- Environmental Humanities
- Multispecies Studies
- Anthropogenic Soils
- Wildlife in the Anthropocene
- Conservation and Recuperation
- South Asia
- Teaching the Anthropocene
- Place-Based Learning
- Body and Mind
Ursula Münster is Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities and the director of the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH). She is currently involved in building up OSEH as a strong multidisciplinary network of environmental scholars, students, artists, activists, and practitioners at UiO, and beyond. She is also committed to experimenting with new forms of learning and teaching in the Anthropocene.
Her research combines approaches from multispecies studies, political ecology, feminist STS, and environmental anthropology to study how more-than-human relationships change and evolve in the Anthropocene. Her long term ethnographic fieldwork in South India has focused on protected forests and the effects of resource extraction and forest governance on the relationships between people and wildlife at the forest frontier. Her focus on interspecies conflict and care in India contributes to debates on conservation and the possibilities of coexistence in anthropogenic environments.
Trained as social and cultural anthropologist in Mexico (Escuela National de Anthropología e Historia) and Germany (PhD 2006, Habilitation 2018 at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich), she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural South India (Tamil Nadu and Kerala).
Before joining UiO, Ursula was Director of Academic Programs at the Rachel Carson Center of Environment and Society (RCC) at LMU Munich. She has also been a visiting scholar at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore, India, at the Center for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, India, and at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at the University of California Berkeley, USA.
Her research interests include multispecies ethnography, political ecology, wildlife conservation in the Anthropocene, extinction studies, gender, and practices of more-than-human care. She is currently editing her ethnographic monograph with the working title: "Encountering Wildlife: Conflicts, Care and Convicilaity in a South Indian Forest." In August 2022, she will lead the large multidisciplinary project "Anthropogenic Soils", funded by the Research Council of Norway (fellesløft).
At UiO, Ursula Münster has recently been involved in building up the Honours Certificate in Environmental Humanities and Sciences where Master students from all disciplines learn about and find ways of engaging with the environmental crisis. Her teaching crosses the disciplines and takes students out of the classroom to engage with the complex naturecultures of the Anthropocene. She has taught courses at all levels, including graduate seminars and PhD schools, in the fields of environmental humanities, multispecies studies, environmental anthropology, political ecology, and gender studies.
In process, Encountering Wildlife: Conflicts, Care, and Conviviality in a South Indian Forest, Habilitation-thesis.
In process, Die Gute Frau: Hochkastige Weiblichkeit im ländlichen Tamil Nadu. Südindien (The Auspicious Wife: Gender and Femininity in Rural South India), Lit Verlag: Münster
2022. “Troubling Methods in the Anthropocene. A Roundtable Discussion” in: Bubandt et al.: “Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene: Critical Description, Curiosity and Collaboration in the Study of Multispecies Worlds”. University of Minnesota Press (with Kristin Hastrup and Anna Tsing).
2021. “Pharmaceutical Care: Diclofenac, a Pharmacon of More-Than-Human Health.”Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology, Fieldsights, January 26 (with Daniel Münster)
2020. “Lantana Invades Teak Plantations and Turns Elephants Violent”. In: Tsing, Anna L.; Deger, Jennifer; Saxena, Alder Keleman and Feifei Zou (eds.), The Feral Atlas: The More-Than-Human Anthropocene. Stanford University Press, doi.org/10.21627/2020fa.
2019. “Teaching the Environmental Humanities”. In Environmental Humanities 11 (2), pp. 427–460 (with O' Gorman, Emily; van Dooren, Thom; Adamson, Joni; Mauch, Christof; Sörlin, Sverker et al.), https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-7754545
2017. “Forest Atmospheres: Ecological Nostalgia in a Teak Plantation”. In: Soziale Ästhetik, Atmosphäre und Medialität: Beiträge aus der Ethnologie. Lit Verlag: Berlin, 61-72, ISBN 978-3-643-13911-5
2017. “The Sons of Salem Ali: Avian Care in the Western Ghats of South India”. RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society 2017 (1): 67–75, doi.org/10.5282/rcc/7776
2016. “Working for the Forest: The Ambivalent Intimacies of Human–Elephant Collaboration in South Indian Wildlife Conservation”. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 81 (3): 425–47, https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2014.969292
2016. “Multispecies Studies: Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness”. Environmental Humanities 8 (2): 1–24 (with Thom Van Dooren und Eben Kirksey), https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3527695
2016. “The Viral Creep: Elephants and Herpes in Times of Extinction”. Environmental Humanities 8 (1): 118–24 (with Celia Lowe), https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3527749
2015. “Work, Knowledge and Subaltern Subjectivities in South Indian Nature Conservation.” Rivista Degli Studi Orientali Nuova Serie 88 (Suppliment 2): 197–214.
