UCL Anthropology


Previous Seminars

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2021-22

Autumn 2021

5 October - Introductions and welcome
Jack Jenkins Hill (UCL HERG): 'Revolutionary Forests: Conservation, Sovereignty and Revolution in the forests of Southern Myanmar'

12 October
MScs from the 2020-21 cohort discuss their experience

19 October
Wolfram Dressler (University of Melbourne, Department of Geography): Defending lands and forests: NGO histories, everyday struggles, and extraordinary violence in the Philippines *Online

Across the Global South, authoritarian rule and extractivist agendas have intensified the harassment and murder of activists protecting remnant forest frontiers. In 2017, Global Witness documented the brutal murders of 207 defenders, the deadliest year on record. In the Philippines, violence against defenders has recently accelerated under the increasingly authoritarian regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. Excluding drug-related extrajudicial killings, an additional 30 murders were documented in the country in 2018, the highest number of such killings in any country that year. Largely because of expanding plantations and mines, the frontier province of Palawan has experienced a surge in land grabbing and illegal logging, driving defender harassment, intimidation, and death. While scholars have explored the trends and patterns behind violence against defenders in Southeast Asia, few have considered how the rural poor emerge as activists, the role of NGOs in this process, and how defenders negotiate their activism with everyday life and livelihood. This study fills this gap by ethnographically examining how NGOs on Palawan island mobilize rural communities to shape defender practices and by exploring why defenders do what they do amid mounting threats against them, their loved ones, and their comrades across the island.

26 October
The Royal Anthropological Institute online conference on Anthropology and conservation runs all this week. Several HERG staff and students are holding panels and presenting papers. There will be no HERG session this week, but you are encouraged to view the RAI programme and attend sessions of interest. *Online

2 November
Liana Chua (Cambridge and Brunel): ‘Only the Orangutans get a Life Jacket: Uncommoning Responsibility in a Global Conservation Nexus’

American Ethnologist, Co-authored by Liana Chua (Cambridge), Hannah Fair (Oxford), Viola Schreer, Anna Stępień and Paul Hasan Thung (all Brunel)

Reading Week - No HERG Session

16 November
Sahib Singh (UCL HERG): Affect, Ethics, and Resistance: The Political Ontology of Resource Extraction in Central India *Online

23 November
Sonia Dhanda (UCL HERG and Kew Gardens): Roots, routes, and regulations: the sustainability of the medicinal plant trade in the UK

30 November
Ashish Kothari (Environmentalist: Atmiya Institute of Technology & Science, co-founders of Kalpavriksh environment and development NGO): Eco-swaraj / Radical Ecological Democracy: Alternatives to Development for Justice and Sustainability *Online

The COVID19 crisis has sharply exposed how ecological devastation for human use rebounds on us, and how a certain model of ‘development’ has left hundreds of millions of people without a secure economic and social base, and created the conditions for more disasters (climate, disease, conflicts). This and other ongoing global crises, built on the structures and relations of patriarchy, racism, capitalism, statism, and anthropocentrism, have prompted a search for alternatives. Are there systemic alternative practices and frameworks that can challenge these structures of injustice and unsustainability as also illuminate pathways to a sustainable and equitable future?  The presentation will focus on one such frameworks of transformation, Eco-swaraj (Radical Ecological Democracy), but also bring in others like buen vivir, the commons, and degrowth. Many of these arise from grassroots initiatives at meeting needs in sustainable and egalitarian ways, across the world. This includes initiatives at meeting human needs and aspirations through direct or radical democracy, localized economies embedded in ecological and cultural landscapes, notions of human well-being that relate to actual needs of people and to qualitative values like satisfaction and social security, democratic knowledge and technology generation, and sustaining cultural diversity and exchange. It stresses that the locus of all such activity be neither in the state nor in corporations, but in local communities and collectives of various kinds. It proposes that a just and sustainable recovery, out of COVID, has to be multi-coloured, a rainbow new deal with a diversity of solutions and approaches, which can also help avoid or build resilience against future such crises. It also shows how these approaches go well beyond what are either superficial and status quoist like ‘green growth’ or seriously inadequate like ‘green new deal’ and ‘sustainable development’.

