1. Tue 12 Jan: Finale and new beginning

Start Forums Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History 2015 1. Tue 12 Jan: Finale and new beginning

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January 15, 2015 at 12:15 #15975

Reading: No reading required before this event.

Instructions: Write a short review (eg a summary) on three of your 2nd year colleagues presentation, describing the aims of the project, methdodology and theoretical frames and possible implications of the student (0.5 each). Select one of the subjects presented for an in depth study, follow up sources and literature (1 page. Post reflections on course portal 26 of January 18.00.

January 26, 2015 at 10:19 #16280

Fanny’s reviews on 2nd year students thesis:

January 26, 2015 at 14:51 #16292

Current debates 2015 01 12

Yu Wang

1, Christina’s thesis topic is “ Peace Park and transfrontier nature conservation in South Africa: The case of the Great Lompopo Transfrontier Park”
Peace Park is a new and also interesting concept for me as a Chinese student. I mean, the concept of “Peace Park ” as an idea is more about the nice imagination about humans future with nature which is not only for Africa but also full of meaning for other countries in the world.
In Christina’s thesis plan, she will use the Great Lompopo Transfrontier Park that corsss Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Afica as one of her major case, together with some other cases as a whole to be the funderment of the whole thesis. In order to explain she focus on the history of peace and conflict, even try to analyse the land ownership between public and private which from law perspective.

2, Nisa Dedic “ The experience of a socialist urban plan- a class-based perspective”
As we know that Nisa Dedic comes from a socialist town in Slovenia which was created in 1940 as a government project. I come from China that had similer political system with Slovenia before. This is why I could easily understand what Nisa wants to express on her thesis. My home town which located in Northwest of China was set up as the similar reason like Nisa’s hometown in Slovenia.
Nisa’s aim on her thesis is analisy how big influence a city would get from different social background people.
Maxism, social construction will be used as theories and method on her study. She is also consider to interview different people from Slovenia as one of her method.

YongLiang Gao He will conduct a researsh on migrant rural worker’s happiness in Changsha city which is in south of China. Gao just change his theis no more than two weeks before the seminer. So that he couln’t give a clearly explian on research aim, method and theory he will use on his thesis later, But I still have strong interesting on it.

YongLiang Gao He will conduct a researsh on migrant rural worker’s happiness in Changsha city which is in south of China. Gao just change his theis no more than two weeks before the seminer. So that he couln’t give a clearly explian on research aim, method and theory he will use on his thesis later, But I still have strong interesting on it. Some of my classmates have asked Gao questiones about his questionnaire. Through those questions I could find how different reactions towards to the same question depend on different culture and background. I would like to suggest Gao to add some more information as introduction in order to help the readers who may come from out of China could easily grab his point. For example, Gao need explain the reason why he choose to focus on Happiness. Also, definite what is happiness. Does Chinese people share the same idea about happiness with Swedish or even Western people, if not, what is the difference, what is the reason to result in the different idea about happiness. Beside, Gao need to exlain what is migrant rural worker in China. The reason I ask here is because the migrant rural worker has huge population in China, and has to be an important role to reflect a lot of social contradictions in China. Such as HuKou which refers to warfare system. HuKou is typical belong to Chinese style, which is not ease to let others understand. But if Gao want to analsy the migrant rural worker’s happiness, he has to find a way to explain the different social system in China today. Otherwise some readers may not understand the relationship between his topic “ Happy” with his questionnaire about education, income, housing and so on.
Also, Gao has to be careful about different culture. For example, I have deep impression about a question Gao was asked during seminal that if Chinese will feel uncomfortable be asked about their income. This question reveal how different idea we have as Chinese with Swedish.

January 26, 2015 at 15:12 #16293

Ghide Habtetsion Gebremichael 26/01/2015
Reviews on: Current Debates

Adaptability, Resilience and Transformability: a historical ecology of a traditional furrow irrigation system on the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro.

MA Thesis project by Sabath Sunday.

The thesis tries to explore within three theoretical frame works of related attributes of social–ecological systems (SESs) to determine their future trajectories: resilience, adaptability, and transformability. Resilience (the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks) has four components—latitude, resistance, precariousness, and panarchy—most readily portrayed using the metaphor of a stability landscape. Adaptability is the capacity of actors in a system to influence resilience (in a SES, essentially to manage it). There are four general ways in which this can be done, corresponding to the four aspects of resilience. Transformability is the capacity to create a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable. The thesis seems containing a lot of terms to be elaborated in depth. Refereeing the following books could be advantageous (Holling 1973, Gunderson and Holling 2002).

Thus, with the above background the thesis will explore the social-ecological systems (SESs) a case study of the traditional furrow irrigation system on the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. I would like to recommend if the research stressing on the four terms of resilience (latitude, resistance, precariousness, and panarchy) and explore in depth. However as the terms seems interconnected a holistic approach in all the terms is also good. The approach of the research looks interesting but it needs some review on the number of interviewee. As he presented his preliminary proposal, he said that he is going to make an interview with more than 200 individuals and household. Though it is good for accuracy of the research, he should aware also on time constraint.

