A wind turbine farm

Lunchtime seminar series

We are excited to announce we will be hosting SEI's lunchtime seminars again in 2024.

Chaired by SEI's Acting Director Prof Danielle Celermajer, these informal seminars provide a platform for networking, testing ideas, and receiving feedback between SEI members.

Join us online every few weeks, starting Thursday 7th March (12-1pm) to contribute to the vibrant discourse shaping the future of environmental research. 

Please note, this is an internal, members only event. Please click here to register your interest. 

Upcoming seminars

Title:  Climate, Crops, and Postharvest Conflict

Does El Niño alter conflict dynamics in affected regions? Associate Professor David Ubilava will present new evidence of the effects of climate shocks on political violence and social unrest.

David will analyse granular conflict and weather data covering the entire continent of Africa from 1997 to 2023, finding that a yield-reducing moderate-strength El Niño event results in at least a three percent reduction in violence against civilians during the early postharvest season. 

Speakers: Associate Professor David Ubilava

David Ubilava is an agricultural economist with interests in food and agricultural markets, climate, and conflict. His current research applies granular data to study fundamental societal issues that lead to or result from political violence in developing countries. He has published widely in leading field and interdisciplinary journals such as the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Global Environmental Change, Climatic Change, and World Development, among others. Dr. Ubilava’s research is funded by the Australian Research Council.

Title:  Addressing the Adaptation-Finance Gap: Pathways for the Green Climate Fund in the Pacific 

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) seeks to balance mitigation and adaptation financing to promote a 'paradigm shift' towards low emission and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries. Yet, as climate change impacts become more severe, the gap between adaptation needs and climate finance is increasingly evident. This is nowhere more apparent than in the Pacific, which is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Speakers: Associate Professor Katherine Owens, Dr George Carter,  Professor Susan Park, Dr Gemma Viney

Katherine Owens is an Associate Professor in Environmental Law at the University of Sydney Law School and Director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law. Her research combines both social and legal methods to address significant issues of environmental law and governance, including how law and governance should manage climate change, energy transitions, water scarcity, environmental finance and the risks of coal seam gas mining.

George Carter is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics and Regionalism, at the Department of Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University (ANU). He is also the Director for the ANU Pacific Institute a network hub of over 200 scholars - connecting and promoting Pacific Sudies - research, teaching and training at the university.

Susan Park is Professor of Global Governance in International Relations at the University of Sydney. She focuses on how international organisations and global governance can become greener and more accountable, particularly in the transition to renewable energy. She has been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics, Oxford University, the Technical University of Munich, American University, and the Centennial Centre in Washington DC. Her work has been funded by the Australian, Canadian, British and German governments.

Gemma Viney's work examines the Australian experience of environmental justice. Despite significant mobilisation around environmental justice both in the US and internationally, scholars have not yet observed what can be described as an Australian environmental justice movement. While some Indigenous communities, climate activists, and local organisations have used the term, the majority of conversations around Australian environmental justice are currently happening within the academic sphere.

Title: Protest as spectacle: Performativity in the climate era

With worsening climate impacts, activism is also changing. Traditional models of campaigning are being replaced with more spectacular forms of protest in attempts to invert the institutionalized fossil fuel dependent system of production. In this presentation,  we explore the case study of the Stop Adani campaign in Australia, which sought to prevent the opening of the Adani mine; the first of several ‘mega-mines’ in the previously untapped Galilee coal basin. 

Speakers: Professor Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright is Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. His research focuses on climate change and the role of business in contributing and responding to the climate crisis. He has published extensively on issues of corporate environmentalism, corporate citizenship and fossil fuel hegemony and is the author of the books Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction (with Daniel Nyberg) and Organising Responses to Climate Change: The Politics of Mitigation, Adaptation and Suffering (with Daniel Nyberg and Vanessa Bowden).

Title: The idea of trauma-heritage: Disaster risk management and place attachments in relation to climate change.

SpeakersDr Charlotte Feakins

Charlotte Feakins teaches heritage studies and historical archaeology at the University of Sydney. Charlotte is a heritage practitioner, researcher, and lecturer with a background in historical archaeology. Since 2011, she has worked in a wide range of roles across research and industry including recently leading Community Heritage services at GML Heritage and conducting research to support the nationally significant Growing Tourism in Kakadu Australian Government initiative ($216 million).

