Weaving, guts and darkness

This text is a part of a travelling conversation Response to Keri’s letter Reading your reflection makes me think a lot of Vanessa and colleagues’ Bricks and Threads cartography; the bricks and threads stand for a set of ways of being, the bricks representing fixed forms, linear time (‘things move forward’), and self-worth depends on external validation; threads emphasize shape-shifting, layered time, everything is living, and self-worth is grounded in connection. Knowledge under the metaphor of bricks is layered – it can be discovered, accumulated and transmitted – while knowledge in the threading metaphor is interlacing – oriented towards relationality, it comes from many places and is earned, rather than being an entitlement. The frustration I think you reflect on is with the brick sensibilities, a frustration that I share with you. While I (unfortunately) haven’t experienced the final episode of Buffy, I think I can appreciate the comparison – Our job is not to rescue the university, but to create conditions for thoughtful cultures to grow. In the university, there are a lot of people (and other creatures?) holding threads of myriad colors, lengths, passed down by different ancestors. But the university is also physically a pile of bricks,…

Working with impossibility

This text is a part of a travelling conversation Today, talking with a dear friend and close collaborator, we were discussing how the hell to work and what it means to try to work as an academic when faced with the all encompassing shitshow that is our current planetary situation – not just the pandemic, but the sheer unholy mess that is our economic, ecological, spiritually impoverished condition. Just having the conversation helped get me out of a funk I’d been in all week. Lakin is right, encounter matters. Above all, for me, conversation matters. Conversation is a place for crying and for laughter, for testing ideas, for human connection, for articulating and working out what on earth it is you think you think. Conversation is also the place where something new can emerge alongside relations of care, of love, of friendship. And conversation is precisely what we don’t usually have time for in universities. We are all talk – and god this pandemic has made that apparent, words words words, meetings meetings meetings – but no conversation. At the moment sustainable academic culture is an impossibility. Academic culture is not sustainable – at all. It depends on resource extraction…

Encounters in Pandemic academia

This text is a part of a travelling conversation Throughout this pandemic we have focused on what’s changing. But we should also notice what conspicuously hasn’t. The parts of our social lives that were already aligned with the apparent ‘new normal’. Academic cultures vary. But the one I find myself in can feel as if it is a set of social arrangements in which people try to avoid getting close to each other, as if scared of what might happen in their encounters with others. Which is a shame, because any collaboration that is transformative means getting close enough to others to become changed in the process. In her book The Mushroom at the End of the World*, anthropologist Anna Tsing contrasts two different ways of understanding encounters. The first image of encounter is familiar to us, as it runs deep in the modern world. Its central concept is that of the self-contained entity, operating towards its own optimal ends. Tsing locates it in the great ‘twin disciplines’ of modern knowledge, population genetics and neoclassical economics. Their frameworks are similar: “at the heart of each is the self contained individual actor, out to maximize personal interest, whether for reproduction or…

World-making conversations

This text is a part of a travelling conversation Everything is a conversation, and it is the world we inhabit. – Tim Ingold Outside my window, the day has begun. Sun reaching above the rooftops, attempting to burn through the hazy, diffuse clouds covering the vaulted sky this morning. In the distance, fir-trees dancing happily in the wind. A greeting from the edge of the forest. I’m starting my second cup of Darjeeling & Earl Grey tea. Sitting at my writing desk, candle burning at my side. As I write, we are a few weeks into the pandemic now sweeping the world. I’ve been working from home for some time now. Perhaps this is a strange time to be writing about sustainable academic cultures. Or perhaps not. As I read the essay by Sachiko, my mind travels back in time. I am somewhere in France, in the late 1960s. I think of the unusual collaboration and friendship that developed between philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Felix Guatarri. Felix would wake up and write first thing in the morning. He would then send off his text to Gilles – unrevised and unpolished. Gilles would rework and rewrite it. Every Tuesday afternoon…

Slow down and care

This text is a part of a travelling conversation What are sustainable academic cultures? Sanna asks. Ah, this is such a good question, I think to myself on a Thursday evening past 6 pm. I had just discussed with one of my supervisors this week that it’s important to try to focus on my dissertation project, to try to cut out everything else. Nothing is worth it if you break down with stress and overwork, she said. I had asked her strategies for dealing with stress, since I haven’t been able to sleep very well this semester. It still feels like I am trying to adjust back into my usual rhythm in my Swedish academic life, even two months after coming back from my three-month stay in Japan. I was happy to be able to discuss my vulnerable sides with her (as well as with my other supervisor, which gave similar advice), and I thought their advice was wise. It’s really important not to overload myself. And here I am again, agreeing to give some thought on a writing project “for fun.” To try not to do other things than my research –this seemingly simple act, why is it so…

A culture that cares?

