We invite proposals for a workshop examining the multiple historical origins of the values of biodiversity. Our aim is to better understand how these diverse values have developed historically, and how they in turn inform current scientific research, international debates over conservation policy, and initiatives to protect biocultural diversity. Scholars in the following fields are encouraged to apply, especially those focusing on Africa or Asia and/or the pre-1900 context: ecology, biology, geography, anthropology, philosophy, law, art history, cultural history, and history and philosophy of science.
Among the topics to be considered are:
Motivations for the observation and protection of variety in nature;
The values attached to biological diversity in relation to human cultural diversity;
The shifting valuation of “diversity” at the organismic level, as in cases of hybridity or mixed ancestry;
Political and legal efforts to protect biological diversity in these multiple senses and the conflicts surrounding them.
This workshop is part of a series of scholarly and public events organized by Deborah Coen, Helen Curry, and Paul White, and sponsored by the Darwin Correspondence Project at University of Cambridge, Cambridge University’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, the Center for Science & Society at Columbia University and Barnard College, and the Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden.
Conference participants will receive accommodation and limited funding for travel expenses.