Environmental Humanities on the New Pangaea: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ecological Globalization

Dr Heather Swanson (Aarhus) will give a talk on accelerated biological exchange and ecological globalization.

Road with trees around.

Dr Heather Swanson's presentation will explore methods for probing how practices of trade and management connect geographically distant places in ways that profoundly shape landscape ecologies. Illustration photo: pixabay.com

For millennia, humans have moved animals and plants during their long-distance travels. But today, plants and animals are traveling at unprecedented rates – with new and sometimes unexpected effects.

New Pangaea’s Emergence

As ships and planes move growing quantities of goods, they connect ecological regions that have had little biological exchange between them. Supply chains typically transport more than they intend: jellyfish travel in ballast water, grass species in packing crates, and insects on nursery plants. Some scientists have referred to such events collectively as the emergence of a “New Pangaea.”

Yet in contrast to the crustal plate movements that formed the super-continent Pangaea on a scale of millions of years, the New Pangaea’s emergence has been distinctly sudden, with its patterns of species dispersal following paths of colonial settlement and industrial development.

How can interdisciplinary and multiscalar approaches to the environmental humanities help scholars to better probe these processes of ecological globalization?

By exploring empirical cases of introduced trout and wood-boring insects, this presentation will explore methods for probing how practices of trade and management connect geographically distant places in ways that profoundly shape landscape ecologies.

About the Lecturer

Heather Anne Swanson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Aarhus University, as well as the co-director of the Aarhus University Centre for Environmental Humanities.

A scholar with an interest in the histories and politics of environmental change, Swanson has published on topics such as fisheries management, agricultural practices, and railroad construction.

She is a co-editor of "Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet" (Minnesota 2017) and "Domestication Gone Wild: Politics and Practices of Multispecies Relations" (Duke 2018).

 

Published Nov. 2, 2017 10:49 AM - Last modified Nov. 15, 2017 11:03 AM