This is a part of a travelling conversation I come from a place of thinking about sustainability and climate change in higher education (HE) and how education can support and enable learners to participate in a world characterised by complex sustainability challenges. Thus, my questioning leads me to the main question of how can universities be places that actively respond to these challenges? This piece is therefore situated around my thinking of Western higher education institutions and their academic cultures. Care of earth, care of people, return of the surplus – Principles of Permaculture Ethics My recent thinking around HE has been coloured by my interest in permaculture – permanent agriculture where social and economic, not just ecological, patterns are included in the equation – and in permaculture design principles. Could the principles and ethos behind them help to reimagine academic cultures? At first glance, these principles seem to offer generative ways to think upon what practices could be sustainable in HE academic culture. Permaculture design takes to heart that engaging in and with a complex world is inherently unpredictable. Uncertainty is a basic characteristic of life on our planet. As such, it seems like following a specific recipe or…

What could Sustainable Academic Cultures be?

– A Travelling Conversation During the Spring of 2020, just when the Corona pandemic was starting to unfold, some of us at CEFO – The Center for Environment and Development Studies Research Forum, started talking about writing something together in a different way. Instead of everyone sitting together or working on the same document to come up with a single voiced narrative – the common approach to co-authoring – we wanted to try something new. If we had a different writing process, would it change the written outcome? How would how we write change what we write?  We came up with the idea of a “traveling conversation”, inspired by a method witnessed at an Anticipation conference in Oslo recently. Everyone participating would get a common question, in our case “What are sustainable academic cultures?” One person, let’s say A, would start by writing a response to this question, and then pass it on to another person, B. Then, B would write a piece responding both to the overarching question and to A’s response. The third person C, however, will only receive the piece that B wrote, and write a response based on that. The following Person D will only receive what C wrote, and so on….

Sustainability – past, present and future
CEFO / 5 March 2021

On February 23rd Pascoal Gota, PhD Candidate in Archaeology and Ancient History and Anselmo Matusse, PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology presented their research on sacred forests as reserves of biocultural heritage and producing and archiving knowledge of the other and nature. Pascoal talked about Sacred forests and described his talk as follows: Forests are one of the fundamental elements for biodiversity conservation and play a profound role as a source and resource for several organisms in equilibrium with ecological systems, but current conservational paradigms are still framed in human-nature dichotomy and need to genuinely engage local people as custodians of the environment. A category of forests prominent in disrupting conservation dichotomies are sacred forests. However, there is a need for scholars to understand the underlying aspects of sacred forests in order to develop more coherent strategies that respond to conservation objectives and the needs of communities. In this sense, biocultural heritage seems as an approach promising to meet both the needs of communities and conservation objectives. This talk will present ongoing research about undocumented sacred forests in Inhambane, Mozambique. The research focuses on understanding sacred forests as reserves of biocultural heritage for the conservation of coastal forest mosaic in Inhambane…

CEFO Publications
CEFO / 11 December 2020

CEFO Publication Series The activities, courses and discussions at CEFO has resulted in some publications. Barrineau, Susanna; Ishihara, Sachiko; Stoddard, Isak; Anderson, Lakin; Facer, Keri (2021) What could sustainable academic cultures be? – A travelling conversation. Uppsala: Cefo Publication Series Number 3. Friman, E. and Gallardo F., G. L., eds. 2010. Politicized Nature: Introduction’ in Politicized Nature. Global Exchange, Resources and Power. Uppsala: Cefo Publication Series Number 2. Pp. 9-17. Schulz, S.L. ed., 2007. Ekokritik: Naturen i litteraturen – en antologi, CEMUS Skriftserie Nr. 1. Uppsala: Centrum för miljö- och utvecklingsstudier. Download it here CEFO alumnis’ PhD theses and Affiliated members‘ Licentiate theses Johari, Fatemeh (2021) Urban building energy modeling: A systematic evaluation of modeling and simulation approaches Apler, Anna (2021) Contaminated organic sediments of anthropogenic origin: impact on coastal environments Engel, Fabian (2020) The role of freshwater phytoplankton in the global carbon cycle Öhrlund, Isak (2020) Demand Side Response: Exploring How and Why Users Respond to Signals Aimed at Incentivizing a Shift of Electricity Use in Time Teodorescu, Dominic (2019) Dwelling on Substandard Housing: A multi-site contextualisation of housing deprivation among Romanian Roma Kokko, Suvi, (2019). Transforming society through multilevel dynamics Ekblom, Anneli (2004) Changing Landscapes: An Environmental History of…

