Responding to scholarship that has emphasised the ecological consequences of the long histories of empire and how, in turn, empires are shaped by environments, Empire and Ecologies took a humanities-centred and multidisciplinary approach to methodological issues and case studies that examined the construction of nature by various forms of imperial power across a range of periods and locations.
The Empire and Ecologies symposium (1-2 July 2021) featured discussions on blue humanities, environmental disaster, extractivism, biodiversity, critical Indigenous studies and ecologies in antiquity. Commissioned as part of the symposium’s panel on ‘creative praxis of empire and ecologies’, Dr Amy Cutler created and produced a new short film, The Video Book of Orchids (2021).
Funded by the UCD Humanities Institute Seed Funding Scheme and the European Research Council (SouthHem project), and supported by the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand, Empire and Ecologies highlighted the research of international collaborators and members of the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand.
Empire and Ecologies aimed to facilitate conversations across transhistorical and transimperial contexts, from imperial ecologies in Antiquity and the imperialism of the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries to forms of ‘new imperialism’ in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and across a range of locations, from colonies and metropoles of Anglophone empire to contexts of empire in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The roundtable on methodologies for studying extractivism included speakers Professor Jennifer Wenzel(Columbia), Professor Katayoun Shafiee (Warwick), Dr Simon Jackson (Birmingham), Professor Sukanya Banerjee (Berkeley), Professor Elizabeth Miller (UC Davis), Chair:Professor John Brannigan (UCD), Director of the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand: Dr Sharae Deckard (UCD).
A key aim of Empire and Ecologies was to support the development of the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand. Members of the research strand organised and convened the symposium’s panels and roundtable. The final symposium programme can be viewed on the Empire and Ecologies website.
Pre-recorded papers were available to view on the Empire and Ecologies website the week before the synchronous panel discussions and roundtable took place on 1-2 July 2021.
Dr Amy Cutler’s commissioned short film,The Video Book of Orchids (2021), is available to view on the Empire and Ecologies website.
Funding for Empire and Ecologies was generously provided by the UCD Humanities Institute Seed Funding Scheme and the European Research Council (SouthHem Project).