UNM Decolonizing Nature Conference
April 19, 2017 - April 22, 2017
8:30 am – 7 pm—Thursday & Friday
8:30 am – 4 pm—Saturday
The University of New Mexico is hosting an interdisciplinary environmental justice public forum, “Decolonizing Nature: Resistance, Resilience, Revitalization,” which includes a four-day interdisciplinary conference from April 19 through April 22 at the NHCC; a companion exhibition at 516 ARTS from April 15 through April 29; a film screening at the UNM Art Museum on April 18; and a community event, “Abrazos: A Community Celebration of Environmental Justice,” at the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, organized by conference partners Friends of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the Los Jardines Institute, on Earth Day, April 22.
All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The program and registration information are available on the conference website: http://decolonizingnature.unm.edu.
The colonization of nature under capitalism is rooted in an ethos that views human beings as separate to and above nature—Earthmasters for whom the Planet is an inexhaustible reservoir of natural resources to be exploited. With profit as the prime motive, the resources are denuded beyond sustainable limits for the disproportionate benefit of a wealthy few. Pollution and waste from this activity also is skewed in its impact, in this case to the substantial detriment of poor and marginalized people, indigenous communities, and biotic life. Capital’s colonization of nature has brought us to our current moment of grave ecological peril—climate change, Sixth Extinction, and other human-caused environmental crises that cumulatively and rapidly degrade Earth’s life-sustaining ecological fabric.
Decolonizing nature has thus become an urgent priority if we are to progress toward a just and sustainable Earth for all living beings. How do we resist further ecological devastation? How do we achieve resilience in times of stress? How do we revitalize affected ecological habitats and communities? The UNM forum will address these and related issues.
The conference features 33 speakers from the fields of art, architecture, humanities, religion and science, and grassroots activists from across the US as well as Mexico, Canada and Ecuador. It is designed to foster discussions on integration of knowledge across disciplines, practices across cultures, and social-environmental movements across geographies.
The conference and the associated programming are sponsored by the Land Arts of the American West and Art & Ecology programs in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico, in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 516 ARTS, Friends of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Los Jardines Institute, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. The project is coordinated by Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair and professor of Art & Ecology, University of New Mexico. Organizers are grateful for the generous support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the New Mexico Humanities Council, and the University of New Mexico’s Office of the Vice President for Research, Center for Regional Studies, College of Fine Arts, and Department of Art.