PhD Courses
CEFO / 11 December 2020

These courses give a broad orientation of theories and concepts within the emerging climate change leadership field focusing on how to engender a rapid social transition to zero emissions. The main focus lies on analysing how theories and concepts of climate change leadership, stemming from political and social sciences, systems thinking, governance theory and societal planning can be used to understand and shape transitions. Climate Change Leadership: Actors and Strategies for Societal Transitions, 2021 For more information or to apply to CCL 2021, please email venu.thandlam@geo.uu.se Climate Change Leadership: Power, Politics and Structures, 2019 Autumn 2019  Climate Change Leadership: Power, Politics and Structures Previous Courses PhD students associated with CEFO have proposed, developed and coordinated a variety of interdisciplinary courses over the years. Click here for overview of CEFO past courses

CEFO Affiliates
CEFO / 11 December 2020

Matilda Andersson, Dept. Ecology and Genetics, CEFO Coordinator Lakin Anderson, Dept. Business Studies Elin, Boyer, Department of Law and Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre Fouad El Gohary, Dept. Civil and Industrial Engineering Lovisa Eriksdottir, Dept. Business Studies Helena Fornstedt, Dept. Civil and Industrial Engineering Rebekkah Hammar, Department of Pharmacy, Drug Delivery Sachiko Ishihara, Dept. Social and Economic Geography Venugopal Reddy Thandlam, Dept. Earth Sciences Holly Jayne Redman, Dept. Chemistry – Ångstrom Laboratory Isak Stoddard, Dept. Earth Sciences, NRHU/Climate Change Leadership Node Fatemeh Johardi, Dept. Civil and Industrial Engineering Vincenza Ferrara, Dept. Archaeology and Ancient History Pascoal João Gota, Dept. Archaeology and Ancient History Jossias Humbane, Dept. Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology To become a formally affiliated Ph.D. student see the affiliation agreement and contact the coordinator (Matilda) at matilda.andersson@ebc.uu.se. If you are a master student or researcher we would be happy to include you in our group as a non-affiliated member. The more the merrier! CEFO Alumni Fabian Engel graduated from Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology, Uppsala University Isak Öhrlund, graduated from Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management, Uppsala University Kristina Börebäck, graduated from Department of Education, Stockholm University Suvi Kokko, graduated from Department of Economics, Swedish University…

CEFO Schedule
CEFO / 11 December 2020

Fall 2021 Schedule The interdisciplinary seminar takes place Tuesdays 10:15-12:00 twice per month during term time via zoom or/and in the Baltic Library, at the Department of Earth Sciences,  Villavägen 16. The first and last seminar each term includes planning discussions where PhD-students and researchers suggest future activities. The seminar is hosted by affiliated CEFO Members and supported by CEMUS, NRHU and the Climate Change Leadership Node at Uppsala University. Time Title Location September 14th Opening Meeting for semester – Affiliates and participants EBC – hus 7 – room 1100Zoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/68681779591 September 28th Isak Stoddard – How the mitigation plans of ‘climate progressive’ nations fall shortFatemeh Johari – Mapping sources and uses of energy in Uppsala EBC – hus 7 – room 1100Zoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/68681779591 October 12th Isak Stoddard – Forest walk-and-talk October 26th The Future of CEFODiscussion with Mikael Karlsson (senior lecturer in Climate Change Leadership) and Laila Mendy (Course coordinator for CCL) CEMUS Library – https://link.mazemap.com/pS7gCinQZoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/68681779591 November 9th Kinge Gardien– Circular design Baltic Sea Library – GeocentrumZoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/68681779591 November 23rd Ryan Carolan – Creating an Ecological Civilization  Baltic Sea Library – GeocentrumZoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/68681779591 December 7th Maarten Deleye – Higher education and sustainability.A topic modeling discourse analysis of academic…

About CEFO
CEFO / 11 December 2020

CEMUS Research Forum is a transdisciplinary research forum open to researchers and PhD-students at Uppsala University, SLU and other universities in Sweden.

For PhD Students
CEFO / 10 December 2020

CEMUS Research Forum is a transdisciplinary research forum open to researchers and PhD-students at Uppsala University, SLU and other universities in Sweden. CEFO activities focus on environment, development and sustainability studies. We collaborate with other universities and departments to enrich research education through our transdisciplinary Sustainability Seminars, PhD courses, workshops, lectures and field trips. CEFO was initiated by PhD-students, staff and students at CEMUS in 2002 as a research school between Uppsala University and Swedish Agricultural University (SLU).