Conference: Biodiversity and its Histories

March 24-25, 2017, Cambridge, UK

Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, United Kingdom, CB3 9DT

Registration for the conference is now open.

Fees are £50 (full fee) and £25 (student/unwaged). Fees include lunches and teas/coffees.
Registration will close on Friday 10 March.

Deborah Coen (Barnard College, Columbia University)
Helen Anne Curry (University of Cambridge)
Paul White (University of Cambridge)

Formed at the intersection of biology, politics, and law, the concept of biodiversity has become one of the most crucial and complex terms in the environmental sciences, and operates as both fact and value in public debates about the preservation of species and habitats from human influence, exploitation, and destruction. Although the origins of the concept are well known, its relationship to other traditions and discourses is less well charted. This conference will bring together scholars and researchers in ecology, politics, geography, anthropology, cultural history, and history and philosophy of science to explore how aesthetic, economic, and moral value came to be attached to the diversity of life on earth. We will draw on a rich body of research on hybridity and exchange, habitat and distribution, civilization and extinction from the eighteenth century onwards, bringing renewed attention to a powerful contemporary concept whose historical and disciplinary breadth has yet to be critically examined. This is especially important at a moment when political debates threaten to eliminate the rich valences and values attached to biological diversity by substituting instrumental calculations and impoverished notions such as ‘ecosystem services’.

Full Conference Programme
Uradyn Bulag (University of Cambridge)
Deborah Coen (Barnard College, Columbia University)
Helen Anne Curry (University of Cambridge)
Sabine Höhler (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Tim Lewens (University of Cambridge)
Jasper Montana (University of Cambridge)
Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter)
Chris Sandbrook (University of Cambridge)
Anne Secord (University of Cambridge)
Jim Secord (University of Cambridge)
David Sepkoski (MPI for the History of Science, Berlin)
Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge)
Alistair Sponsel (Vanderbilt University)
Anna Svennson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Georg Toepfer (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin)
Alice Vadrot (University of Cambridge)
Emily Wakild (Boise State University)
Emily Wanderer (University of Pittsburgh)
Paul White (University of Cambridge)

Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) and the Darwin Correspondence Project.

Posted: February 07, 2017