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‘The Future of Wild Europe’ – Postgraduate and Early-Career Researcher Conference

September 12, 2016 - September 14, 2016


What is the future of the wild in Europe? Wildness is a key theme across many European societies, an idea often used to separate nature from cultures. Places, people, processes and objects have all been described as wild, yet the meanings, values and locations of ‘the wild’ in Europe have changed over time, and will continue to evolve. Some have seen the confinement of the wild into its proper place as a defining feature of European civilisation. Alternatively, moves to re-wild Europe argue that humans should loosen their control over nature in order to let the wild back in, an assertion that preserves a nature-culture dualism. This interdisciplinary conference will explore the meaning, place and value of ‘the wild’ within the Europe of today and the future.

Questions that might be explored include: What places, things and processes might be considered wild in Europe now and going forward? How can past explorations of the wild be used to understand how we might relate to wildness in future? What and where is the legacy of past wildness? How have ideas of wildness changed through time? How have societal and demographic shifts contributed to an urban and suburban, as well as rural, apprehension of the wild? How might ideas of wildness help humans understand and cope with cultural, social, economic and environmental risks? How can these ideas be applied in modern conservation? What value does the wild hold for Europe as a whole, and for European states and citizens/non-citizens individually?

The conference will be organised along four interwoven themes:

  • The wild and memory
  • Wildness and risk
  • Wastelands/wildlands
  • Wild Europe

Confirmed speakers include Liz DeLoughrey (UCLA, English), Dolly Jørgensen (Luleå, History), Britt Kramvig (Tromsø, Anthropology), Thierry Lefebvre (IUCN France, Evolutionary Biology) and Jamie Lorimer (Oxford, Geography).

Conference fee: £10. Some bursaries for assistance with travel will be available. This nominal fee also includes an optional field trip in the Yorkshire region on 11 September for interested participants.

The School of English invites the participation of postgraduate and early-career researchers from across disciplines, such as history, literature studies, geography, anthropology, environmental philosophy and conservation biology. They particularly encourage submissions from those working in the environmental humanities and on interdisciplinary research. Note while the conference will have traditional panel session presentations, we also welcome the participation of scholars who wish to present via alternative formats (e.g. poster sessions, film screenings and photographic or audio presentations).

Paper/presentation titles and abstracts of max 200 words should be sent to both Dr George Holmes (G.Holmes@leeds.ac.uk) and Dr Roger Norum (R.Norum@leeds.ac.ukno later than Friday 22 April.

The conference is co-hosted by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network: Environmental Humanities for a Concerned Europe (ENHANCE) and the Wildland Research Institute.


September 12, 2016
September 14, 2016


School of English


University of Leeds