Higher seminar “Making Futures in End Times: Nature conservation in the Anthropocene"

The acknowledgement of the Anthropocene epoch, as a period in the earth’s geological history in which humans have become the primary force of ecological, geological and climatological change, has generated comment across a wide range of academic and public fora. But what does it mean to conserve “nature” in a “post-wild” world (Maris 2011)? The recognition that we currently live in a period in which the world is experiencing the largest mass extinction of plant and animal species since the time of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago has mobilised significant resources and conservation efforts. But how are these new concerns with the conservation of biodiversity related to broader developments in the late modern bioeconomy? How do they make and fold time? And what new forms of value and latent life are generated by their operations? Drawing on collaborative work with two such initiatives – the work of ex-situ agrobiodiversity conservation currently being undertaken by Nordgen/the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway and the cryopreservation of endangered animal DNA by the Frozen Ark in the UK-this paper explores the different ways of assembling, curating, caring for and designing the future which are performed in the work of each of these organisations, and how such ex-situ conservation efforts resource the development of new future worlds. We frame this discussion within the context of work currently being undertaken as part of Heritage Futures – a large, international collaborative research programme involving a team of 15 researchers working with 25 different partner organisations across more than a dozen countries.

Esther Breithoff is Lecturer in Contemporary Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London, and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow. Her research has ranged across a number of different topics—including war, natural and cultural heritage, nuclear and petroleum industries, dictatorships and biobanking—but traces a common set of interests in the relationships between conflicts, resources, recycling and rights across the human/non-human divide in the Anthropocene era. She is an affiliated researcher on the Heritage Futures research programme.

Rodney Harrison is Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow. He is the (co)author or (co)editor of more than a dozen books and guest edited journal volumes and over 80 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He is principal investigator of the Heritage Futures research programme. The co-authored monograph “Heritage Futures: Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices” will be published by UCL Press in 2020.

Tid: Må 2019-11-11 kl 13.15 - 14.45

Föreläsare: Esther Breithoff (Birkbeck, University of London) and Rodney Harrison (University College London)

Plats: Seminar room, Teknikringen 74D, 5th floor

Tillhör: Avdelningen för historiska studier av teknik, vetenskap och miljö
Senast ändrad: 2019-09-30