7 December
MSc AED: Writing grant applications

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2020-21

Autumn 2020

6 Oct - Introductory session
In person chair: MA Moreau

13 Oct - MSc student projects AED, UCL Anthropology (2019-20 cohort)
In person chair: Lewis Daly

20 Oct - Laura Kor (NERC PhD, Kings College/ Kew Botanic Gardens/ HERG) Conservation of useful plant species in Colombia and the wider Andean Community
In person chair: Lewis Daly

27 Oct - Dr Bikku Bikku (PDRF, UCL Anthropology) Mobile Pastoralism and Conservation: The Raika of   Rajasthan in a Changing World
In person chair: Adam Runacres

3 Nov - Dr Rafael Chiaravalloti (PDRF, Smithsonian) The Pantanal wetland: cattle ranching and sustainability?
In person chair: Jerome Lewis


17 Nov - Dorien Braam (PhD, University of  Cambridge) Researching zoonotic disease risks in displaced populations: bridging theory and practice
In person chair: Alex Tasker

24 Nov - Dr Luke Whaley (Sheffield University) The politics of believing: understanding how worldviews shape access to land and water in Eastern Uganda
In person chair: Emily Woodhouse

1 Dec - Dr Lye Tuck Po (Universiti Sains Malaysia) The noise that conservation discounts: How are the Batek’s ways of acquiring knowledge relevant to primate conservation?
In person chair: Jerome Lewis

8 Dec - Dr Ife Okafor Yarwood (University of St Andrews) Maritime safety and security in Africa and the promise of Blue Economy    
In person chair: MA Moreau

READING WEEK: grant-writing session for MSc AED students (KH)

Summer 2021

27 April
Professor Dan Brockington (Director, Sheffield Institute for International Development): This Flooded Land: Conservation Social Science and Global Priority Setting

4 May
Dr Richard Friend (University of York, Department of Environment and Geography): Fishing for influence: the challenges of engaged research in natural resource governance

11 May
Dr Chris Sandbrook and Trishant Simlai (University of Cambridge, Department of Geography): Impacts of conservation surveillance and its intersections with gender, caste and class

18 May
Dr Justin Kenrick (Senior Policy Advisor, Forest Peoples Programme; also of G2G, XR Scotland and Action Porty): What are anthropologists for in a world that is burning?

25 May
Dr Kay Lewis-Jones (Senior policy advisor on Nature and People at Defra): Inclusive Landscapes: Working with England's National Parks to Connect More People with Nature


Spring 2021

12 January
Dr Iokine Rodriguez (School of International Development, UEA): The role of action- research in revitalizing identities to transform environmental conflicts

19 January
Prof. Bert de Vries (Umm al-Jimal Archaeological Project, Jordan): Community Engagement in Archaeology at Umm al-Jimal: Using Archaeology  to Reintegrate the  Local Community into its Historic Natural/Cultural Environments

26 January
Prof. Christian Kull (Institut de géographie et durabilité, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland): New forests and new forest people in central Vietnam: Questions for sustainability and interdisciplinarity

2 February
Dr. Christine Noe (Geography Department, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania): Mountain Students: Changing Meanings of Land, Wealth and Education in Tanzania

9 February
Nikki Saville (UCL Anthropology, HERG/ AED): The transformative landscape of ecological resistance for youth activists: resisting high speed rail in the UK

16 February: Reading week – no seminar

23 February
Dr. Jean Chamel (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich): Ritual Animism. Indigenous Performances, Interbeings Ceremonies and Alternative Spiritualities in the Rights of Nature Networks

2 March
Fiacha O’Dowda (UCL Anthropology, HERG/ AED): Metabolism, Markets, and the Senses: Conceptualising Connectedness in the Malagasy Swidden

9 March
Dr. Carolina Comandulli (UCL Anthropology, HERG/ AED): A collective above and beyond the State: contemporary world-making in an Ashaninka village (Acre/Brazil)

16 March
Rosalie Allain (UCL Anthropology, HERG/ AED): Manioc, Machines and Gold: Livelihoods and the Temporal Ambivalence of Scarcity among Miners in Cameroon

