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Hosted by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Activity 2

Details to be confirmed

Thursday 23 March 2023

Thursday 11 May 2023

June 2023

Forest Thinking/Thinking Forests
GERMINATIONS is an annual series of activities launched in June 2022 to pluralise and diversify the Environmental Humanities field. Experimenting with multicultural, multilingual, transdisciplinary, and multimodal initiatives, it cultivates awareness of the spectrum of work in EH beyond Anglo-European academic networks. It is hosted by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and convened in collaboration with scholars based at the universities of Essex and Bristol.

This year, GERMINATIONS is organising a series of activities under the title Forest Thinking/Thinking Forests

The importance of forests to efforts to address contemporary environmental challenges is now broadly recognised. At the COP27 summit in 2022, Brazil’s president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, stated: “There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon,” and pledged to “spare no efforts to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes by 2030.”

Yet government action cannot be effective without a consideration of the socio-cultural significance of forests to those who live in and with them. The publication of Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think in 2013 marked an important milestone in the development of critical efforts to understand forests as systems of signification and relation that point us towards a post-anthropocentric ecological ethics. 

Kohn is careful to acknowledge his intellectual debts to traditions of forest thinking in Latin America, not least that of the Runa people of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon and the anthropological work of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. In the context of ongoing deforestation and usurpation of Indigenous lands, knowledge systems of coexistence and kinship with forests that move beyond extractivist paradigms are at the forefront of struggle.

How, then, might the task of thinking with or as forests be taken forward? 

GERMINATIONS proposes three online activities to address this question. 

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