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Diversifying Ontologies & Epistemologies (CODIE-Sponsored Session)

Thu, March 26, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Delta Ottawa City Centre, Floor: 26, Pinnacle

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


Inclusion and (in)justice have taken center stage in current public discussions about environmental movements and the politics of the global ecological crisis. Today, there is a general agreement that environmental change disproportionately impacts human and non-human communities across class, race, gender, species, and ecosystems.

While environmental history has contributed to this discussion, important challenges to address issues of diversity and inclusion within the discipline and our accounts still remain. This roundtable argues that the lack of diversity and representation in the production of environmental knowledge creates epistemological gaps that compromise our understanding of complex socio-ecological issues. It also claims that as public awareness about ecological disparities increases, addressing these epistemological challenges will be essential to expand the role of environmental history in broader academic and public discussions.

Bringing together panelists working across indigenous, postcolonial, intersectionality, animal, gender, race, and disability studies, this roundtable asks: What epistemological principles and practices can we learn from each of these fields to better assess the inequalities of environmental change across time, space, and communities? How can a more in-depth discussion about different ways of knowing, inhabiting, and embodying environmental change inform new ways of doing and writing environmental history? What are the specific political, material, and symbolic reparative effects of diversifying ontologies and epistemologies in our academic and public agendas?

Prior to our session, panelists will propose a set of critical topics and inquiries that sit at the intersections of their fields and practices. These themes and questions will lead the conversation during the meeting at ASEH2020.

Scholars in this session come from diverse social, racial, and ethnic origins, areas of study and expertise, and stage in the careers. Two of them are first-time ASEH attendees, and one is a member of Canada's First Nation communities.

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