23 March: Reading week – no seminar

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2019-20

Autumn 2019

1 October: Introductory session
Jerome Lewis: The Flourishing Diversity Summit: UCL 2019

8 October: 2018-9 MSc AED student cohort
Elisabeth Kuroyedov: Impacts of Forest Rights Legislation for Van Gujjar Pastoralist lifeways in North India
Deimante Lersten: 'Plastic Pollution in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala'
Edoardo Superchi: "The seed of Sustainable Development: How rural development and environmental conservation interplay in Mexican Sembrando Vida"

Sanjana Ajith: "Jaun Karmi: Understanding Sex Workers' Relationship with their Work Through a Labour Perspective"

15 October
Agnese Marino: Effects of the Common Agricultural Policy on coexistence with carnivores in Spain

22 October
Alex Tasker: “Same-same-but-different: Mapping framings to explore knowledge co-creation in pastoralist development”

29 October
Paul Barnes: 'Changing relationships between the inhabitants of the Cyclops Mountains and Dafonsoro'

5 November: READING WEEK

12 November
Alex Tasker: Methods session

19 November
Sara Randall: Methods session: questionnaire design

[Deferred] 26 November
Clare Bissell: ‘The social ecology of people and trees in Kwahu East, Ghana’

[Deferred] 3 December
Lydia Gibson: “The Sustainability Trap: Understanding identity, species distribution, and forest use through parrot trapping in an indigenous Maroon village in Jamaica”

10 December READING WEEK

Spring 2020

14 January
Katherine Homewood: Impacts of environmental and conservation policies on land use, livelihoods and wellbeing in Africa

21 January
Dr Jo Abbot (DfID and Christian Aid Africa; HERG alumna): Life after HERG – careers in development

28 January
Prof Jay Mistry (Royal Holloway): Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice in Guyana

Kayla de Freitas (AED alumna: Royal Holloway PhD candidate): Conversations around conservation policy and indigenous fire management

4 February
Clare Bissell (AED alumna: Cambridge PhD candidate): ‘The social ecology of people and trees in Kwahu East, Ghana’

11 February
Adam Runacres: Ferality and Fidelity: Different Approaches to Conservation

18 February: READING WEEK

[Cancelled due to UCU strike action] 25 February
Yara Shennan-Farpon: Restoration for people and nature: Finding co-benefits for Brazil’s MST farmers and Atlantic Forest biodiversity

[Cancelled due to UCU strike action] 3 March
Helen Muller: Tales from two villages: impacts of a five year trophy hunting ban on rural communities in Botswana

[Cancelled due to UCU strike action] 10 March
Lydia Gibson: “The Sustainability Trap: Understanding identity, species distribution, and forest use through parrot trapping in an indigenous Maroon village in Jamaica”

17 March
Bikku Bikku: The Raika of Rajasthan: Mobile Pastoralists in a Changing World


Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2018-19

Spring 2019 

8th January Hernando Echeverri Sanchez 
Los Caminos de la Medicina: The life of medicinal plants from the forest of Amazonia to the urban markets

15th January Dr Marie Annick Moreau
"Fish rescue us from hunger": The contributions of aquatic resources to household food security on the Rufiji River floodplain, Tanzania

22nd Jan Dr Bikku
Raika pastoralism in Rajasthan

29th January Yara Shennan-Farpon   
Scenario planning as a conservation tool in socio-ecological systems – can it work, and who is involved?

5th February Adam Runacres
Engaging Conservation: Forest Employed Villagers and Intervention in Central India 

12th February READING WEEK

19th February Paul Barnes 
Ethnozoology in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua

26th February Fíacha O’Dowda Ecologies of Desire
Value and the Constitution of Life in the Forests of North East Madagascar

5th March Dr Simon Pooley (Birkbeck)
Out of bounds: space, place, separations and transgressions in the negotiation of conservation conflicts surrounding protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

12th March Tom Fry
"Those birds don't belong here": Rewilded eagles and the sociocultural natures of hill farmers in the Scottish Highlands. 


