Til bevillingsoversigt

Innovative Approaches to Ecological Globalization: Anthropology on the New Pangaea

The Carlsberg Foundation’s Distinguished Associate Professor Fellowships

What

I am building a research group that focuses on ecological globalisation - i.e. how practices of trade, development and management remake ecologies by connecting geographically distant places. The world's continents have been separated for millions of years, and their flora and fauna have diverged; now, our industrial transportation practices are increasingly mixing them. As an anthropologist, I ask how my discipline can contribute to understandings of these new transcontinental connections and their effects. My key questions include: what social and historical factors shape species introductions, how new species disrupt existing social and natural relationships and create new ones, and what conflicts emerge over how to live with animals and plants that arrive in new locales?

Why

My project is important because it jointly uses the insights of the arts and sciences to address ongoing debates about introduced species and their management. It brings scholarship on political economy, social history, and cultural practices into closer dialogue with biological research on non-native species. In doing so, it aims to contribute to building a new field called environmental humanities (EH). EH asks how the humanities can contribute to addressing pressing environmental concerns. One of the challenges of EH is to develop effective modes of interdisciplinary engagement; my project directly addresses this challenge within the context of species introductions and invasive species management.

How

My research group will address the questions described above through in-depth case studies that combine ethnographic and historical/archival methods with serious attention to bioscience research and collaborations with natural scientists. It builds on my previous research on fisheries management in Japan and Chile, as well as my recently initiated project on how wooden shipping pallets move insects between once-distant forests, killing trees not adapted to their presence, and creating novel management controversies. Because my group aims to advance a new field, it will focus not only on cutting-edge research but also on talent-development, creating an environment for "interdisciplinary cross-training" where young scholars can think and work creatively across the arts and sciences.

SSR

My project contributes to better understandings of the causes and effects of global environmental change, one of the urgent issues of our times. Species introductions are a widespread problem with no easy solution. Introduced animals and plants often pose complicated management dilemmas that are entangled with histories of colonialism and inequality. Better management practices will undoubtedly require the kind of nuanced attention to social and natural histories that this project seeks to develop.