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Evid04b


Many are the pities of history: animals, plants and other forms of life in the historiography of the Global South II 
Convenors:
Mark Harris (University of St Andrews)
Nádia Farage (University of Campinas)
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Stream:
Evidence
Sessions:
Wednesday 31 March, 16:30-18:00 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

How did colonial administrations conceive of responsibility in the context of Southern colonial histories? How did the colonised conceive of the world that sustained them? By focusing on responsibility towards other species and environment, our ambition is to encompass dissident and critical voices.

Long Abstract

The colonial histories of animals, plants and other forms of life remains an incipient area of research in historical anthropology. Indeed, the historical anthropology that has flourished since the 1980s has been successfully devoted to the struggles of socio-diversity, especially in the colonial histories of the South. Biodiversity has not received the same level of attention. As a rule, biodiversity was treated as "landscape" in historical narratives, the passive background against which the tragedy of colonial history had taken place. Nevertheless, recent studies are challenging the trend and pointing out that histories of biodiversity, species loss and environmental degradation, are tied up with the loss of sociodiversity, and are interwoven with the histories of colonial exploitation. This panel invites researchers seeking to revise Southern colonial histories in order to highlight the relevance of other species and/or inter-species relationships in the colonial process. How did colonial administration conceive of responsibility? How did the colonised conceive of theirs and the world which sustained them? Furthermore, focusing responsibility towards other species and environment, our will debate encompass critical and dissident voices. In particular, we would like to focus on the limits of evidence in answering these questions. What kinds of evidence are being used? Assessing environmental histories and the specific contribution anthropology can bring to such a review, the panel will welcome case studies of species' resistances or alliances which altered, if only for a brief time/space, the course of exploitation - be they flowing rivers, impenetrable forests, flies or uncontrollable wildlife.

Accepted papers: