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… for Rhinos

I have been in South Africa since December and should have posted something long ago already. I guess I have been enjoying fieldwork too much to post anything online – which is weird considering that my fieldwork is a combination of studying online and offline conservation dynamics. Perhaps it is because when you are in ‘fieldwork mode’ it is simply more interesting to listen to and learn from others than to broadcast your own thoughts. Be that as it may, I have been listening to a lot of people, online and offline, over the last months, in particular in relation to THE biggest conservation issue in South Africa today: the rhino-poaching crisis. I guess we all know about it: rhinos are being poached in increasing numbers in South Africa and last year the teller only stopped at 1004. The first months of this year do not show a reversal of this trend. In response, a massive mobilization has taken place and the diversity of this mobilization is truly amazing. Everything in South Africa these days is ‘for rhinos’. Here are some of the more interesting ‘… for rhinos’ that I have found (not limited to South Africa…):

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And related: naked skydive for rhinos

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- running for rhinos

- and if running is too exhausting, you can join the groupwalk for rhinos

- Acting for rhinos

- Recipes for rhinos

- Mountainbiking for rhinos

- Horse racing for rhinos

- Drumming for rhinos

- and of course, at Woolies you can always shop for rhinos

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Call for Papers for fully funded work/writeshop – May 2015, Aosta Valley, Italy

on

Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the politics of Environmental Conservation

Organized by: Bram Büscher (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands).

Date: 24-30 May 2015.

Place: Plan del la Tour, Aosta Valley, Italy (2 hours from Milan) – see http://www.plandelatour.it/index.html.

The idea: through this CfP, I would like to invite scholars working on the links between new media (web 2.0 and social media) and environmentalism or conservation to submit an abstract for a dedicated work/writeshop in (late) May 2015 in the Aosta Valley in Italy. The idea is to come together with a small group of scholars (max. 10-12) to present and discuss draft papers on this topic and have them ready for submission to a journal by the end of the week. The workshop will be held in a beautiful agriturismo (plan del la tour), with plenty of time and space for hikes, discussions, good dinners and creative leisure time.

Below you can find some more information on the topic and the broad array of potential contributions we are interested in. If you feel that your research fits this description, or that you can quite easily extend your current research to fit the topic, do consider submitting an abstract. From the abstracts, we will chose 4-6 participants to join 6 others already involved in the project in this exciting workshop. If your abstract is selected, your participation will be fully funded. Scholars from the global south are especially encouraged to submit abstracts.

Deadline for abstracts: We request paper abstracts by 1 February 2014. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to buscher AT iss DOT nl. If approved, full papers are due 1 May 2015.

More information: if you want more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch: buscher AT iss DOT nl.

The topic:
With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.

The workshop and the special issue that it wants to produce aim to produce a set of papers on the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.

In sum, the workshop and related special issue aim to address the following core questions:

-       How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new space of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?
-       Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?
-       In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of environmental conservation?
-       What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?
-       How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?
-       How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?
-       What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?
-       How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?
-       In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?
-       How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?

For more content info, see also the following two papers, both of which can be downloaded from the publications page on this website:

Büscher, Bram and Jim Igoe (2013). ‘Prosuming’ Conservation? Web 2.0, Nature and the Intensification of Value-Producing Labour in Late Capitalism. Journal of Consumer Culture 13, 3: 283-305.

Büscher, Bram (2013). Nature 2.0. Geoforum 44, 1: 1-3.

My book, ‘Transforming the Frontier. Peace Parks and the Politics of Neoliberal Conservation in Southern Africa’ is out now with Duke University Press. Go to the book page or click on the below picture to find out how to get your hands on a copy!

Beside the postdoc position, we also have an exciting vacancy for a lecturer / assistant professor position at the ISS!

International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague) of Erasmus University Rotterdam

 

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is a leading academic centre for international development studies, and a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It is one of the oldest institutes in this field, having been established in 1952 by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education as a postgraduate institute for research, education and capacity building. The institute offers a PhD in Development Studies, a 15.5-month MA in Development studies with five Majors, and several post-graduate Diploma courses. Students come from over 50-60 countries.