Methodologically it was designed with the assumption of using a mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative. One of the methods specified on the thesis-SPSS software should also need clear understanding on its applications and data analyzing system. The research seems depending more of qualitative data. Methods like archival research, group and individual interview and especially elder once, house hold surveys and land scape walking and observation look very feasible.

In the entry point, it would be clearer if the terms should be defined precisely. For example he didn’t mention the four terms of Resilience which in my view seem very vital for the research.

The project has the potential for further research if the research done in the specified area would be applicable for another area. For instance I am not sure if the specified method under research is more applicable to solve other environmental problems. Nevertheless, researching their deep philosophical approach to their environment would seem more interesting in to the applications of another area.

January 26, 2015 at 15:26 #16294
Josefin Heed

Josefins reviews on 2nd year students thesis:


January 26, 2015 at 15:41 #16295
Meghan Buurmans

Meghan’s reviews 2nd year thesis presentations:

January 26, 2015 at 16:11 #16296
Henrik S

What historical narratives of the north and perception of nature are prevalent in the making of mining institutions? (Case study mining in Norrbotten) – Markus
Described as a metahistorical and phenomenological analysis, Markus will look deeper into the mining-sami issues in northern Sweden, i.e. Norrbotten, in the context of Sweden as a colonial state. Sweden has indeed a long history of subjugation of the north – often with racist undertones.
History is always written by the victor, hence a certain narrative are imposed to legitimise rights and claims. The suppression of the Swedish north is generated through stories produced and reproduced from mining companies and government since early modern times. Alternative stories and narratives of the subjugation of the northlands are hidden in education, in a semi-conscious way I would say, in order to maintain status quo. Thus, the aim for Markus is to see how different actors, government and indigenous alike, are using narratives for their actions. How do they justify their rights, claims and decisions? Through parliamentary debates, articles and interviews deconstructed by a method of discourse analysis, the hopes are to find this alternative narrative and expose the ‘silent history’, as I understand it.
I am with Markus on this one – we need to question current narratives, and instead see things from a different perspective and have multiple answers to same question. We need divergent thinking. Beware of subjectivity though; try to keep as biased as possible.

January 26, 2015 at 16:13 #16297
Henrik S


January 26, 2015 at 16:33 #16298
Josefin Heed

Developed review of the Swedish wolf debate: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwh8CAbMwXwZZTFlbDliR3I0S0k/view?usp=sharing

January 26, 2015 at 18:35 #16299
Lauri Jokinen

Sorry for the late submission


January 28, 2015 at 18:29 #16342

Ma-thesis Reviews

Short instruction

This paper contains four reviews of second-year student presentations regarding their plans for individual Master thesis. The three first reviews are short summary reviews and the final review is a more in-depth review.

Short review 1- Morag Ramsey’s presentation of Master thesis (2015-01-12)

Morag Ramsey Master thesis is titled “Swedish Wolf dilemma”. Ramsey presented the historical background of Sweden’s relationship to the Wolf, which eventually pushed the wolf into extinction. Todays population is only based on a small number of wolfs that has migrated to Sweden from Finland and Russia. Ramsey also pointed to differences in stakeholder views on wolf, which has lead to the controversies surrounding the Swedish wolf population that we have today.

The aim of the thesis is to deepen understanding of the conservation policy in regards to the Wolf population. She also aims to explore a specific avenue of global environmental history and to examine threads and themes that have arisen through the Master program in Global Environmental History, which I interpreted as aims that are still a bit vaguely formulated.

The first, and I believe more concrete aim, of understanding conservation policy in regards to the Wolf, focuses on the tensions created by differing policy issues. Ramsey specifically will research the use of Science and legal frameworks. In this regard she will look at issues such as terminology used by actors such as NGO’s, Swedish Parliament and Sami Parliament. Ramsey also plans to look at how these actors interact with the legal framework, as well as how they portray science and nature conservation issues.

Ramsey plans to use Actor Network Theory and the main methodology of acquiring empirical date is planed to be interviews. Specifically, Ramsey plans to conduct interviews with individuals in actor institutions to get an insight in their views of the issue. She wants to inquire if they show advocacy for different groups e.g. wolfs, hunters or the European Union (EU). Furthermore, Ramsey wants to research if different actors use science in similar ways, and if there is miscommunication between them based on differences in their respective aims. Finally, she wants to research how these different actors connect the wolf dilemma to nature conservation.

Short Review 2 – Marcus Nyström’s presentation of Master thesis (2015-01-12)

Nyström presented his Master thesis that will be about mining issues in Sweden, and issues regarding Swedish indigenous Sami population. Something that I believe he pointed to have a long historical background were Sweden has in many of these issues acted as a colonial state, and it is clear that the controversies are still very current.

