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Decolonization and Reinhabitation

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Decolonization and Reinhabitation


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Haraway (1989) invites us to imagine, “What might a post-colonial reinvention of nature look like?” She cautions, “Western forms of love and knowledge of nature have been profoundly colonial; knowledge of how this has been so cannot be allowed to degenerate into an excuse for losing an historical capacity to know, love and act in relation to the strange and dynamic category still somehow able to be called ‘nature.’” (p. 274). She writes of “negotiating the terms on which love of nature could be part of the solution to, rather than part of the imposition of, colonial domination and environmental destruction” (p. 275)


Gruenwald (2003b) decribes decolonization and reinhabitation can be seen as two dimensions of the same task. Responding to assaults on human and biotic diversity in particular local places is an approach that problematizes Western patterns of uneven development, inviting scrutiny of overdeveloped cultures rather than problematizing the developing world. Gruenwald writes, “Through a spatialized lens, an international division of labour stands out as perhaps the most taken-for-granted condition of contemporary economic life; it is the epitome of uneven development and demonstrates the interdependent, if unequal relationships between people and place from disparate geographical regions” – a division of labour mirrored domestically in the vast divide between the contented class and the functional underclass (n. 13 p. 648).


Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer whose art explores the landscape of uneven development.


Edward Burtynsky, "Manufacturing #17," Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, China, 2005



Shipbreaking #21, Chittagong, Bangladesh 2000

Chromogenic Colour Print




Densified Oil Filters by Edward Burtynsky



Thinking Nature Index


Thinking Nature References

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