim of this research is to see what is new and what is different about the development initiatives across these different periods, and to see how projects that aim to help the Turkana adapt to drought have changed (or not). This will be done by looking at the history, and by doing an analysis of the way the interventions were framed by ‘developers’. In addition, the conceptualizations of the developers will be compared to the views of Turkana people on the problems and the solutions. The research will examine the narratives of environmental change, ‘blueprint’ development, ‘experts’ and ‘indigenous’ knowledges and governmentality. This will help to examine whether present development discourses exhibit similar characteristics of past policies or are new ones and compare these with the perspectives of Turkana themselves.

# Tuesday 7th May 2013, 1.00pm - Discussion session
open discussion / roundtable
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 30th April 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Chris Sandbrook, UNEP-WCMC, Affiliated Lecturer
What do conservationists think about markets?
Venue: Seminar Room

Chris Sandbrook will lead a discussion on this paper co-authored with Bhaskar Vira and Janet Fisher, currently in press at Geoforum.

Abstract: The recent history of biodiversity conservation practice has been characterised by the increasing use of Market-Based Instruments. In seeking to understand this development, an emerging body of critical social science research tends to characterise conservationists as being ideologically in favour of markets in conservation. An alternative possibility is that conservationists pursue market solutions as a pragmatic response to prevailing political and economic circumstances. In this paper we seek to establish empirically what a sample of conservation professionals actually think about markets in conservation. We used Q- methodology, a tool for analysing structure and form within respondents’ subjective positions. The results show that our respondents are circumspect about the growing use of markets in conservation. We identify two dominant discourses that we label ‘outcome focused enthusiasm and ‘ideological scepticism’. Neither of these perspectives indicates strong, or uncritical, support for market approaches, and the views of our respondents appear to recognise the limitations of markets both in theory and practice. While there is some difference in views between the two dominant discourses that we document in this paper, there is considerable convergence towards a position that we label ‘cautious pragmatism’. We conclude that those studying conservation need to be cautious about over- generalising the perspectives and values held by conservation professionals, as there appears to be far less consensus about the adoption of market-led approaches in this sector than has been suggested. Further research could investigate the drivers of pro-market behaviour at the organisational level given the evident personal scepticism of our respondents.

# Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 1.00pm - Discussion session
Pollinator diversity and land sharing/sparing
Venue: Seminar Room

Jonny Hanson will lead a discussion on bees, pollination and land sparing / sharing. Please see the link below to a short paper by Garibaldi et al. (2013) in Science as background reading, and there is also a relevant article in the Guardian here:

Garibaldi, L. A., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Winfree, R., Aizen, M. A., Bommarco, R., Cunningham, S. A., … Klein, A. M. (2013). Wild Pollinators Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of Honey Bee Abundance. Science, 339(6127), 1608–1611. doi:10.1126/science.1230200

# Tuesday 12th March 2013, 1.00pm - Jonathan Hanson, PhD candidate, Dept. Geography
Tax justice for snow leopards? Tax dodging and the environment
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre

Jonny will lead this exploratory session on the role of tax in building equitable and sustainable societies, and the broader implications of tax (and tax dodging) for the environment in general, and for conservation in particular. After a general introduction, specific environmental examples will be turned to before opening the discussion to issues such as: could some of the estimated $160 billion dodged in tax every year be used to pay protected area staff or enhance the capacity of customs departments searching for smuggled ivory? Could some of it be used to scale-up successful but localised conservation and development interventions, such as livestock insurance schemes in the Himalayas? And more generally, if this money was spent on health and education and infrastructure, would it enhance or harm the environment? What is the role of corruption in this?

Some background material for the general discussion:

# Tuesday 5th March 2013, 1.00pm - John Lanchbery, RSPB
John Lanchberry on the politics of the UNFCCC
Venue: Seminar Room

John Lanchberry, Principal Climate Change Adviser with the RSPB Climate Policy Team, will speak on the politics of the UNFCCC.

