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The Environment Around Us: Relational Approaches as Common Ground 
Jonatan Palmblad (Rachel Carson Center, LMU Munich)
Laura Menatti (KLI, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research)
Frank Zelko (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
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Jonatan Palmblad (Rachel Carson Center, LMU Munich)
Laura Menatti (KLI, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research)
Expanding the Practice of Environmental History
Room 19
Tuesday 20 August, -, -Wednesday 21 August, -
Time zone: Europe/Helsinki
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Short Abstract:

The environment, now a monolithic term, once referred to the relationality between organisms/agents and their surroundings. This panel looks at the history of the concept and how it has been used in different fields, and the possibilities of rethinking its use today to further interdisciplinarity.

Long Abstract:

What is the environment and in what ways has it been conceptualized, thought, and applied in the last entury? Acknowledging that the term "environment" has been used in different ways across the disciplines, this panel aims at presenting different historical examples—with each paper centering on one. While the monolithic notion of "the environment" has played an important role in the history of environmentalism, this panel seeks to challenge the idea that the term should refer to something discrete, abstract, and/or universal. We are especially interested in relational understandings, through which the environment is taken literally as that which environs an organism, subject, or entity—and the way this has been expressed across and beyond academic fields. This includes but is not limited to healthcare and medicine, philosophy, ecology, biology, psychology, and non-academic people and practices. Moreover, while historical inquiries may be ends in themselves, we believe that they in this case may have special relevance today: the so-called "relational turn" in the humanities and social scienes, often without using the term, has opened up a bridge to some of the older ways of using "environment" to make sense of the world. Hence relational approaches across disciplines could help foster methodological—and perhaps ontological—convergences, thereby making the environment a "common ground" for both scientists and scholars. Common ground and a common theoretical language, we believe, are necessary for an interdisciplinary approach to the environmental and climatic crisis. Inter- and cross-disciplinary papers with a historical perspective are welcome.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 20 August, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 20 August, 2024, -
Session 3 Wednesday 21 August, 2024, -