Coffee Hour: Feminist political ecology and the (un)making of "heroes": Encounters in Mozambique

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

Special note

This talk will be available as a live webstream only and will not be archived.



Feminist political ecology and the (un)making of "heroes": Encounters in Mozambique

About the talk

What are the effects and implications of persistent desires to make and celebrate hero figures in environmental justice struggles? This talk draws on 18 months of research amidst forest
conservation interventions, afforestation "land grabs" and illegal timber trading in the woodlands of Zambézia, Mozambique. A group of local woodland residents and other competing actors become new hero figures in woodland and other spaces, appearing to signify much-needed progress in a broader decolonial and feminist project of displacing paternalistic white saviors and solemnly remembered war heroes. What effects does this shift and transformation in making and unmaking hero figures have in the forest and in the ways we understand the political ecologies of woodland landscapes and activism? The talk details how romanticizing hero figures can overshadow the great variety of banal practices constituting daily lives, political tensions and forest ecologies. 

Suggested reading

Nelson, I.L. 2013. The allure and privileging of danger over everyday practice in field research. Area 45(4): 419-425. Part of the Special Issue: Field Methods in Closed Contexts.

About the speaker

Ingrid NelsonIngrid L. Nelson is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Vermont (UVM). She is a feminist political ecologist interested in the practices, discourses and rumors that make forest landscapes in Mozambique. Her recent work examines masculinities, class, and gender dynamics in forest conservation; afforestation “land grabs;” and illegal timber trade contexts in Mozambique. She received her Ph.D. in Geography and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon and recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague on a project with Bram Büscher examining how users of social media platforms participate in on-line and on-the-ground conservation initiatives. Currently, she is finishing up co-editing the book Practicing Feminist Political Ecologies: Moving Beyond the "Green Economy" with Wendy Harcourt for Zed Books and developing a monograph about the role of rumor in making forest landscapes in Mozambique.


co-sponsored by Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG), the Department of Geography and the Department of Womens' Studies.

Angela Rogers