For background, members may want to look at

# Tuesday 26th February 2013, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Discussion of MacDonald and Corson (2012) 'TEEB Begins Now'
Venue: Seminar Room

MacDonald and Corson (2012) ‘TEEB Begins Now’: a virtual moment in the production of natural capital, Development and Change 43: 159-184

This article uses theories of virtualism to analyse the role of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project in the production of natural capital. Presented at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the project seeks to redress the ‘economic invisibility of nature’ by quantifying the value of ecosystems and biodiversity. This endeavour to put an economic value on ecosystems makes nature legible by abstracting it from social and ecological contexts and making it subject to, and productive of, new market devices. In reducing the complexity of ecological dynamics to idealized categories TEEB is driven by economic ideas and idealism, and, in claiming to be a quantitative force for morality, is engaged in the production of practices designed to conform the ‘real’ to the virtual. By rendering a ‘valued’ nature legible for key audiences, TEEB has mobilized a critical mass of support including modellers, policy makers and bankers. We argue that TEEB’s rhetoric of crisis and value aligns capitalism with a new kind of ecological modernization in which ‘the market’ and market devices serve as key mechanisms to conform the real and the virtual. Using the case of TEEB, and drawing on data collected at COP10, we illustrate the importance of international meetings as key points where idealized models of biodiversity protection emerge, circulate and are negotiated, and as sites where actors are aligned and articulated with these idealized models in ways that begin further processes of conforming the real with the virtual and the realization of ‘natural capital’.

# Tuesday 19th February 2013, 1.00pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Debrief on the IPBES-1 Plenary
Venue: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge

This session moves to the UNEP-WCMC offices for the debrief on the first IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) plenary from a few CCF people who attended. As background reading for that session we strongly recommend the Earth Negotiation Bulletin summary of the event, which is here:

Particularly interesting is the analysis section at the end.

Please see here for directions to the venue:

# Tuesday 12th February 2013, 1.00pm - Bernardo Strassburg, International Institute for Sustainability (IIS), Rio de Janeiro
Bernardo Strassburg - presentation
Venue: Sir William Hardy Building, room 206

At this session we will have a presentation from Bernardo Strassburg. Bernardo is from the International Institute for Sustainability in Brazil, and has worked extensively on issues around forest conservation and REDD. Those attending may like to look at his recent paper on “Impacts of incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation on global species extinctions” before the meeting:

# Tuesday 5th February 2013, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Discussion of 'Reducing REDD risks: affirmative policy on an uneven playing field' by Ribot and Larson
Venue: Seminar Room

At this session we will discuss a recent paper on REDD governance from Jesse Ribot and Anne Larson. “Reducing REDD risks: affirmative policy on an uneven playing field”

You can find the paper here:

# Tuesday 29th January 2013, 1.00pm - Discussion session
open discussion / roundtable
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 22nd January 2013, 1.00pm - Dr. Shivaji Chavan
Conservation Scenario in India: opportunities for collaboration
Venue: Seminar Room

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 15th January 2013, 11.00am - various
Dept Geography First Year Graduate Forum
Venue: Seminar Room and Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography

We recommend that group members attend various presentations in the Forum. Please refer to the presentations schedule and details circulated by the Department.

# Tuesday 4th December 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Int'l Land Grabbing and 'Green Grabbing: A New Appropriation of Nature?'
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

For a resounding finish to term, we will base our discussion on land grabbing around Fairhead et al.‘s paper ‘Green Grabbing’ which introduced the special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies out earlier this year:

# Wednesday 28th November 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Bram Buscher, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development at the Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, and visiting Associate Professor at the Dept. Geography, Environmental Management & Energy Studies, U. Johannesbur
Prosuming Conservation: Web 2.0, Nature and the Intensification of Value-Producing Labour in Late Capitalism
Venue: Hardy Bldg Rm 206, Department of Geography

In this seminar Bram will be talking about his research into the internet-conservation interface and the production of conservation producer-consumers (‘Prosumers’).

# Tuesday 27th November 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Martin Mulligan, Associate Professor, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne
Towards a grounded and dynamic sociology of climate change adaptation
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Martin Mulligan is Associate Professor at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, and was previous Director of RMIT’s Globalism Research Centre. In addition to his recent book Rebuilding communities after disasters: Lessons from the tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka and India (2012, with Yaso Nadarajah) and work on communities and tsunami disaster recovery in Sri Lanka, Martin also co-edited Decolonizing Nature (2003) with Bill Adams.

