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Panel 6: Collecting human-environment relations in the Pacific


Stefanie Belharte, Christin Kocher Schmid

Session presentation

The conference organisers ask: “How are Pacific life-worlds created and experienced through interactions between human and other-than-human entities?” We interpret this challenge ecologically, exploring material culture as an embodiment of human-environment relations. We thereby address the “concrete empirical realities” in the subsistence contexts that continue to support local livelihoods in large parts of the Pacific. We are interested in resource use and use strategies; appropriation and transformation of environments; experience of natural history and the role of environmental knowledge; and the patterning of relations on broader temporal and spatial scales. We invite contributions from such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, ecology, human ecology, ethnobotany, environmental history, and material culture studies. Possible foci are: resources (properties, identification, ecology); artefacts (type, design, craftsmanship, function, significance); collections (focus, documentation, context); experience & expertise (knowledge, perception, affect); time & space (environmental/ subsistence change; migration of people/ cultural traits/ use strategies).

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