Title: Resource extraction and settler anxiety in contemporary crime fiction

This presentation shares early findings from a new project titled ‘Resource Extraction and the Settler Colonial Spatial Imaginary: A Literary History’. This project has two aims. First, it collates and examines literary evidence for the central role of resource extraction in shaping the settler colonial spatial imaginary. Second, with Australian literary history as a major case study, it shows how particular sites of resource extraction give rise to specific permutations of genre and form. This presentation examines a suite of contemporary novels centred on murder in mining towns, arguing that this minor trend in Australian crime writing speaks to conflicting settler anxieties about economic reliance on resource extraction and the possibility of a post-extractive future.

Speakers: Dr Meg Brayshaw

Meg Brayshaw is the John Rowe Lecturer in Australian Literature at the University of Sydney. Her research interests include the twentieth century Australian novel, and literary engagements with space, environment, and climate. At Sydney University Press, she is academic editor of the Sydney Studies in Australian Literature series.

Title: Re-animalisation as a Politicised Research Methodology

In this work-in-progress presentation, Darren will share his ongoing development of Krithika Srinivasan's concept of re-animalisation as a political and politicised ethnographic research methodology. Applying re-animalisation to Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka's differentiation of animals into domesticated, wild, and liminal groups, and relying on my ethnography at Big Sky farmed animal sanctuary in Victoria, Darren will discuss the ways in which he as a researcher becomes an animal amongst other animals at the sanctuary, what type of animal he has become in relation to other residents, as well as the significance of such realisations and recognitions for his research.

Speakers: Darren Chang

Darren Chang is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Sydney. His research interests broadly include interspecies relations under colonialism and global capitalism, practices of solidarity, kinship, and mutual aid across species in challenging oppressive powers, social movement theories, and multispecies justice. Through political (and politicised) ethnography at animal sanctuaries, Darren's PhD research project explores potential alignments and tensions between animal and other social and environmental justice movements. The multispecies dimension of this project also considers the place, positions, and subjectivities of nonhuman animals in relation to anthropogenic social movements.

Title:  From the Planetary to Globalization: the role of Oilmen

In 2023, the appointment of an ‘oilman’ to lead one of the most important climate change conferences of our time, COP28, raised some controversy. But it was not the first time that oilmen have taken the lead in international environmental governance.  This presentation looks at how ‘oilmen’ were involved in the earliest examples of international environmental governance. Glenda argues that this historical focus helps us see the extent and significance of early 1970s’ debates focused on the ‘planetary’, and the conceptual shift at the intersections of environmental and economic thought towards ‘globalisation’, the paradigm that dominated international and global thinking in the latter decades of the 20th century. 

Speakers: Professor Glenda Sluga

Glenda Sluga is Professor of International History, and ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow at the University of Sydney. From 2020-2024, she is seconded as Professor of International History and Capitalism at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2013, she was awarded a five-year Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship for ‘Inventing the International’, working to reconnect historical and economic research and establish the foundations for the new history of capitalism in Australia, and to elaborate its international historical dimensions. In 2020, she is the recipient of a European Research Council Advanced Grant, overseeing a five-year research program on ‘Twentieth Century International Economic Thinking and the complex history of globalization.’

Title: Nature Prescriptions for Health: Evidence of effectiveness and motivations for nature contact

Contact with nature supports health and pro-environmental behaviour, but many people spend little time in natural environments. Little is known of the effectiveness of nature prescription interventions aiming to address this discrepancy, or of the personal motivations for potential participation. To address these knowledge gaps, we conducted a systematic review with meta-analyses to synthesise evidence on the effectiveness of nature prescriptions. Secondly, a nationally representative study in Australia was conducted to explore contrasting motivations for nature contact and nature prescription interest. Main results confirmed nature prescriptions have psychological, physiological, and behavioural health benefits.

Speakers:  Professor Thomas Astell-Burt

Thomas Astell-Burt is the Professor of Cities and Planetary Health and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in nature-based solutions for loneliness. Thomas is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher and is ranked 1st out of 10,000 globally for nature and health research. Thomas’s ARC, NHMRC and MRFF-funded research involves collaborating, co-producing, and communicating studies positioned to create healthier cities for all, and uses ‘social prescribing’ to (re)connect people with things in cities that can enable flourishing, e.g., green spaces.

Header image via Shutterstock, ID: 69767005.

SEI's lunchtime seminar series

Please note, this is a members only event. 

Thursday 07 March 2024 - Thursday 19 September 2024
12.00PM - 1.00PM
Online (Zoom)
RSVP via email

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