# Tuesday 20th November 2012, 1.00pm - Judge-Us Seminar
Shaz Ansari on 'Constructing a Climate Change Logic: An Institutional Perspective on the "Tragedy of the Commons"'
Venue: Judge Business School, LT2

Instead of our usual seminar, we suggest attending this talk at the Judge Business School LT2

Abstract:(Paper forthcoming in Organization Science)

Despite increasing interest in transnational fields, transnational commons have received little attention. In contrast to economic models of commons, which argue that commons occur naturally and are prone to collective inaction and tragedy, we introduce a social constructionist account of commons. Specifically, we show that actor-level frame changes can eventually lead to the emergence of an overarching, hybrid ‘commons logic’ at the field level. These frame shifts enable actors with different logics to reach a working consensus and avoid “tragedies of the commons.” Using a longitudinal analysis of key actors’ logics and frames, we tracked the evolution of the global climate change field over forty years. We bracketed time periods demarcated by key field-configuring events, documented the different frame shifts in each time period, and identified five mechanisms (collective theorizing, issue linkage, active learning, legitimacy seeking, and catalytic amplification) that underpin how and why actors changed their frames at various points in time – enabling them to move towards greater consensus around a transnational commons logic. In conclusion, the emergence of a commons logic in a transnational field is a non-linear process and involves satisfying three conditions: 1) key actors view their fates as being interconnected with respect to a problem issue; 2) these actors perceive their own behavior as contributing to the problem; and 3) they take collective action to address the problem. Our findings provide insights for multinational companies, nation-states, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders in both conventional and unconventional commons.

# Tuesday 13th November 2012, 1.00pm - Eszter Kovacs, PhD Candidate, Dept. Geography
The Conservation/Agriculture Relationship in the EU: High Nature Value Areas in Hungary
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

My PhD looks at the development and evolution of conservation programmes on agricultural land in the EU within the context of the rural development pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) using local-level case studies in Hungary. I focus specifically on the ‘High Nature Value’ (HNV) programme, whereby conservation subsidies are granted to farmers who volunteer to adopt more environmentally-friendly farming measures. In this talk, I would like to outline and explore several findings and patterns that emerged from my research and what this has meant for how conservation is defined and operationalised in Hungary, as well as how farming is being restructured as a result of these discourses and processes. I argue that conservation is being subsumed under the agricultural sector, with its work shifting from monitoring and communication responsibilities to increasingly regimented forms, with particular emphasis on surveillance and infringement reporting. I will talk about how the implementation and design of subsidies has resulted in different outcomes for different-sized landholders, leading to land consolidation and possible negative environmental effects that are in contradiction to the original aims of the programme.

# Tuesday 6th November 2012, 1.00pm - Salwa Elhalawani, PhD Candidate, Dept. Geography
Local community participation in Wadi El-Gemel National Park
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Almost all conservation bodies and literature acknowledge the primary role local communities can play in the protection of natural resources supporting their livelihood. The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) has paid special attention to this by highlighting specific targets with regard to local community involvement in PA management. Within the context of co management, this chapter of my PhD dissertation discusses the findings my field research in Wadi El Gemal National Park, Egypt (2010-2011), regarding local community participation in park management, and explores and analyses the key factors and obstacles that influence their participation.

# Tuesday 30th October 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Stefan Dorondel, Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology Bucharest & Visiting Fellow, CRASSH, University of Cambridge
Contested Forest: National Park, Local State, and Forest Owners in Postsocialist Romania
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

We will be discussing a chapter from a book manuscript tentatively titled The Wrath of Change: State Elite, Land Politics, and the Transformation of the Postsocialist Landscape in Romania. The book manuscript looks at the environmental changes which paralleled the political and economic ones. It seeks to understand the unintended outcomes of the land reform in postsocialist Romania. Severe deforestation is one of these. The chapter looks at the political dynamics and social relations between the state, which is the owner and manager of a National Park in the Southern Carpathians, local political elite, and forest owners. The three actors struggle for imposing meanings, over what the landscape is, what it is good for and who should define the ways it is managed and used.

# Tuesday 23rd October 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Discussion of Global Political Ecology, eds. Peet, Robbins & Watts (2011)
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

We will be discussing the introductory chapter ‘Global nature’ which ‘introduces the readers to political ecology and summarizes the book’s main findings’ on topics to do with current social and environmental crises.

The topic covered in the book’s seven sections span a wide range, including war and the disaster state; capitalism and energy consumption; global governance of health, body and genomics;global food; capitalism’s effluents; water; the green economy; global climate and carbon emissions.

