CfP “Improving Landscapes, Improving Lives? Social Aspects of Land Reclamation” - Anthropology and Conservation

Dear colleagues,

We invite you to submit your paper for our Panel P010: “Improving Landscapes, Improving Lives? Social Aspects of Land Reclamation” at the RAI Anthropology and Conservation Virtual Conference (25-29 October 2021). The CfP closes 2 July.

The term “land reclamation” encapsulates a myriad of approaches to landscape modification. Distinct from restoration’s attempt to recreate past ecosystems, reclamation’s methods of recreating land or ecosystems disturbed by human and/or natural processes aim to engineer and even “improve” current conditions and relationships between people and the land. Examples of reclamation include the reclamation of land from the sea, riverbeds, or lakes and the change of coastal areas, the draining of marshlands for agricultural purposes, or, usually in a North American context, the recreating of disturbed ecosystems in a post-mining landscape. Land reclamation can be used to counteract erosion and as a coastal defence, to create more land suitable for infrastructural projects like airports and harbours, or to build artificial islands for luxurious hotels. Farmers reclaim land to harvest more crops, and environmental scientists use post-mining landscapes to establish new or lost ecological assemblages.
With shifting definitions of “productive” land – political, economic, ecological, or somewhere in-between – reclamation practices often reflect changing human values in the environment and local landscapes. This panel aims to highlight social aspects of land reclamation and invites papers from all research areas. We understand the diverse social characteristics of land reclamation projects as a possibility to connect conservation with questions of Indigenous sovereignty and inequality, and ask for whom landscapes are reclaimed. Together we analyse the changing values in land- and seascapes held by locals, oil companies, bureaucrats, scientists, and/or Indigenous communities.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions:
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For further information on the RAI conference 2021 please visit the website: https://www.therai.org.uk/conferences/anthropology-and-conservation/call-for-papers