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Guests at the Division 2024

Every year we welcome several visiting scholars and other academic staff. Some come to teach in courses or in other ways collaborate with us, others come mainly to do their own research. One thing they all have in common is that they become a big part of the Division.

Oscar Hartman Davies

Oscar Hartman Davies is a Social Sciences Engagement Fellow at the School of Geography and the Environment and the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery at the University of Oxford. He is an environmental geographer whose work centres around the emerging interdisciplinary field of ‘digital ecologies’, and his recently defended PhD thesis considers the mobilisation of seabirds as sentinels of environmental change from the 1950s to the present, and seabirds’ current entanglement with digital transformations in ocean governance. His current fellowship seeks to integrate social scientific insights on effective participatory approaches to nature’s recovery into the work of Youngwilders – a youth-led nature recovery organisation in the UK - and the European Young Rewilders network.

Oscar is also involved in ongoing collaborative research considering the emergence of new forms of ‘microbial citizenship’ in the context of public engagements with freshwater sewage pollution in England, as well as the emergence and practices of connectivity as an organising principle for landscape-scale conservation projects. While at the KTH Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Oscar will be working on publishing some of the work from his thesis and other recent research, as well as working with colleagues from the Anthropocene Laboratory at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences towards a collaborative workshop in late 2024.

Period: March to June

Rithma Kreie Engelbreth Larsen

Rithma Kreie Engelbreth Larsen is a PhD candidate at the Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Aarhus University, Denmark. Rithma’s doctoral research historicizes the idea of “Indigenous knowledge forms” as it features within institutions like IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and IPBES (The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). As Indigenous knowledge holders have increasingly been invited to contribute to questions of climate mitigation and natural management since the 1980s, it has become more urgent to examine the extent and nature of this epistemological pluralization within institutions of climate and biodiversity science. Rithma focuses in her research on the challenges that appear on a discursive and conceptual level, as she examines the inclusion through an analytical lens of epistemic injustice. As such, her research is situated across the disciplines of intellectual history, STS, the history of science, nature, and the environment, and the philosophy of science.

Rithma’s research interests include ecofeminism and posthumanism, decolonial philosophies, and the history of knowledge. During her stay at KTH Division of History of Science, Technology, and Environment, she will be working on an article on epistemic pluralism within IPBES, and another article that historicizes the recurring debates on what is often summarized as the Ecological Indian trope. Rithma will be affiliated with the newly established Centre for Anthropocene History as well the Environmental Humanities Laboratory during her stay.

Period: February to July

Madeleine Ary Hahne

Madeleine is a Gates Scholar and PhD candidate at the university of Cambridge studying how religious people in different parts of the world think about climate change. In particular, she is studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as “Mormon”), and has recently completed her fieldwork in Southern Utah, Samoa, and London.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a highly centralized religion which prioritizes de-localizing spaces and unifying practice across the globe. However, on the question of climate change, the church is nearly silent, leaving believers to develop their own opinions. What little data is available about climate change beliefs among American church members show that they are more likely to dismiss the claims of anthropogenic climate change than their otherwise identical demographic counterparts. This suggests that something about religious belief drives skepticism. However, anecdotal evidence (rigorous research here is scant to non-existent) indicates that, unlike their American co-religionists, international church members are not so likely to question climate science. This indicates that while the religion often acts as a centripetal force, driving adherents toward unified belief and practice, the absence of climate guidance from leadership gives weight to the centrifugal forces of place and results in divergent climate beliefs.

Madeleine's research seeks to understand exactly how these forces interact to produce climate beliefs among church members. In doing so, it will provide answers to questions about how religion and geography influence each other in forming climate action beliefs.

Period: January to June