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Biology and Environment

Strand leader: Adrian Currie and Angela Cassidy

Our species has always intervened, constructed, and adapted the environmental and biological worlds we find ourselves in to our needs: we have domesticated animals, transformed the botanical to the agricultural, and managed forests, plains and rivers. Today, our technological, social, and political capacities to make such interventions have become increasingly complex and opaque, while also becoming increasingly powerful and global, as exemplified by climatic shifts and the modification of organisms through large-scale genetic alteration. Never has it been more important to understand the relationship between the contents and methods of scientific research and the future of human societies, and life on this planet.

To these issues Egenis’ Biology & Environment Stream brings a much-needed perspective informed by the anthropology, history, sociology and philosophy of science. Ranging from reflection on the relationships between humans and non-humans (including animals, plants and microbes), to investigating how systems of intervention interact with social goals and scientific knowledge, to critiquing how human-environment relationships are structured, to examining the conceptual and metaphysical foundations of ideas within the biological and environmental sciences, our work denies that these global problems can be tackled using purely technological or technocratic machinery. Instead, the stream brings a pluralistic, multi-disciplinary and mixed-methods approach to these issues, with a focus on integrating the best of the biological and ecological science with humanistic and social-scientific perspectives.