Autumn 2018

2nd October: Introductions: Chair: Jerome Lewis
Sara Randall: Gender and ageing in Ouagadougou

9th October: Past MSc/MRes cohort: Chair: Emily Woodhouse
Gavin O’Donnell: Beaver reintroduction in Perthshire, Scotland: guerrilla rewilding, ecopolitics and contagious conflict
Kayla de Freitas: Political ecology of cattle rearing among Wapichan in Maruranau Village, Guyana: challenges of doing anthropology at home
Fiacha O’Dowda: Vanilla, Markets, and Magic in the Forests of North East Madagascar 

16th October: Chair: Lewis Daly
Sahil Nijhawan: Rewarding tolerance: Understanding how Indian conservation NGOs work with local communities to save the tiger

23rd October: Chair Marc Brightman
Andrea Bravo: Living well along the roads: Waorani's visual narratives of the forest abundance and pollution

30th October: Chair Sara: Randall
Cristina Perez: Childlessness in Colombia: The Challenges of Exploring an Urban Phenomenon Using Ethnographic Methods

6th November: READING WEEK

13th November: Helen Muller
Who owns the elephants of Botswana?

20th November: Agnese Marino
Land tenure and bear conservation in the north west of Spain

Sara Randall Questionnaire design

4th December: Lydia Gibson
The Production of Knowledge: how conceptualisations of nature, science, and indigeneity shape the conservation of a Jamaican forest

11 December READING WEEK

Term 2: Speakers will include Tom Fry, Adam Runacres, Paul Barnes, Yara Shennan Farpov, Julian Riveros Clavijo; Dr Marc Brightman, Dr Bikku Rathod

Enquiries to Seminar Convenors: Katherine Homewood k.homewood@ucl.ac.uk

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2017-18

Spring 2018

9 January: Simon Hoyte 
Of grandfathers and gorillas: Indigenous conservation in the Anthropocene amongst Baka hunter-gatherers of Cameroon

16 January: Lydia Gibson 
Saving Parrots, Destroying Tradition? The Effect of Species Conservation and the Designation of a Protected Area on Maroon Identity

23 January: Daniela Lainez del Pozo 
New echoes of a historical MPA: Governance and perspectives of Isla Lobos de Tierra in Peru

30 January: Paul Barnes 
Changing relations between people and animals in The Cyclops Mountains

6 February: TBC

13 February: READING WEEK 1            

20 February: Claire Bedelian
Exploring key narratives underlying protected area conservation

27 February: Yara Shennan-Farpon, Helen Muller

6 March: Tom Fry 
Producing a new 'wild': the socio-political dimensions of rewilding in the Scottish Highlands.

13 March: Jack Jenkins Hill 
Overlapping systems of governance in Myanmar's uplands
Mariam Salah

20 March: READING WEEK 2

Please note: Each venue can be found after the talk title

Autumn 2017

3rd October: No session

10th October: Introductory Session: Sahil Nijhawan (UCL)
Conserving through folktales among the Idu Mishmi of Arunachal Pradesh, India
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

17th October: Graduates of AED MSc and MRes programme, 2016-7 cohort:
Tom Barton (MSc AED) Comparative analysis of two wildlife management areas and community based organisations in northern Botswana
Grace Leonnig: (MSc AED) Economic and ecological struggles of small-scale vegetable farmers, Gozo, Malta
Nathalie Willmott (MRes): The changing nature of women's leadership in the Mekong delta, Cambodia
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

24th October: Agnese Marino (UCL) 
Using Multi Criteria Decision Analysis to address conflicts over wolf conservation: wolves, sheep, stakeholders and toast in the Province of Grosseto
Anatomy B15

31st October: Chris Flower (Sheffield)
Land-use and maladaptation(?) in the Afar region of Ethiopia
Darwin Building B05

7th November: READING WEEK

14th November: Katherine Homewood  (UCL) 
How to write a grant application
Chadwick Building G07

21st November: Carolina Comandulli (UCL)
"It is our choice to live in a society in which we take care of each other": vision and projected action in an Amazonian indigenous village 
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

