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This panel invites papers that examine the conditions of hunter-gatherer societies and their epistemologies and ontologies in the current world of conservation.
This panel invites papers that examine the conditions of hunter-gatherer societies and their epistemologies and ontologies in the current world of conservation. Conservation provides particular ways of thinking about animals and people, which are usually not compatible with hunter-gatherer world views. Whether they choose to or not, hunter-gatherers are frequently drawn into conservation projects, simply because of where they live. In the last few decades, with increasing species loss and the growth of projects to address problems like climate change, such involvements have gathered pace, with corresponding threats to hunter-gatherer autonomies and ontologies, and changes to their definitions of the environment (especially animals). In this panel, we will investigate the kinds of conservation projects that hunter-gatherers are involved in, whether as active participants or as marginalised workers, how hunter-gatherer access to land and resources are threatened or promoted through these projects, what changes-if any—can be detected in hunter-gatherer ontologies and practices, and how we may bridge the chasm between conservation and hunter-gatherer definitions of the environment. In particular, we hope to hear what hunter-gatherers have to say about the environment and what they would like anthropologists to do.