 

The Staff Group Rural Development, Environment and Population Studies has a position (1.0 FTE) for an Assistant Professor level in the field of:

 

Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies

 

The Staff Group is engaged in research, teaching, advisory work and capacity building in international development studies. It has recently formed a research program (RP), “Political Economy of Resources, Environment and Population”. This research program includes two main inter-related research areas, namely Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES) and Population Dynamics and Social Policy (PSSP). This RP focuses on agrarian and rural development, environment and conservation, poverty, socio-economic security, population studies, and child and youth studies, and shares an explicit engagement with a political economy framework of analysis of power relations and processes of global change that reinforce rather than reduce poverty and socio-economic insecurity.

 

Profile

 

We are looking for top-talent which will contribute innovative high quality research and teaching capacity to a number of crucial issues relating to Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies in developing and/or transition countries, in a rapidly changing global context. AFES is focused on the interface between agricultural and environmental change within the context of global, political-economic transformations. It addresses challenges associated with the ownership, control, use, management and distribution of natural resources and the dynamic relationships between nature, agriculture and socioeconomic development. It pays particular attention to contemporary environmental and resource-related conflicts and how these can be understood and mediated with an eye at bringing about just, equitable and sustainable development in developing nations and beyond.

 

The approach of the AFES research and teaching is built on its innovative interpretation of conflicts and governance related to contestations over wealth and power based on and around the interconnected agrarian and environmental political economies. Building on this integrated vision, the group members analyze conflicts over nature, environment and resources as well as critically investigating governance structures that aim to respond to them. This shapes the group’s ongoing interest in a variety of issues that are among the most pressing social issues of the day, globally, including food and energy crises, land grabs, natural resource conflicts, biodiversity conservation, environmental degradation and climate change. The AFES group works on these themes not only aims at producing cutting edge scientific knowledge, but also to help bridge the academic world, development policy community, and civil society. The group’s current work currently informs political and policy-making processes both in developed and in the developing world, and actively engages with emerging popular alternatives such as ‘food sovereignty’, agro-ecology, and the (trans) national social movements and civil society that spearhead these.

 

Tasks and responsibilities:

 

  • Production and publication of high quality research output at international standards
  • • Preparation (individually or jointly with other staff) of externally funded research grant proposals
  • • Contribution to teaching in the AFES Major; Supervision of MA and PhD students in the AFES field

 

Requirements:

  • • A completed PhD in one of the social sciences
  • • Evidence of publication capacity, including both a strong publication track record and clear research and publication plans
  • • Teaching experience, preferably at post-graduate level
  • • Proven evidence of the ability to attract external finance for research and other projects
  • • Ability to work in an inter-disciplinary team
  • • Experience with gender-based analysis is welcomed
  • • While open to all regional specializations, we hope that the successful candidate will have at least one area specialization in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia or Indonesia.

 

Appointment:

This position is offered under the EUR tenure track policy which aims to select people with high potential and prepare these people for an academic career.

 

As part of this policy, ISS/EUR will offer an initial three year appointment with possibility to extend for a further three years with a view to promotion to Associate Professor and a tenure appointment at the end of the second contract. A decision to extend for a second period will require a positive assessment that criteria have been met, which includes outstanding research output and superior teaching capabilities.

 

Employment conditions:

In accordance with those applied at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and indicated in the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities. Salary being dependent on the candidate’s experience ranges from € 3.237,- to € 4.418,- gross per month (CAO NU scale 11) under full-time contract. In addition, ISS pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment which is for 2013: 8,3%.

 

Applications:

Applications, accompanied by a detailed Curriculum Vitae and the names of three Referees, should reach ISS before the 20th of May, 2013 addressed to the Personnel Office (Ms. Sabine Zebel), International Institute of Social Studies, P.O. Box 29776, 2502LT, The Hague, The Netherlands, preferably send in electronic form directed to vacancy AT iss.nl. With equal qualifications preference will be given to a woman. Short-listed candidates will be requested to supply samples of published output and at that stage their referees will be contacted. Interviews with shortlisted candidates will take place from 3-5 June 2013 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Additional information concerning this vacancy may be obtained from Professor Max Spoor, Chair of the Staff Group and Research Programme (spoor AT iss.nl, tel.: +31704260559). General information on the ISS may be found on our website: http://www.iss.nl.

International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague) of Erasmus University Rotterdam

 

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is a leading academic centre for international development studies, and a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It is one of the oldest institutes in this field, having been established in 1952 by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education as a postgraduate institute for research, education and capacity building. The institute offers a PhD in Development Studies, a 15.5-month MA in Development studies with five Majors, and several post-graduate Diploma courses. Students come from over 50-60 countries.