Nyström describes that history is not what happened but rather the narratives of events i.e. the stories we tell. In this sense it is often the conquerors that writes the story of what happened and creates an historical truth. To dissect the prevalent historical narratives Nyström intends to use Narrative theory. He also describes his subject as something of a Meta thesis, as it prescribes to how people use history in different ways to influence the future.

Nyström main research question will be to answer what the historical narratives about the Swedish north are, and what perspective on nature is prevalent on mining issues in Sweden. Nyströms main methodology to acquire empirical data will be to use interviews. He also intends to research written material, such as debate articles, to examine the narratives that are portrayed there.

Short review 3 – Yongliang Gao presentation of Master thesis (2015-01-12)

Yongliang Gao’s Master thesis has the working title “An investigation of rural migrant workers’ happiness in Changsha: Applying happiness for China’s urban planning”. Gao presented the background of China’s rapid population growth and urbanization of the region. He also explained the lack of mutual understanding between rural and urban population, which with growing population also has become an increasingly problematic issue that has not been sufficiently researched. In this regard the rural migrant workers’ happiness is one important aspect to contextualize.

The aims of the thesis will be to, on the basis of this understanding, give suggestions on how urban populations could live that would create better social stability and mutual understanding between urban and rural populations.

Theoretically Gao plans to look at the factors that are most influential for happiness; Education, Health, Employment, Income and Housing. With these factors he plans to gage the happiness of migrant workers.

Gao plans to use a case study method were he will research the happiness of migrant workers the second tier city of Changsha, which has approximately seven million inhabitants. Second tier cities are often provincial capitals that receive the largest amount of rural migrant workers, and as such Changsha will serve as a good representative for studying such areas. The methodology will acquire empirical data through a questionnaire, to which regression analysis will be applied. Gao also plans to use Geographic information systems (GIS) to present his findings visually.

Review 4 – Kristina Berglund’s presentation of Master thesis (2015-01-12)

I did a more in-depth review of Kristina Berglund’s presented of her Master thesis with the working title “Peace Parks and transfrontier nature conservation in Southern Africa: The case of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park”. Berglund presented the background to her thesis, regarding the problematic balance between different rights and interests of human populations on one hand, and the obligation to preserve biodiversity and a functioning planet on the other. To this end Peace and conflict studies, including Environmental history and Nature conservation are important political tools.

One place were many of these problems are explored are in Transfrontier Conservation areas, such as Peace Parks, that dramatically increased in number in South Africa during in the late 1990s. Berglund presented what she called the “Bringing down the fences rhetoric” from the Peace Park Foundation, which is behind the introduction of Peace Parks. The rhetoric reiterating the foundations aims to allow free roaming of animals across national borders, remove political boundaries between countries and break down fences that hinder community participation in nature conservation.

Berglund reiterated and explained how peace parks entail issues regarding conservation of biodiversity, peace and economic stability, Public-private partnerships. But the preliminary studies also show that there are possible negative effects of these conservation areas, such as issues with the resettlement process for the population living in these areas. Other possible negative effects to look at are issues of structural racism and imperialism.

Berglund thesis aims to explore and analyse peace parks as a phenomenon. She wants to examine what actors are involved and how is the concept of Peace Parks described, motivated and implemented. She will also look at the idea of peace parks are framed and how this corresponds to the practical activities carried out. All aims have a special focus on the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA); which is situated in-between the countries of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Berglund plans to use Actor-Network Theory, as presented by the sociologists Bruno Latour, John Law and Michel Callon. The use of this theory is well suited to help determine how networks are framed as well as the infrastructure build-up of these networks. The theory is based on the assumption that no one actor acts alone but rather as a network with many co-dependent and connected actors.

For methodology Berglund will use literature studies, mainly of previous research and official reports, and perform a discourse analysis on this material. She will also use semi-structured interviews and observations. As she has a special focus on GLTFCA as a conservation area this is where the empirical studies will be conducted.

January 28, 2015 at 18:52 #16343
Miguel Núñez

Miguel’s reviews 2nd year thesis presentations:

February 11, 2015 at 20:56 #16532
Anneli Ekblom

Thank you for your submissions! You have all done well, constructive critical but polite and respectful comments. I think your 2nd year collegues will appreciate your comments a lot and I will forward your comments to them. The individual assignments are not graded but I want to comment style of reviews in general for the future. Try to lift your reviews and reflections to an analytical level. Eg there is no need to repeat excactly what a person said or wrote, what is interesting here is how you contextualise this in terms of your personal reflection. Some of you have made personal reflections and have assessed the projects by suggestion angles, research questions and also constructuvely challenged some assumptions in a very elegant way (read for instance Josefin Heeds extended analyses of Morags project). Please read each others reviews to learn from each other and also discuss this in your course meeting on friday.

February 16, 2015 at 19:26 #16616
Ylva Lundkvist Fridh


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