Indigenous Environments

Conference Program

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
April 3-5, 2008 

Thursday, April 3
5:30-7:30: Conference Welcome and Dinner 
Cram Alumni Barn, 83 Federal St., Brunswick

7:30-9:00: Keynote Address: "Indigenous Knowledge and Power"
Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Smith Auditorium, Sills Hall  

Friday, April 4
8:30-10:30: Panel 1  
Cram Alumni Barn
Science and Indigenous Knowledge

David Gordon, Bowdoin College 
Elizabeth Green-Musselman, Southwestern University, “From Knowledge Systems to Knowledge Networks: Rethinking Indigenous Knowledge from Colonial South Africa” abstract
Lance Van Sittert, University of Cape Town,“Nation-Building Knowledge: Dutch Indigenous Knowledge and the Invention of White South Africanism, 1890-1909” abstract
Marsha Weisiger, New Mexico State University, “Navajos, New Dealers, and the Metaphysics of Nature” abstract
Helen Tilley, Princeton University, "The Nature of Vernacular Science in British Colonial Africa: Fieldwork, Ethnography, and the Boundaries of Indigenous Knowledge."
Discussant: Scott MacEachern, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College
Description: This panel examines the evolution of indigenous environmental knowledge through its relationship with state-imposed scientific policy, suggesting how nation and state-building projects developed categories of “science” and “indigenous knowledge.”

Break 10:30-10:45 Cram Alumni Barn
10:45-12:45: Panel 2
Cram Alumni Barn

Contested Therapies: Healing Knowledge and Identities

Lance van Sittert, Bowdoin College and University of Cape Town
James L.A. Webb, Jr. Colby College, "Indigenous Knowledge Concerning Malaria in North America and Tropical Africa: Problematics and Perspectives" abstract
Jacob Tropp, Middlebury College, “Locust Invasions and Tensions over Environmental and Bodily Health in Colonial Transkei” abstract
Paul Kelton, University of Kansas, “Indigenous Medicine and Colonial Diseases: the Cherokees’ Experience with Smallpox, 1696-1839" abstract
Karen Flint, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, “Reinventing “Traditional" Medicine in post-Apartheid South Africa” abstract
Description: This panel explores the invention of alternative indigenous healing paradigms and practices in the context of broader socio-political inequities, linked to colonial impositions and their legacies.  
Discussant: Susan Tananbaum, Associate Professor of History, Bowdoin College  
Lunch 12:45-2:00
Hutchinson Room, Thorne Hall
2:15-4:15: Panel 3 
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 4
Tenure Rights

Chair: Connie Chiang, Bowdoin College 
Derick Fay, Union College, “Indirect Rule on Trial in South Africa: Traditional Authorities and the Constitutional Challenge to the 2004 Communal Land Rights Act” abstract
William Parenteau, University of New Brunswick, “Facing Modernization:  First Nations, Natural Resources and Treaty Rights in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, 1945-1999” abstract
Darren J. Ranco, Dartmouth College, “Penobscot Indian Environmental Diplomacy as Critique: Protecting Territory and Natural Resources” abstract
Joshua Reid, University of California, Davis, “‘The Sea Is My Country’: Marine Tenure of the Makah, 1788 to 1855” abstract
Discussant: Brian Hosmer, D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History, Newberry Library & University of Illinois, Chicago
Description: This panel explores how ideas of indigenous tenure rights were promoted and articulated in different environmental and political contexts, in particular in negotiations with colonial and post-colonial states.  
4:15-4:30: Break
Druckenmiller Hall, Atrium
4:30-6:30: Panel 4 
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 4
Power and the Ecological Imaginary

Chair: Matthew Klingle, Bowdoin College 
Coll Thrush, University of British Columbia, “English Cannibals and Fast Potatoes: Landscape Ideologies and Consuming Encounters on the Northwest Coast, 1774-1874" abstract
Pekka Hämäläinen, University of California at Santa Barbara, “Food Wars: Resource Management and Unequal Ecological Exchange in the Colonial Southwest” abstract
Nancy Jacobs, Brown University, "Winged Networks: Bird Migration and Science Between Europe and Africa" abstract
Shepard Krech III, Brown University, “Birds and Indians in North America” abstract
Discussant: Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross
Description: This panel challenges romanticized versions of indigenous environmental knowledge by pointing to how such knowledge crossed epistemological, national, and racial boundaries.

6:30-8:30: Dinner 
Off campus
Saturday, April 5
9:00-11:00 Panel 5 
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 20
Symbols and Religion

Chair: Lance van Sittert, Bowdoin College and University of Cape Town  
David Gordon, Bowdoin College, “The Invention of Indigenous Knowledge in Pre-Colonial South Central Africa” abstract
Andrew H. Fisher, College of William and Mary, “Honoring the Five Sacred Foods: Indigenous Religion and Resource Use in the Columbia River Basin” abstract
Michael Sheridan, Middlebury College, “Sacred Groves in Africa: The Opposite of Witchcraft” abstract
Parker Shipton, Boston University, “Recruiting Nature: Snakes, Serpents, and ‘Relocalization’ Movements in Africa and America” abstract
Discussant: Robert Gordon, University of Vermont
Description: This panel examines the relationship between religious ideas and indigenous knowledge systems, especially in asserting access to resources, resisting state authority, and developing environmental management schemes.

11:00-11:15: Concluding Remarks
11:30-1:00: Lunch
Pinnette Room, Thorne Hall 

Panelist Forums and Posts

lock Panelist Papers are available to participants and panelists in this password protected area . For access, please contact Rosemary Armstrong at: