Proposals are invited for the conference
Building Ecosystems/Selling Natures: At the Edge of Environments and Economies
Friday, October 28, 2022
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society
Hagley Library, Wilmington, Delaware
In everyday life we are embedded in ecosystems and economic systems that interact with one another, and indeed, are mutually constitutive. For a conference, “Building Ecosystems/Selling Natures,” we invite proposals that interrogate the interaction of various dualities: commerce and nature, firms and the earth’s resources, productive activity and the built environment. Our notion of ecosystems is expansive. It includes the many interactions among water, minerals, and geophysical features; biological systems within and between animals, plants, and microorganisms; and human-made settings such as buildings, cities, and transportation networks. We welcome papers that seek to blur the binary dualism between the many forms of nature and the institutions and social relations generated by economic activity.
We hope for proposals from a range of disciplinary perspectives, inspired as we are by scholars researching agriculture, mining, energy, water, enviro-tech, the built environment, evolution, and the biosphere (to name a few). Their scholarship explores the shared spaces that we hope to interrogate through this conference. In particular, we hope to create panels that bring together scholars working in different subjects, themes, and disciplines to see how they can cross-fertilize each other’s work, including researchers engaged with concepts like “Anthropocene” and “Capitalocene” and their efficacy.
We are interested in original, unpublished, empirical papers that are conceptually informed and historically framed addressing the above and related topics. We hope to consider proposals that may benefit from engagement with collections and experts from Hagley, an institution that has a wealth of resources from the mid-1800s to the recent past. However, we also welcome papers that span earlier time periods, use collections from other institutions, and encompass international cases. We particularly encourage proposals that consider the following questions:
• How have economies and technologies generated new capacity to alter and exploit the environment?
• How are features of nature turned into capital?
• How is nature marketed and sold?
• How do human creations, such as buildings, become ecosystems?
• How has the materiality and/or human understanding of nature framed economic behavior?
Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words and a one-page C.V. to Carol Lockman at clockman@Hagley.org by June 15, 2022. Conference presenters will be asked to submit complete versions of their conference papers by Oct. 7, 2021. The conference is planned as an in-person event but will adopt a virtual format if necessary. Presenters will receive lodging in the conference hotel and compensation for their travel costs. The conference organizers are planning an edited volume based on a selection of revised conference papers. The program committee is comprised of Tim LeCain, Nicole Welk-Joerger, Greg Hargreaves, and Roger Horowitz.