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"Flows" reading group: 1st meeting

Please join us for the very first meeting of the new “Flows: Tracing material connections across distant landscapes” reading group. Exploring the unexpected contingencies and effects of global ecological entanglements, the reading group is open to all.

Info about event


Friday 23 February 2024,  at 14:30 - 16:00


Nobelparken, building 1483, room 312 (IMC lunch room)


EU Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow Annika Capelán and CEH

During 2024, as part of her EU-funded Marie Curie Global Fellowship, Postdoc Annika Capelán will be coordinating a series of events on long-distance ecological entanglements – one of these events being the “Flows: Tracing material connections across distant landscapes” reading group.

Overall, the event series aims to explore possible methods for researching material flows across distant landscapes beyond or in the wake of the more obvious connections often linked to trade and commodity chains. In this respect, the purpose of the reading group is to collectively examine on a wide range of cases and processes. How, we ask, may our methods provide insights into less obvious or intangible connections, without denying the dominating processes that also demand attention?

Through our interest in how material flows have happened historically in unexpected ways and with unexpected effects, we hope to think further about what travels with, as well as what stays and does not travel with entities such as crops, fibers, infrastructural forms, and more. We will also focus on the (more or less) slow violence and damaged landscapes while also giving attention to constructive responses that seek to confront such damage.

Readings for the first session
For this first session, we will delve into a classic work on ecological movements and connections. More specifically, the readings are:

  • Crosby, A. W. (1986/2015). Ecological imperialism: the biological expansion of Europe, 900-1900. Cambridge University Press.

    Please read these suggested chapters in bold
    . The others are optional:
    • 1. Prologue pp.1-7
    • 2. Pangaea revisited, the Neolithic reconsidered pp .8-40
    • 7. Weeds pp. 145-170
    • 11. Explanations pp. 269-29
    • 12. Conclusion pp. 294-311
  • Raby, Megan (2019). The Empire of the Dandelion. Environmental History in Al Crosby’s footsteps. https://notevenpast.org/the-empire-of-the-dandelion-environmental-history-in-al-crosbys-footsteps/ (This is a short online article contextualizing Crosby’s work and its significance.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Annika Capelán (ancapekoh@cas.au.dk).

Schedule for the remainder of the event series
In addition to the reading group, the activities of the “Flows: Tracing material connections across distant landscapes” event series will also include an online workshop with Environmental Humanities South (EHS) at the University of Cape Town in May, and an in-person workshop at AU in September, with online and in-person participation from EHS.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Friday 15 March, 2024, at 14:30-16:00: AU in-person reading group
  • Tuesday 16 April, 2024, at 14:30-16:00: AU in-person reading group
  • TBA May 2024: Online UCT/EHS workshop
  • Friday 21 June, 2024, at 14:30-16:00: AU in-person reading group
  • Tuesday 20 August, 2024, at 14:30-16:00: AU in-person reading group
  • Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September, 2024, hours TBA: AU/EHS workshop at AU

More info on the May and September workshops, which will join participants from EHS and CEH, will be provided in the next month.