28th November: Aneil Tripathy (Brandeis)
Assembling a Market: Green Bonds and the Translation of Expertise
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

5th December: Sarah Brooke (UCL)
Institutions, governance and snow leopard ICDPs in Mongolia
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

12 December READING WEEK

Term 2 speakers: Lydia Gibson, Paul Barnes, Bryony Ann Jones, Jack Jenkins Hill, Mariam Salah, Miriam Westervelt

Enquiries to Seminar Convenors: Katherine Homewood k.homewood@ucl.ac.uk

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2016-17

Spring 2017 

10th January: Hernando Echeverri Sanchez
The Medicinal Forest as a source for identity, ethnic revival and conservation
IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 901

17th January: Manasi Karthik (SOAS Anthropology)
Blurred Boundaries: Identity and Rights In The Forested Landscapes Of Gudalur, Tamil Nadu
IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 421 - Nunn Hall

24th January: Dr Maxmillan Martin (UCL)
Moving from the margins: Climate, environmental hazards and migration in Bangladesh
IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 421 - Nunn Hall

31st January: Sarah Brooke
Jack of all trades, Masters of None: The Challenges of linking Conservation and Development
Wolfson House Haldane LT

7th February: Kristen Steele
Eel fisheries from local to global: drivers of exploitation and prospects for sustainability
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

14th February: READING WEEK 1            

21st February: Dr Lewis Daly (UCL)
"The Computer is the White Man's Shaman": The interaction of ecotourism and local ecological knowledge in Amazonian Guyana
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

28th February: Paul Barnes
Indigenous Knowledge and conservation in SE Asia and Melanesia
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

7th March: Agnese Marino
Attitudes towards wolves and bears in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

14th March: Tom Fry, Lydia Gibson
Daryll Forde Seminar Room

21st March: READING WEEK 2


Thursdays 1630-1800

23rd February: Jed Stevenson (UCL) 
"Do our bodies know their ways?" Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley

2nd March: Bryony Jones (Royal Veterinary College)
Sheep and goat production and health in the Afar Region of Ethiopia

9th March Sloan Mahone (Oxford)
Revisiting the psychology of Mau Mau: A photographer's study of trauma in late colonial Kenya

16th March: NO SEMINAR

23rd March James Fairhead (University of Sussex)
Understanding social resistance to Ebola response in the Forest Region of the Republic of Guinea: An anthropological perspective

Autumn 2016

4th October: Introductory session, and Carolina Comandulli (UCL Anthropology)
The Ashaninka from Amônia River: working beyond their borders to secure a way of life

11th October: Sahil Nijhawan (UCL Anthropology)
"We don't eat who we are": Taboos, identity and wildlife conservation in the Idu Mishmis of Arunachal Pradesh, India

18th October: Graduates from the AED Masters programme, 2015-6 cohort:
Catherine Clarke, Bethany White, David Pertaub, Eric Boyd

25th October: Dr Liz Watson (Cambridge University, Geography Department) Remapping the Frontier: New territorialities and new pastoralisms in Kenya 

1st November: Katherine Homewood (UCL Anthropology)
How to write a grant application

8th November: READING WEEK

15th November: Gaby Gonzalez Cruz (UCL Anthropology)
Peasant communities and tropical forest conservation: building stories from South Mexico


22nd November: Dr Carlos Sautchuk (Visiting Fellow, UCL Anthropology)
Panema and sustainable management: counting fish to conserve nature in the Amazon.


29th November: Dr Rajindra Puri (University of Kent/ DICE)
Outsourcing the Sacred Cow: Disentangling local responses to social and ecological change in the Male Mahadeshwara Hills, South India.

