The American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2019 was held in Washington D.C. from April 3rd to 7th, 2019, which the FEAST team of Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Senior Project Researcher), Mai Kobayashi (FEAST Project Researcher) and Daniel Niles (RIHN Associate Professor/FEAST member) had an opportunity to join and present the research outputs. You can find their abstracts (except for Rupprecht’s in “WG6 Publications and Outputs“). The blog post is also available from this link.
Meat in a post-development world: insights from Bhutan
With Gross National Happiness a globally recognized concept, one could say Bhutan is an experimental laboratory for post-development theories. In an effort to meet Bhutan’s socio-cultural, economic and ecological challenges amidst a quickly changing world, the central government of Bhutan has implemented a number of legislations and rules to regulate and manage the changes taking place. Top down interventions also come in the form of religious teachings through expanding mobility and access to information. Such interventions have both directly and indirectly shaped the ways in which people relate to the production, distribution and consumption of food. Most dramatic, perhaps, has been the transitions observed in how people relate to the production and consumption of meat. This paper sheds light on the changing landscape of food choices and access both in and around city centers in Bhutan as it relates to shifting value politics surrounding Buddhist teachings and notions of development.
Patterns in place: the aesthetic dimensions of agroecological sustainability
This presentation examines different forms of environmental knowledge, the role of this knowledge in cultural persistence through time, and its consequent significance to the intellectual challenges of the Anthropocene. The paper describes the activity of a master charcoal-maker in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, who works in a landscape recognized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System—a place of high-value cultural-ecological interaction. While the ecological values of such places are of increasing scientific interest, the ontological and epistemological dimensions of these values—their basis in cultural understandings of the natural agencies, relationships, and interactions in those places—remain remote, even other-worldly. Drawing on theories of material culture and the evolution of knowledge, the persistence of patterns of cultural-ecological interaction is interpreted here as evidence of the persistence of particular bodies of environmental knowledge. Attention to the production and use of charcoal exposes the “overlapping” structure of this knowledge, allowing us to grasp the role of aesthetic sensibilities in linking diverse experiences of human-environmental sustainability.