Jonathan Carruthers-Jones has published a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Rewilding, “CORES AND CORRIDORS: Natural landscape linkages to rewild protected areas and wildlife refuges”. The Routledge Handbook of Rewilding provides a comprehensive overview of the history, theory, and current practices of rewilding. Rewilding offers a transformational paradigm shift in conservation thinking, and as such is increasingly of interest to academics, policymakers, and practitioners.
Graham Huggan has published a new article in the Ecozona: European Journal of Literature, Culture & Environment. “From the Serengeti to the Bavarian Forest, and back again: Bernhard Grzimel, celebrity conservation, and the transnational politics of national parks” is free to download on the journal website.
Corridor Talk PI Graham Huggan is looking for contributions to a special issue on Conservation Humanities. Broadly defined, conservation humanities is an emerging paradigm that exists within the larger multi- and interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities, and which aims at using humanities-based methods—textual and discourse analysis, philosophical and historical inquiry, ethnographic fieldwork—to shed light on contemporary conservation issues and problems, paramount among them being today’s alarmingly intensifying levels of biodiversity loss.
Defining conservation humanities as a paradigm rather than a field is not just a reflection on the fact that its academic status has yet to be fully established. It also suggests that its main value, at least at this preliminary stage, lies in conceptualizing conservation problems rather than in seeking the kinds of direct evidence that might help to solve them, and indeed it shares environmental humanities’ general suspicion towards top-down, solution-driven approaches that fail to take account of local ecological knowledge or confront conspicuously unequal distributions of wealth. However, the task of conservation humanities is not limited to exploring ongoing conservation issues from a wide range of cross-disciplinary humanities perspectives; it also asks questions about the changing meanings and functions of conservation and the humanities themselves. This Special Issue, the first dedicated to its subject, will ask what role the humanities can play in addressing historical conservation issues, and what humanities scholars can add to contemporary conservation debates.
For information on how to submit your abstract for consideration, please see the Humanities journal website.
Corridor Talk team member Pavla Šimková presented a paper at the 12th Congress of Czech Historians that took place from 20-22 September 2022 in Ústí nad Labem. Her talk, entitled “Nature without Borders? History of Transboundary Nature Protection in the Bavarian Forest and Šumava,” was part of a section focusing on environmental discourses in Czech and Slovak historiography.
How can the humanities contribute to conservation practice? This was the overarching question that the Corridor Talk team members Jonathan Carruthers-Jones, Pavla Šimková, and Eveline de Smalen probed with the participants of their panel at the European Society of Environmental History (ESEH) conference in Bristol in early July. At the “Conservation Humanities Café,” chaired by Katie Ritson, the team opened with a presentation of the work currently underway at the three study sites in Europe.
In the following café part of the session we broke into three groups, each exploring and assessing the merits, opportunities, and limitations of humanities disciplines in informing and developing sustainable conservation practices in national parks in Europe. One group discussed, among other topics, the potential dangers of using a single landscape or species to symbolize a larger issue, concluding that certain conservation imageries can in fact be counterproductive. Participants also pointed out that even though humanities interventions into conservation debates oftentimes fail to produce an immediate practical effect on the ground, it is still meaningful to keep taking part in the conversation.
The group discussing participatory audio-visual methods highlighted the importance of storytelling in sustainability and conservation. Documenting the stories told by diverse communities, both local and non-local, as they share experiences and perspectives on challenging conservation issues, is a critical first step. Finding ways to then share these stories and the accompanying research insights more widely was considered a key contribution from audio-visual methods to address conservation challenges. Looking forward, ‘gently capturing’ and sharing these stories was also considered critical to both learning lessons from history and building alternative landscape imaginaries going forward.
The final group discussed the challenges for the humanities in bridging the gap between humanities research and conservation practices and policy. Participants suggested that the first key to approaching practitioners and policymakers is a place-based approach with a geographically defined region at its basis on which researchers, practitioners and policymakers can find common ground. The second requirement is long-term research that provides time for researchers to build and maintain networks. In the current academic and funding landscape, this is difficult as much research is done through third-party funding which is often short-term and sometimes very short-term. Especially for early-career researchers, this makes this kind of work next to impossible.
As one of the opening sessions of the conference, covering environmental history as well as a wider set of disciplinary lenses, the café itself was also considered a story worth sharing: two members of the Corridor Talk team, Katie and Jonathan, were interviewed for the ESEH radio blog, which will be online soon!
One of the pick-up pamphlets available at the administration centre for Nationalpark Bayrischer Wald (Bavarian Forest National Park) in Grafenau carries the title ‘Grenzenlose Wald: Wildnis entdecken’ (‘discover the borderless wild forest’). The title is misleading in several respects. Bavarian Forest National Park (BFNP) occupies a large expanse of mixed forest, some of it quite remote and parts of it strictly protected, but it is by no means borderless and, even allowing for discrepant understandings of the never-easy-to-translate German term ‘Wildnis’, it is arguably only selected areas within it that qualify as ‘wild’.Continue reading “Bavarian Forest & Šumava Field Trip”
After the two workshops on Teaching the Wadden Sea through Literature, Eveline de Smalen has put together a teaching resource on literature and the Wadden Sea. The resource lays out different approaches to bringing the Wadden Sea and its communities, geography and ecology together with knowledge and insights from literature and can be used in creating advanced university courses in Scandinavian, Danish, German or Dutch language and literature or comparative literary studies programmes, and for integrating literature into courses in other disciplines. You can find it at www.waddensealiterature.com.
George Holmes and Katie Ritson travelled to London in May to represent Corridor Talk at the AHRC-DFG Workshop “Perspectives on UK-German Arts and Humanities Research.” The workshop, which took place over two days, involved over sixty delegates from the two funding organisations and a range of universities across the UK and Germany. Besides giving a short presentation on the project, George and Katie contributed to the focus group on “Narrating” and to conversations on the future of the AHRC-DFG bilateral funding scheme and to UK-German cooperation more generally.
In December, Eveline de Smalen attended the 15th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium, where she presented on Teaching the Wadden Sea through Literature, the project she is working on as part of Corridor Talk. At this symposium, panelists in 7 different thematic sessions met after their panel presentations to discuss sets of recommendations for science and management of the Wadden Sea World Heritage in the context of climate change. These recommendations have now been collated in a report, which will serve as input for the Trilateral Governmental Conference on the protection of the Wadden Sea which will be held later this year in Wilhelmshaven. You can find the recommendations from Eveline’s panel on the social aspects of sustainable development in the Wadden Sea below, and you can download the full report here.Continue reading “Recommendations from the 15th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium”
Another article has been accepted for publication in the context of the ‘Corridor Talk’ project! Graham Huggan’s short piece focuses on the work of the German ‘celebrity conservationist’, Bernhard Grzimek, situating it in the context of historical and contemporary debates about the political and ecological importance of national parks.Continue reading “Bernhard Grzimek and the Bavarian Forest National Park”