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Lecture: Human-Environment Relations from Different Perspectives

July 12 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT

Draper Natural History Museum showing incline of ramp.

Human-Environment Relations from Different Perspectives: Findings from Collaborative Research of Indigenous Peoples and Swiss Anthropologists

July 12, 2024
Noon–1 p.m.

Join us for a special, BONUS Lunchtime Expedition on Friday, July 12, co-hosted by our Draper Natural History Museum and our Plains Indian Museum. This is in addition to our regular July talk just the day before, on July 11.

The in-person talk takes place in the Center’s Coe Auditorium, with a virtual option available. If you prefer to join us online, you may register in advance via Zoom webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RWI0cv0aQoaLlkCdBDgBaA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

About the program

The Swiss Graduate Program in Anthropology organizes an excursion to the Yellowstone National Park for students who do their PhD research in many parts of the world, including Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe on human-environment relations.

Yellowstone has since its beginnings inspired conservation of nature in many parts of the world, especially in its recent past—since 1995 with the reintroduction of the wolf. This brought a new understanding of the ecological role of large predators in protected areas. However, all these areas had been used by local and Indigenous peoples before becoming protected areas. The Swiss students have established research partnerships with local indigenous peoples to find out more about past and present human relations with predators (wolves, lions and jaguars) as well as with forests in conservation contexts.

This collaborative research shows that these relationships have always been an integral part of social-ecological systems before colonial times, when there was no extinction but a coexistence with predators as well as with other fauna and flora. The Indigenous co-researchers from Ecuador and Cambodia, and the Swiss anthropologists, will present joint academic and local knowledge in this presentation. The indigenous representatives will highlight local relationships with animals and plants from their perspective and speak about the challenges they face with western views about nature and conservation.

One focus of this talk will be on two indigenous guests from Ecuador, with whom research is done and who will share their views on human-environment relations. Additionally, two case studies from Kenya and Romania will illustrate what effects these different views have on human-predator relations. Similar findings are shown in the context of human-forest relations presented by an indigenous co-researcher from Cambodia.

About the speakers

The Swiss students are Ariane Zangger and Lisa Alvarado from the University of Bern. Lisa Alvarado presents together with two representatives from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Mayra Shiguango and José Narvaez on human-jaguar relations, while Ariane Zangger presents on human-wolf relations in Romania. The third project on human-lion relations is presented online by Wilson Lemillion, a Maasai from Kenya, and PhD student Samuel Weissman, who cannot attend physically. They are all part of the research project Convival Constitutionality: Human-Predator Interrelations in Complex Social-Ecological Systems (funding by the Swiss National Science Foundation), lead by Prof. Tobias Haller, University of Bern, who does the introduction. Neth Prak and Dr. Esther Leemann, University of Zurich focus on local people-forest relations in protected areas in Cambodia.

Upcoming Lunchtime Expeditions

August 1: Voyagers of the Night: Investigating the Ecology of Bats in the West, by Dr. Riley Bernard
• September 5: Rangeland Songbirds, by Dr. Anna Chalfoun
• October 3
• November 7
• December 5

Have you missed a Lunchtime Expedition?

The talks in this series are gathered in YouTube playlists by year:

2024 Lunchtime Expeditions
2023 Lunchtime Expeditions

Support for the Draper’s Lunchtime Expedition series has been made possible by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Charitable Foundation.


Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY United States
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Draper Natural History Museum
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