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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Giving Meaning to Nature in an Age of Globalization

Robert Bieder.

Many scholars hold that the conept of nature is a cultural construction and thus varies from culture to culture. Unfortunately, as western environmental organizations seek to establish nature preserves around the world to protect endangered species and natural resources, they too often presume a universal meaning for nature and a common desire to protect it that does not exist. This paper will consider a selection of such cases and the problems and misunderstandings that arise and sugeest that giving meaning to nature in a cross-cultural environment is a difficult undertaking.


Robert Bieder  (United States)
Visitng Professor of History
Department of History and the SChool of Public Environmental Affairs
Indiana University

Dr Bieder has a Ph.D from the Unviersity of Minnesota and is the author of several books and articles. He has held five Fulbright lectureships in Germany, Hungary, and Finland. Postdoctoral fellowships include ones from the Newberry Library and the Smithsonian Institution. He is also the recipient of grants from the American Philosophical Society, Ford Foundation and the Finnish Academy. His last book won the Award of Merit from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. He is currently working on a book on bears.

  • Nature
  • Culture
  • Nature Preserves
  • Environmental organisations

(30 min Conference Paper, English)