2015. “Multispecies Ethnography” (peer-reviewed). Entry in John Jackson (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Anthropology. Oxford: Oxford University Press (with Piers Locke), DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199766567-0130
2012. “In the Jungle of Law: The Implementation of the Forest Rights Act in Kerala.” Economic & Political Weekly 47 (19): 38–45 (with Suma Vishnudas)
2012. “Consuming the Forest in an Environment of Crisis: Nature Tourism, Forest Conservation, and Neoliberal Agriculture in South India.” Development and Change 43 (1): 205–27 (with Daniel Münster), https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.2012.01754.x
2017. Troubling Species: Care and Belonging in a Relational World, RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society (1), (edited as part of the Multispecies Editing Collective), doi.org/10.5282/rcc/7768
2017. Soziale Ästhetik, Atmosphäre und Medialität: Beiträge aus der Ethnologie. Lit Verlag: Berlin, (edited with Philipp Zehmisch, Jens Zickgraf and Claudia Lang). ISBN 978-3-643-13911-5
2016. Multispecies Studies, Environmental Humanities 8 (2), (edited with Thom Van Dooren, Eben Kirksey, Deborah Bird Rose, Matthew Chrulew and Anna Tsing), https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3527695
2014. Asian Environments: Connections Across Borders, Landscapes, and Times, RCC Perspectives 3 (edited with Gunnel Cederlöf and Shiho Satsuka), doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6331
2012. Fields and Forests: Ethnographic Perspectives on Environmental Globalization, RCC Perspectives 5 (edited with Daniel Münster and Stefan Dorondel), doi.org/10.5282/rcc/5595
2016. “Challenges of Coexistence: Human-Elephant Conflicts in Wayanad, Kerala, South India”. In Locke, Piers and Jane Buckingham (eds.), Conflict, Negotiation, Coexistence: Human-Elephant Relations in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press: 321-352, DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199467228.003.0013
2014. “Invisible Labor: Adivasi Workers in the History of South Indian Forest Conservation.” In Münster, Ursula, Gunnel Cederlöf, and Shiho Satsuka (eds.), Asian Environments: Governing Nature, Negotiating Knowledge, Constructing Subjectivities, RCC Perspectives 3: 53–58, doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6345
2014. “Introduction” to Münster, Ursula, Gunnel Cederlöf, and Shiho Satsuka (eds.), Asian Environment: Connections across Borders, Landscapes, and Times, RCC Perspectives 3: 5–7 (with Gunnel Cederlöf and Shiho Satsuka), https://doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6331
2012. “Introduction” to Martin, Gary, Diana Mincyte, and Ursula Münster, (eds.), Why Do We Value Diversity, RCC Perspectives 9: 5–7 (with Gary Martin and Diana Mincyte), doi.org/10.5282/rcc/5599
2012. “Contentious Diversities and Dangerous Species: Biocultural Diversity in the Context of Human-Animal Conflicts.” In Martin, Gary, Diana Mincyte, and Ursula Münster (eds.), Why Do We Value Diversity, RCC Perspectives 12: 31–36, doi.org/10.5282/rcc/5599
2012. “Introduction“ to Münster, Ursula, Daniel Münster, and Stefan Dorondel (eds.), Fields and Forests: Ethnographic Perspectives on Environmental Globalization, RCC Perspectives 5: 5–10 (with Daniel Münster and Stefan Dorondel, doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6331
2012. “Human-Animal Conflicts in Kerala: Elephants and Ecological Modernity on the Agrarian Frontier in South Asia.” In Münster, Ursula, Daniel Münster, and Stefan Dorondel (eds.), Fields and Forests: Ethnographic Perspectives on Environmental Globalization, RCC Perspectives 5: 5–10 (with Daniel Münster), doi.org/10.5282/rcc/5595