The Staff Group Rural Development, Environment and Population Studies has a vacancy (1.0 FTE) for a Postdoctoral researcher (18 months) in the field of:

Agrarian and Environmental Studies (AES)

The Staff Group is engaged in research, teaching, advisory work and institutional capacity building in international development studies. It has recently formed a research program (RP), “Political Economy of Resources, Environment and Population”, which included the research areas of agrarian and environmental studies.

 

Profile:

 

The successful candidate is expected to bring innovative research capacity to the ISS in the field of Agrarian and Environmental Studies, complementing and/or extending our work, among others, on environmental conservation, natural resource conflicts, and land grabs. The specific objective of the appointment is for a recently graduated (or soon to graduate) PhD to publish results from previous research, initiate new research, and contribute to the formulation and writing of research (grant) proposals (0.8 FTE), and to develop teaching experience that will enable her/him to make the transition from PhD researcher to an academic professional (0.2 FTE). Thematically, these activities will be focused on the broad areas of critical Agrarian and Environmental Studies, but the ideal candidate should have experience and be willing to conduct research in the specific areas of environmental conservation, political ecology and natural resource use and management from a critical political economy perspective.

 

Requirements:

  • A recently or nearly completed PhD in the social sciences (geography, anthropology, political science, sociology, etc.);
  • Evidence of publication capacity, including an emerging publications track record and clear research and publications plans;
  • Modest teaching experience, preferably at post-graduate level;
  • Teaching/research experience in the Global South;
  • Ability to work in an inter-disciplinary and international team;
  • Willingness to travel and conduct research abroad.

While open to all regional specializations, preference will be given to candidates with research interests in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

 

Recruitment will be made for an appointment of 1.5 years. A starting date between July-August 2013 is anticipated. Besides the detailed profile given above, the position involves the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Publish high-quality articles and chapters;
  • Assist members of the research group with the writing and submission of research grants and externally financed research programs;
  • Undertake new research and (co-) publish on issues relevant to the AES programme, preferably focused on, but not limited to, Dr. Bram Büscher’s ongoing research on environmental conservation (see www.brambuscher.com for more information);
  • Contribute to the teaching of the Major “Agrarian and Environmental Studies”.

Appointment: ISS/EUR will offer a fixed temporary contract of 1.5 years. The appointment is envisaged at Postdoctoral level (scale 10 CAO NU).

Employment conditions: In accordance with those applied at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and indicated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities. Salary being dependent on the candidate’s experience ranges from € 2403,- to
€ 3793,- gross per month under full-time contract. In addition, ISS pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment which is for 2013: 8,3 %.

Applications and more information: Applications, accompanied by a detailed Curriculum Vitae and the names of three Referees, should be addressed to the Personnel Office (Ms. Sabine Zebel), International Institute of Social Studies, P.O. Box 29776, 2502LT, The Hague, The Netherlands, preferably send in electronic form directed to vacancy AT iss.nl, before the 15th of May 2013. With equal qualifications preference will be given to a woman. Short-listed candidates will be requested to supply samples of published output and at that stage their referees will be contacted. More information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Bram Büscher, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development, buscher AT iss.nl, or Dr. Max Spoor, Professor of Development Studies and Chair of the Staff Group and the Research Programme (spoor AT iss.nl).

I recently did an interview with Freek Kallenberg, editor of Down to Earth Magazine, about the prospects of the current Green Economy. The interview (in Dutch!) can be found here:

http://www.milieudefensie.nl/publicaties/down-to-earth-magazine/uitgesproken/201cde-groene-economie-is-een-illusie201d.

 

Ingrid Nelson and I are organising a session at the AAG meetings in April 2013, this is the Call for Papers:

Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the cyberpolitics of Global Biodiversity Conservation

 Paper Session and CfP for the annual AAG meetings, 9-13 April 2012, Los Angeles, USA

Organized by: Bram Büscher (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands) and

                     Ingrid L. Nelson (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands)

With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.

This paper session aims to inspire curiosity and encourage exchange among scholars from a wide range of perspectives regarding the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.

In sum, the paper session aims to address the following core questions:

-          How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new space of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?

-          Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?

-          In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of conservation?

-          What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?

-          How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?

-          How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?

-          What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?

-          How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?

-          In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?

-          How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?

We request paper abstracts by Oct. 15th. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to buscher AT iss DOT nl and nelson AT iss DOT nl.

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