5th December: New MPhil/PhDs on their Masters' dissertations:
Adam Runacres (MRes UCL), Tom Fry (MSc SOAS), Lydia Gibson (MSc UCL)


12 December READING WEEK

Enquiries to Seminar Convenors: Katherine Homewood k.homewood@ucl.ac.uk

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2015-16

Autumn 2015

6th October: Introductory meeting Prof Sian Sullivan (Bath SPA University)
Witchcraft, wilderness and rhinos: on frictions in market-based improvement through community-conservation in west Namibia

13th October: Graduates from the AED Masters programme, 2014-5 cohort

20th October: Prof Katherine Homewood (UCL)
How to write a grant application

27th October: Sahil Nijhawan
Tigers, our brothers - Relationship between local culture and conservation of a dangerous and globally endangered species
Daniel Kricheff
Foraging and 'forest people' in the forests of Southern Thailand

3rd November Prof Sara Randall (UCL)
Changing invisibilities of mobile pastoralists in censuses and surveys

10th November: READING WEEK

17th November: Dr Christine Noe (University of Dar es Salaa)
Navigating the change: public responses to land ownership and rights reallocation.

24th November: Paul Barnes
Finding echidnas and finding place in Dafonsoro and the Cyclops Mountains Strict Nature Reserve.
Agnese Marino
Conflicts over large carnivore management in the Mediterranean Region

1st December: Emmanuel Valentin (Bolzano University)
Heritage' and sustainability: The project 'Memoria Ladina' in the Dolomites (Italy)
Sarah Brooke, The costs and benefits of an ICDP in Mongolia

7th December: Dr Mari Miyamoto, (SOAS)

Term 2 speakers will include:

Rafael Chiaravalloti, Bryony Ann Jones, Joanna Hill, Gill Conquest, Dr Seamus Murphy (IDS), Dr Nicole Gross-Camp and Dr Paride Bollettin (Para, Brazil)

Enquiries to Seminar Convenors: Marc Brightman m.brightman@ucl.ac.uk, Katherine Homewood k.homewood@ucl.ac.uk

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2014-15

Spring 2015

13th January Postdoctoral fellow presentations:
Claire Bedelian, Emily Woodhouse

20th January Mette High (University of St Andrews)
A Question of Ethics: The Creative Orthodoxy of Buddhist Monks in the Mongolian Gold Rush

27th January Cristina Grasseni (University of Utrecht)
Beyond alternative food networks

3rd February PhD Student presentations:
Gaby Gonzalez Cruz, Daniela Pozo

10th February MSc Student presentations:
Simone Barrie, Vaidehi Bhagwat, Claire Bissell, Mara Galeano



24th February John Thompson (Institute of Development Studies)
African Farmer online game (please try the game online before the seminar: www.africanfarmergame.org/)
Venue: Birkbeck Malet Street B30

3rd March MSc Student presentations:
Daniel Cuende, Chiteisri Devi, Agnes Faure, Marta Gaworek-Michalczenia
Venue: Rockefeller 337 David Sacks

10th March Peter Bille Larsen (University of Lucerne)
The good, the ugly and the Dirty Harry's of conservation: Rethinking the anthropology of conservation NGOs
Venue: June Lloyd Room (PUW 4 - Ground Floor, Institute of Child Health - 30 Guildford Street)

17th March MSc Student presentations:
Ella-Louise Micallef, Natasha Nazerian, Finn Richardson, Marina Rizzi

Enquiries to Seminar Convenors: Marc Brightman m.brightman@ucl.ac.uk, Katherine Homewood k.homewood@ucl.ac.uk

Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) 2013-14

Autumn 2013

1 October: Introductory session + Sahil Nijhawan, HERG:
Tigers and people in Arunachal Pradesh

8 October: past MSc students +
Emily Woodhouse, WCS/Imperial/HERG


15 October: Rafael Chiaravalloti HERG:
Conservation and Development in Brazil's Western Pantanal

22 October: Emily Woodhouse, WCS/UCL/Imperial:
Measuring the outcomes of complex interventions
Followed by Roundtable:
Planning field projects and writing grant applications

29 October: Humberto L. Perotto-Baldivieso, Cranfield:
Landscape ecology and biodiversity in Bolivia

5 November: READING WEEK

12 November: PRA methods - CG

19 November: PRA methods - CG

26 November: Marie Annick Moreau, HERG:
Fishers of Rufiji, Tanzania

3 December: Iokiñe Rodriguez, UEA:
Fire makes our land happy: environmental management through use of fire by Pemon and Wapishana indigenous people.