17 October :: Speakers on Urban Natures



In our Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies project, we are organizing an initial workshop on a longer book project on October 17. Please see below. Next workshop planned for June 2013 in Stockholm. A project webpage is under construction to report on the book project.

When: Oct 17, 2012 (9am)
Where: Studio 3, Engeo Building, UCT, Upper Campus, Cape Town
Top international scholars are visiting UCT to give input to an ACC book project on the Histories and Futures of Contested Urban Natures. Environmental historians, anthropologists and political ecologists will give focused talks towards building a unique book project that aims to comparatively explore how key urban regions around the world—from Africa, Americas, Australia, Asia and Europe—have debated, contested, protected and maintained parks, urban forests, nature protected areas, or more generally 'green space' and 'functional ecosystems' across time. Please join, listen and discuss from 9 am on October 17.

09.00-09.15    Arrivals and coffee.
09.15-09.30    Introduction of book project by Henrik Ernstson (ACC) and Sverker Sörlin (KTH).
09.30-10.00     Richard A. Walker, University of California, Berkley, USA.
10.15-10.45     Paul Warde, University of East Anglia, UK.
11.00-11.45     Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India.
12.00-12.15     Lance van Sittert, UCT.
12.15-12.30     Lesley Greene, UCT.
12.30-13.00     Concluding discussion.

The book aims to include chapters from different regions on how 'urban nature' has been articulated as of value, what expertise has been drawn upon through time, what social, cultural and political projects that the protection of nature have been part of, and what technologies that have shaped the notion of 'nature' and the notion of 'value' in different locations over time. There will be time for discussions after each talk and at the end. We will stick to the schedule to allow people to join for particular talks.*
About the Speakers
Speakers include distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard A. Walker, environmental historian and geographer from University of California, Berkeley, USA, with extensive research on San Francisco and California, including books as The Conquest of Bread (2004) and The Country in the City (2007), The Capitalist Imperative (1989) and The New Social Economy (1992).


Paul Warde is Reader in history at the University of East Anglia, UK, with core interest in energy use and its relation to economic and environmental change. Also focuses on the history of prediction and modelling and how it has influenced thinking about the environment. Recently concluded The Future of Nature—Documents of Global Change (2013), and Nature's End—History and the Environment (2009), edited with
Sverker Sörlin.

Associate Professor Amita Baviskar from India's Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, with work on the cultural politics of environment, development, resource rights, subaltern resistance and more recently on Delhi's 'bourgeoisie environmentalism' and changing food practices. She has edited several books, including Contested Grounds: Essays on Nature, Culture and Power (Oxford University Press).




Lance van Sittert is at the Department of Historical Studies at UCT and specialises in tracing African environments and their constitutive elements as shifting terrains of social construction and contestation over time. He has published on how fynbos vegetation in and around Cape Town emerged as a social construct and as part of amateur, nationalist and class projects.

Lesley Green is based at the Department of Social Anthropology at UCT and focuses on the relationship between traditional knowledge and sciences in the post-colonial era. She has worked extensively in Brazil and recently lead the Sawyer Seminar Series and a book project on Contested Ecologies asking how different ways of knowing present challenges for democratic processes and post-colonial universities.

Henrik Ernstson has published on the politics and management of urban ecologies and leads two collaborative projects with co-PI's 
between ACC and the Stockholm Resilience Centre—Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies and Socioecological Movements in Urbanized Ecosystems. Environmental historian Professor Sverker Sörlin is from the KTH Division of History and the KTH Environmental Humanities Lab in Stockholm with several books and articles. Together Ernstson and Sörlin are exploring how to draw upon historical research and actor-network theory (ANT) to understand processes of value articulation with local case studies from Cape Town and Stockholm, paired with studies of international networks of value articulation around the notion of 'ecosystem services'. See publication list here.


*) Each speaker will give a response to a concept paper on the book project sent out by Ernstson and Sörlin. These responses will work as input to the extended workshop that carries on until 18 October. This first session, everybody is invited.

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