WEBINAR: Military Snails: Conservation and Colonization in Hawai‘i. Environmental Humanities Lecture

What happens when actors with different interests claims access to the same natural and cultural site? OSEH professor II Thom van Dooren explores some of the complexities of conservation in the context of deep histories and ongoing realities of colonization and militarization.

Snail with house on a green leaf.

Achatinella mustelina.

Photo: David Sischo

Mākua Valley on the island of O‘ahu is a place in which snail conservation, the US Army, and Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) claims to access land and cultural sites are brought into dynamic tension. Over roughly the past 100 years, the Army have used this valley for live-fire and other exercises, excluding people while also blowing up and burning the habitat of critically endangered land snails and other species. Snails and local people are drawn together here into a powerful multispecies solidarity centered on efforts to conserve the biological and cultural heritage of this place. Importantly, these efforts have also rippled out beyond the valley, through the Army’s subsequent investment in snail conservation in Hawai'i, but also through its ongoing activities in other parts of the Pacific region that continue to threaten snails and their peoples, while also fostering their own dynamic forms of solidarity and resistance.

This lecture will explore some of the complexities and compromises of conservation in the context of deep histories and ongoing realities of both colonization and militarization.

Thom van Dooren

Thom van Dooren is Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney, and Professor II in the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Oslo. His research and writing focus on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (2014), The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (2019), and co-editor of Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations (2017), all published by Columbia University Press. www.thomvandooren.org

Tags: Environmental Humanities, HF, IKOS, OSEH, Conservation
Published Feb. 19, 2020 5:08 PM - Last modified Jan. 21, 2021 2:44 PM