Talk by Friederike Gesing, 16 Mai

Working with Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand: An ethnography of coastal protection

16 Mai 2017, 18h, Rotunde im Cartesium

This talk opens up a conceptual perspective on coastal natures emerging from coastal protection practices. To work with nature and not against it: this sociotechnical imaginary provides a shared understanding of alternative, soft coastal protection for a growing community of practice. Based on long-term fieldwork in Aotearoa New Zealand, Friederike Gesing draws on close ethnographic encounters with dune restoration volunteers, coastal management experts, surfer-scientists, and Maori conservationists. Understanding their soft protection projects as sociomaterial practices, she shows different coastal naturecultures in the making, emerging as do-it-yourself protection, native landscape, threatened public space, or nature enhanced through soft engineering.

Friederike Gesing (University of Bremen, artec) is senior researcher in the research area of sustainable development and environmental governance. For her excellent dissertation he was rewarded the Bremer Studienpreis 2016.

Find all information on the flyer.

Talk by Uli Beisel, 8 Mai

8 Mai 2017, 12:15-13:45, SFG 2210
„One Health(y) Future? Entanglement of Health and Agriculture; Past, Present and Future in Insect Control in Ghana“ – Talk by Uli Beisel (University of Bayreuth)

The Anopheles gambiae mosquito embodies malaria’s past, present and future. Malaria’s past is inscribed in today’s and tomorrow’s mosquito genome. However, encoded are not only past malaria control interventions, but also agricultural pest control choices. This talk analyses these entanglements of health and agriculture and discusses those with reference to the health futures the One Health movement imagines and makes (im)possible.




Uli Beisel is Juniorprofessor for Culture and Technology in Africa at the University of Bayreuth. Her work is inspired by feminist and postcolonial science and technology studies, and by medical, environmental and multispecies anthropology and geography:

„I have worked on mosquito-parasite-human entanglements in malaria control in Ghana and Sierra Leone, and continue to be fascinated by boundary practices between human and nonhuman organisms, as well as their possibilities of coexistence. My research is guided by the question how we might live well with organisms and substances that are harmful to human health. In this context I am interested in mutating mosquitoes and resistant parasites; zoonotic diseases; insecticides and pesticides; global health technologies, infrastructures and their crises; practices and politics of diagnosing and testing; evidence, speculation and ignorance; and the shifting landscapes of energy and waste in sub-Saharan Africa.“



Exploring Marine and Coastal Epistemologies

On 23rd January 2017, BNCL co-hosted a roundtable workshop entitled „Exploring Marine and Coastal Epistemologies“ at Hamburg University. The workshop brought together twenty human geographers, social and cultural anthropologists, historians and sociologists from universities and research institutes in Bremen, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Kiel and Dublin for a cross-thematic dialogue focussed on marine and coastal knowledge practices. Please find the workshop report here.

BNCL Program Summer 2017

For summer semester 2017 we are looking forward to three events of Bremen NatureCultures Lab. Changes will be updated regularly on this page.

10 April 2017, 12:15-13:45, SFG 2210
NatureCultures vs. Political Ecology – Real buzz or old in a new bottle?
Reading & Discussion Session based on: Anna Tsing (2015), The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Part III/chap 11-15, p 149-213.

8 Mai 2017, 12:15-13:45, SFG 2210
Talk by Uli Beisel: „One Health(y) Future? Entanglement of Health and Agriculture; Past, Present and Future in Insect Control in Ghana“

16 Mai 2017, 18:15-19:45, Rotunde im Cartesium (attention: different time and location)
„Working with Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand: An ethnography of coastal protection“ – Talk by Friederike Gesing (University of Bremen)

19 June 2017, 12:00 (s.t.!!!)-13:45, SFG 2210
Writing NatureCultures – Workshop with Banu Subramaniam (details will be announced)

Ethnography of Coastal Protection

Working with nature – and not against it – is a global trend in coastal management. This ethnography of coastal protection by lab member Friederike Gesing follows the increasingly popular approach of „soft“ protection to the Aotearoa New Zealand coast. Friederike Gesing analyses a political controversy over hard and soft protection measures, and introduces a growing community of practice involved in projects of working with nature. Dune restoration volunteers, coastal management experts, surfer-scientists, and Maori conservationists are engaged in projects ranging from do-it-yourself erosion control, to the reconstruction of native nature, and soft engineering „in concert with natural processes“. With soft protection, Friederike argues, we can witness a new sociotechnical imaginary in the making.

The book (E-Book or softcover) can be ordered from the publisher here. It is also available as an open access version via the State and University Library Bremen.



Next lab meeting on Monday 19th December

19 December, 12:15-13:45, The Box (ZMT) (Wiener Straße 7)
„A Research Vessel as Boundary Place of Knowledge Production: The Meteor in the Eastern Atlantic, Summer 2016″ – an input by Anna-Katharina Hornidge’s (ZMT Bremen) that we would like to take as an opportunity to discuss more broadly legitimation strategies of doing STS-research in interdisciplinary/collaborative fields

Talk by Aníbal García Arregui (Wien), 29 November

„The Scientist, the Shaman and the Shaman’s Shaman: Climate Change as Ontographical Challenge“ 

29 November (Tuesday!),18:15-19:45, Rotunde im Cartesium


Trees and rainfall are related. Everybody knows that. But, to what extent? A climate scientist and a shaman claim that Amazonian trees are determining atmospheric dynamics on a global scale. But are they really talking about the same forest? The same rain? The same world? This talk engages with what has been presented in the vocabulary of the recent ‘ontological turn’ as being incommensurable anthropological differences. Aníbal G. Arregui assesses this discussion – and the role of its new actors – against the backdrop of climate change and environmental degradation.



Aníbal García Arregui does research and teaching in environmental anthropology, political ecology, Amazonian anthropology, ethnographic methods and theory. His regional focus lies on the lower Amazon and Brazil (ribeirinhos and quilombolas). In his current research project  he works on „Translating the Climate: the Amazon as Cosmopolitical Tension“. In 2013 he published his doctoral thesis La Selva Tecnológica: Sistemas Sociotécnicos y Antropología Simétrica en Comunidades Ribereñas del Bajo Amazonas„. He is currently working as a lecturer in “Economic Anthropology and Environmental Politics” at the University of Vienna.

Download the flyer for the event here. If you want to receive preparation text for this  session, please contact Katrin Amelang (