Indian Ocean World Podcast – Migrant Ecologies, The Multispecies World of Oil Palm, and Mapping Oysters

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The Indian Ocean World Podcast seeks to educate and inform its listeners on topics concerning the relationship between humans and the environment throughout the history of the Indian Ocean World. Today we are featuring three recent environmental-history themed episodes with James Beattie, Sophie Chao, and Tamara Fernando.

Tamara Fernando, “Mapping Oysters and Making Oceans in the Northern Indian Ocean, 1880–1906”

In the first episode of our fall season, Dr. Philip Gooding (IOWC, McGill) is in conversation with Prof. Tamara Fernando (Stony Brook). Taking Prof. Fernando’s 2023 paper, “Mapping Oysters and Making Oceans in the Northern Indian Ocean, 1880–1906,” as their starting point, they discuss her research into the 19th-century pearl trade around the Indian Ocean World, which spans several historical subfields—animal and labour histories; the histories of science and empire—and calls us to reexamine the role of non-human actors and indeed of the ocean itself in Indian Ocean World studies.

Prof. Fernando completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2022 and has recently joined Stony Brook University in New York as Associate Professor in the Department of History.

Sophie Chao, “The Beetle or the Bug” & “The Multispecies World of Oil Palm”

Producer Sam Gleave Riemann (IOWC, McGill) is joined by Dr. Sophie Chao (Sydney) to discuss the complex ecologies of West Papuan oil palm plantations. They consider multispecies kinships, capitalist aggression, and the various critters who assist and oppose the oil palm’s presence in Papua.

Dr. Chao completed her PhD at the Macquarie University in 2019 and is now a DECRA Fellow and Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, she worked for the Indigenous rights organization Forest Peoples Programme in Indonesia and the UK. She is the author of In the Shadow of the Palms: More-than-human Becomings in West Papua, which was published in 2022 with Duke University Press.

James Beattie, “Migrant Ecologies” & International Review of Environmental History

Dr. Philip Gooding (IOWC, McGill) welcomes Dr. James Beattie (Victoria University of Wellington) for a wide-ranging discussion of Dr. Beattie’s work: the 2022 multi-author volume Migrant Ecologies: Environmental History of the Pacific World, which he co-edited with Ryan Tucker Jones and Edward Dallam Melillo; his chapter in that book, “Chinese Resource Frontiers, Environmental Change, and Entrepreneurship in the South Pacific, 1790s–1920s”; and the International Review of Environmental History, a dynamic, refereed, open-access journal of which he is founding editor.

Dr. Beattie completed his PhD at the University of Otago in 2005 and since then has has published widely on Chinese and environmental history in the Pacific World.

Feature Image: Oil palm fruit at an oil palm plantation, Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Flore de Preneuf / World Bank. “Oil palm fruit at an oil palm plantation” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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