February 3, 2022: IRES Faculty Seminar with Mara Jill Goldman

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (Pacific Standard Time)

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From Narrating Nature to Decolonizing Conservation: Stories from Maasailand, East Africa


In this talk I present my book, Narrating Nature: Wildlife Conservation and Maasai Ways of Knowing (University of Arizona Press, 2020), which draws on over two decades of fieldwork among Maasai pastoralists in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. In the book, I seek to unsettle established ways of knowing, talking about, and managing human-wildlife relations and wildlife conservation in these landscapes and beyond, where Euro-American scientific approaches have historically dominated. I center customary Maasai knowledge production and presentation processes—in the form of narratives and the use of an active Maasai meeting/dialogue, the enkiguena. In challenging existing conservation models and the boundaries on which they rely (dividing people/nature, wild/domestic, and science/all other ways of knowing and being with nature), I ask what it might mean to talk about decolonizing conservation globally.

Mara Jill Goldman

Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Colorado-Boulder


Dr. Goldman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, with affiliations at the Institute for Behavioral Sciences, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and the Centro for International Studies, the University of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). She has a PhD in Geography and an MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a human-environment geographer, drawing from political ecology, science studies, and indigenous/decolonial scholarship to explore knowledge politics related to conservation and development in Southern African and South Asia.

Dr. Goldman is an International Visiting Research Scholar supported by the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.  Her visit to UBC has been postponed to July – August 2022. This seminar is part of her Visiting Scholar position at the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.