# Tuesday 16th October 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Discussion of Sandel (2012) What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Group discussion will focus on the Introduction, and Chapter 2 “Incentives”, which includes his thoughts on ‘Tradable Pollution Permits’; ‘Carbon Offsets’; and ‘Paying to Kill an Endangered Rhino’

Further video material featuring Sandel:
Labour Party Conference 2012

Justice course at Harvard (based on his earlier book, Justice)

BBC Podcast ‘The Public Philosopher’ 2012

BBC Reith Lectures 2009 (‘A new citizenship’)

# Tuesday 9th October 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
'Nature, Inc.' and 'Grabbing "Green": Questioning the Green Economy'
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

This seminar engages with critical scholarship on markets and nature. We will be discussing Arsel & Buscher’s (2012) paper ‘NatureTM Inc.: Changes and Continuities in Neoliberal Conservation and Market-based Environmental Policy’, which came out of last year’s ‘Nature Inc.’ conference held at the Hague. Following on this, we will also look at the upcoming conference ‘Grabbing “Green”: Questioning the Green Economy’, that will be held in May 2012 in Toronto, a follow up to the ‘Nature Inc.’ conference.

# Tuesday 19th June 2012, 1.00pm - Girija Godbole, PhD student, Department of Geography
'Understanding the changing relationship between land and rural women in western Maharashtra, India: reflections from the field'
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

The overall aim of the research is to understand the relationship between women and the land in a rapidly changing rural society in the economically better off and socially progressive region of western Maharashtra, India. It also seeks to investigate if and how women claim their inheritance rights. The study aims to understand how rural women negotiate their identities in relation to land on the backdrop of increasing incidence of land sale, migration and urbanisation.

# Tuesday 12th June 2012, 1.00pm - Lindsay Galbraith, PhD Student at the Department of Geography
Policy making in confined spaces: the politics of exclusion in Canada's planning reform agenda
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

In northwestern British Columbia (BC), a large number of infrastructure projects are proposed and many of them are subject to environmental impact assessment (EIA). As Canada introduces significant reforms this year to streamline EIA, this paper examines the implications of these changes for policy making in the energy sector and for BC First Nations. Planning offers some of the very few formal spaces where policy discussions take place between First Nations and the governments of Canada and BC, usually over effects of developments on Aboriginal rights. A theoretical framework is introduced to conceptualize this particular role for planning in policy-making. The framework is then used to examine one in-depth case
study where the Haida Nation has used planning to regain some control over their island territory. As the Haida attempt to use planning to regain control over their ocean territory, Canada has actively resisted, leaving the EIA process as the only formal venue available to hear Haida concerns over their ocean territory. Two EIAs are proposed in the Haida ocean
territory: a large offshore wind farm and an Enbridge oil pipeline and tanker project. These EIAs are examined in conjunction with the wider national discourse linking these events to the planning reform agenda. Findings suggest that planning reform is a task aimed at deepening control over policy critics and has important implications for excluding First Nations from Canadian policy-making and increasing tensions as First
Nations and their allies turn to the courts and less formal venues.

# Tuesday 29th May 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Rob Small, Flora & Fauna International
Valuing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Servicesin the Ewasu Ng'iro watershed
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 22nd May 2012, 1.00pm - Alexandra Girard, DPhil candidate, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Women, water and work - examining the role of the statecraft in irrigation management in Northern India
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

The role of the state in irrigation is contentious in India. The debate over the state’s position and capability to deal with environmental changes in rural areas is largely reflected in the management of irrigation systems in Northern India.The Kangra Valley, in Himachal Pradesh, has a long history of using /kuhls/, narrow and annually-dug drainage lines, to capture surface runoffs from monsoons and snowmelt
for irrigation. While these systems have been traditionally built, operated and maintained by male villagers, in the past decades numerous /kuhls/‘s have been overtaken by the state and their management left
under the responsibility of the Irrigation and Health Department (IPH). Since 1985, incentives to transfer operation and maintenance of state owned irrigation canals to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have
brought changes in the gender dynamics of /kuhl /management. With new policies to increasingly involve women with PRIs and the rising number of women engaging with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the agency of women is now becoming an integral part of the decision-making and carrying collective actions on /kuhls/, as opposed to existing patriarchal traditional management system. Using a household survey and interviews the research provides a comparative evaluation of the multiple roles of women in irrigation management and to what extent different irrigation management regimes lead to better
meeting the needs of female water users as reflected in their level of participation and decision making.

