ICS Seminar Series - Dr Jessica Weir

Date: Thursday 21 August, 2014
Time: 11.30am - 1pm
Venue: EB.2.21, UWS Parramatta South campus

Dr Jessica Weir

Blackwater, Complicity and the Diminishing Lives of Murray Crayfish

Abstract

This presentation considers how different knowledge practices about what is natural and what is cultural enable and disable our responses to blackwater events and their effects on Murray Crayfish in southeast Australia. I follow the 2000 and 2010-11 blackwater flows in the Murray River that reduced the oxygen content of river water transforming it into a toxic environment for river creatures. I rely on the analytical re-think of the nature/culture binary being undertaken within the environmental humanities, including the critique of the hyper-separation of humans from nature which is evident across so many domains of influence (Plumwood 2002). I consider how such nature/culture binary work informs our understandings of river regulation and its effects, and what this means for how we continue to live here. This presentation is in dialogue with the perspectives of Indigenous people with whom I have had research collaborations since 2003.  

Biography

Jessica Weir is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society. Jessica's research collaborations with Indigenous people examine how western binaries and Indigenous knowledges interact to circumscribe and transform our understandings of environmental issues and their governance. Jessica undertook her PhD at The Australian National University (ANU), and has held positions as Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Canberra. Jessica is author of Murray River Country (2009), an editorial board member of the new Routledge Environmental Humanities Book Series, and a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.