Tuesday, September 25, 2012; 4:10 p.m.
Location: McCormick Lecture Hall at College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine
Contact: Heath Cabot; 207-288-5015
BAR HARBOR, ME—Political and economic changes impact more than humans. They can also cause immense changes on the land. On Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 4:10 p.m., College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum presents a talk on the impact changes in Poland have had on Europe’s last lowland old growth forest known as the Bialowieza Forest. The talk, “Reversing Orders: Foresters and the ‘local’ in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest” by Eunice Blavascunas, currently of the SERC Institute in Winter Harbor, will be in the college’s McCormick Lecture Hall.
Says Blavascunas, “In the postsocialist border and forest politics of eastern Poland, foresters altered the prominence of nationalist images in Bialowieza Forest, and instead supported a ‘local’ movement.” An ethic of community-based and sustainable forestry prompted foresters to defend and represent local interests against those of conservationists, including biologists living and working in the forest. This was a new twist since the fall of communism, she adds. “This ability of foresters to overcome ethnic and social differences marks an important and novel component of the postsocialist period.” Blavascunas’ talk explores the dynamics between foresters and conservationists, bridging environmental history and anthropology.
Blavascunas is a cultural anthropologist who has spent more than 15 years visiting and conducting research in Eastern Europe. Interested in how “the local” is sustained and created in conservation politics, who gets to define what nature is, and how international finance influences conservation, Blavascunas is currently conducting research in northern Maine, supported by a Leadership Grant from the Switzer Foundation. There, she is examining how residents conceive of public and private interests and property, drawing upon what she learned about conservation and land in the altered political terrain of postsocialist Europe.
Blavascunas earned a PhD from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2008. She was recently a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Miami University and has held teaching appointments at the University of Washington and Charles University in Prague. In addition to teaching and researching, she is completing the documentary film “Black Stork, White Stork: The Social Life of Nature” about the fate and birds and men in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest.
For more information about the Tuesday, Sept. 25 talk, Reversing Orders: Foresters and the ‘local’ in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest” by Eunice Blavascunas, contact Heath Cabot at 207-288-5015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit www.coa.edu.