# Tuesday 15th May 2012, 1.00pm - Esther Turnhout, Associate Professor at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Only what is counted counts? The scientific and economic representation of biodiversity
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Biodiversity governance is characterized by a strong technocratic orientation. Science-based data, maps and numbers are used in the representation of biodiversity and inform decision making about conservation targets and priorities. In this talk, I will offer a critical engagement with the role of science and scientific knowledge in the representation of biodiversity and the
implications of these representations for how we treat biodiversity in practice. My contribution is based on the central idea that biodiversity representations are not neutral mirrors of world but activity contribute to the constitution of biodiversity as a readable and governable phenomenon: they are performative. Subsequently, I will use the examples of TEEB and IPBES to demonstrate the emergence of an explicit economic discourse of Ecosystem Services and to analyse how this economic discourse connects with and complements existing technocratic biodiversity discourses. I will conclude by discussing the importance of critical scrutiny of the performativity of knowledge in critical accounts of the neoliberalization of nature and addressing the linkages between political ecology and science and technology studies that are required to achieve this.

# Tuesday 8th May 2012, 1.00pm - Isabel Melo Vasquez, Visiting student from the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Assessing discursive practices associated with Terra Preta governance in Amazonas state, Brazil
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 13th March 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Bhaskar Vira (Department of Geography) and others
"Reviewing the effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation"
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Results from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative ‘Ecosystem-based adaptation project

# Tuesday 6th March 2012, 1.00pm - Kathryn Humphries, PhD student, Department of Geography
The Performance of Policy in Tanzanian CBNRM: Hidden Aspects of Governance and Participatory Spaces
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 28th February 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Chris Sandbrook, Department of Geography
Reading: Land Sparing/Land Sharing
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 21st February 2012, 1.00pm - Dr. Evangelia Apostolopoulou, Visiting Scholar from the Department of Ecology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece
‘Framings of scale challenges in the governance of biodiversity’
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 14th February 2012, 1.00pm - James Palmer, PhD student, Department of Geography
‘Biofuels and the politics of land-use change: The controversial place of "place" in environmental governance
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 7th February 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion session
Reading, Jepson et al., (2011),‘What is a conservation actor?’
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Jepson et al., (2011),‘What is a conservation actor?’Conservation and Society, vol. 9(3): 229-235

# Tuesday 31st January 2012, 1.00pm - Reading and Discussion Session
Reading: Forsyth (2011), ‘Politicizing environmental explanations: What can political ecology learn from sociology and philosophy of science?’
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Book chapter in Goldman et al., (Eds), Knowing Nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies, University of Chicago Press

# Tuesday 24th January 2012, 1.00pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Political Ecology Lunch Social
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 17th January 2012, 1.00pm - Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp, PhD Student, Department of Geography
‘Is it conservation or development? Pilgrimage or ecotourism? Identifying the genius loci in a hidden land (sbas-yul)'
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 29th November 2011, 1.00pm - Dr. Freddy Alvarez, Visiting Scholar, Department of Geography
'The rights of nature in the Ecuadorian constitution’
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 5.00pm - His Excellency Dr. Mok Mareth, Senior Minister and Minister of the Environment, Royal Government of Cambodia
This talk is being organised by Flora and Fauna International
‘Creating protected areas in post-conflict Cambodia’
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 15th November 2011, 1.00pm - Chris Goodall
Reading: Goodall (draft paper) ‘Peak Stuff’ Did the UK reach a maximum use of material resources in the early part of the last decade?
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Wednesday 9th November 2011, 1.00pm - Dr. Peter Usher, Visiting Scholar, Department of Geography
This meeting is being organised in collaboration with the Travelling Knowledges reading group
‘Environmental assessment in Canada: The Mackenzie gas project'
Venue: Hardy Building Room 101

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 1st November 2011, 4.00pm - Prof. Piers Blaikie, University of East Anglia
This talk is being organised by the Cambrige University Geographical Society
‘Political ecology: Meeting travellers along the way’
Venue: Emmanuel college

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 18th October 2011, 12.00am - Bram Büscher
Nature on the move: The emergence and circulation of fictitious conservation and liquid nature
Venue: Venue to be confirmed

Reading (draft paper)