On the fringes of adaptation: climate change, risk perception and household resettlement in rural Malawi

Stern Kita // Geography // Wednesday 22nd February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


The lecture focuses on a study conducted in Malawi, sub-Saharan Africa as part of a PhD project to assesses why there are variations in adopting resettlement as an adaptation measure among households with similar levels of vulnerability to climate variability and change. It will specifically narrow down on how social-psychological and socio-economic factors determine resettlement outcomes. This will then be discussed within broader adaptation and disaster risk reduction perspectives to demonstrate some of the challenges that vulnerable households in low-income countries face as they adapt to climate change, within the context of equally demanding livelihood and other needs. It will also demonstrate this complexity in private adaptation with evidence showing that, in most communities, adaptation decisions are made not just in response to a single hazard. In the case of these complexities, maladaptive options, or non-response options such as wishful thinking, denial and fatalism that some households are adopting become clearer.


Stern Kita is a third year PhD student in Geography whose research is focusing on adaptation to climate change and climate variability, with a focus on resettlement. He has worked in disaster risk management for the past seven years within government in Malawi. He holds an MSc in Environment and Development from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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National identity integration and belonging among white British middle-class British adults in north-east London/Essex

Amy Clarke // Geography // Wednesday 15th February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


In this talk I will present the background of my research and offer some thoughts on the question of how white British-born people (in the suburbs of London) understand other people as belonging (or not) to a British ‘national community of belonging’. Where do they draw the line between ‘national us’ and ‘foreign them’? And, what does this tell us about contemporary processes of inclusion and exclusion?


Amy Clarke is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of Sussex. She is a Social and Cultural Geography with an MA in Migration Studies, also from the University of Sussex, with research interests in national identity and belonging, migrant integration, race and ethnicity. She is now in the third year of her PhD into white British understandings of national identity and belonging in a London suburb.

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The moral corporation: On personal conviction and professional care of Turkish CEOs

Deniz Seebacher // Anthropology // Wednesday 8th February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


CEOs are often the charismatic faces of the corporations and represent the corporate personality. While corporate practices are associated with exploitation and greedy profit maximization, their CEOs often highlight the philanthropic and giving role of their organizations for society. In this lecture, I will go beyond corporate practices labeled as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and look at the historical development and contemporary roles of corporations and their leaders in Turkey.

Using the case of two big Turkish corporations with publicly vocal CEOs, their histories within the Turkish nation state as well as their involvement in the Gezi park protests (2013), I will elaborate on CEOs as family patriarchs, business leaders and their roles within today’s society and the political landscape in Turkey. From a care perspective, it becomes especially interesting to see what they care about and whom they care for, in their quest to create coherent images of personal integrity, professionalism, and business trajectories. The notion of care is a powerful way to create relationships and dependencies, and frame political ideas of what doing good for society means.


Deniz Seebacher is currently completing her doctoral thesis at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, after having conducted ethnographic fieldwork with the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Department of a corporate holding in Turkey between 2012 and 2016. She focuses on every day CR&S practices and ideas of morality within the corporate form.

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On the Politics of Biodiversity and Forests

Andrea Brock // International Relations // Wednesday 27th April 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133



What is biodiversity and why should it matter? What are some of the politics involved in nature conservation? Can we solve our biodiversity crisis through privatising, commodifying, marketising and financialising nature? I suggest we can’t, but we need much more fundamental transformations of our political economic system. Current approaches to “neoliberal conservation”, especially biodiversity markets, pretend that we can have a win-win-win, saving nature, enabling ‘development’ and making money off it. Instead, these policies legitimise an inherently unsustainable system and facilitate business as usual, as I show with a case study of biodiversity offsetting in Malaysia.


Andrea is a doctoral researcher and Associate Tutor in International Relations, member of the Centre for Global Political Economy and STEPS Centre. Her PhD research is about the development of the No Net Loss of biodiversity initative in the European Union. She has worked for a number of social and environmental nongovernmental organisations in the past and considers herself an activist for social and ecological justice.

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Afrodescendientes: Race, politics and development in Venezuela

Nadia Mosquera Muriel //International Development// Wednesday 20th April 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133

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Before Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, remained largely unacknowledged the existence of African cultural, political and economic roots in Venezuela. This has been the result of elites’ discourses on Mestizaje (race mixture between Europeans, Indigenous, and Africans) to unify highly mixed populations around a consciousness of ‘we are all mestizos’. However, Mestizaje disguises a system of racial inequality without racial tensions. This hegemonic construction of identities only emphasised their European and –in lesser extents-, Indigenous values while rejecting Africans in most Latin American countries during the XX century.

The coup in 2002 against the President Hugo Chavez was a crucial point in which Venezuelan elites surfaced, that a substantial part of the anti-Chavez sentiments was due to not only his style and his appeal to the poorest sectors but also due to his skin colour and physical features. On the other hand, was during Chavez Presidency (and now Nicolas Maduro) that Afro-Venezuelans challenged Mestizaje discourse and are in the process of creating on a larger scale, a political Afrodescendiente (black) identity to overcome poverty and racism in the country.

This presentation reconstructs and interprets with ethnographic data, the construction of a black/Afrodescendiente consciousness in a small rural Afro-Venezuelan village (Osma). Their inhabitants are the descendants of African peoples who were enslaved in the area during colonial times. Paradoxically, the engagement between the State andAfrodescendientes leaders in Osma is developing within a network of clientelism and corporatism, which are structures of domination, that limits the ways in which local leaders can satisfy the collective demands for development of their own village.


Nadia Mosquera Muriel is a Ph.D. candidate in International Development at the University of Sussex. She has experience as a consultant on foreign policy issues within the Venezuelan public sector. Her current research interests centre on the development of a black consciousness in Venezuela and the political strategies followed by Afrodescendientes/black groups to engage with the State.

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Revisiting ‘homeland’: experiences of ‘home’ and wellbeing among ageing Azorean returnees

Dora Sampaio //Geography// Wednesday 13th April 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133


Labour migrants who crossed borders in search of a better life often face the dilemma of returning back home in later-life. Thus far, scarce attention has been given to the adaptation challenges faced by return migrants moving back to their origin countries to spend retirement. However, several studies seem to suggest that migrants tend to experience significant re-adjustment challenges once they return ‘home’.

Drawing on a set of 36 in-depth life narrative interviews and a six-month period of ethnographic fieldwork with later-life Azorean returnees (mostly from the USA and Canada), I will explore these migrants’ integration paths and experiences of home upon return to the Azores. Furthermore, the lecture delves into the role of place and multiple geographies of home in shaping migrants’ integration processes and wellbeing trajectories back in the homeland. The narratives selected are framed around three different experiences of return: ‘narratives of contentment’, ‘hybrid spaces of renegotiation and transitionality’ and‘narratives of discontent’. Given the subjectivity inherent to the social construction of ‘contentment’ or ‘wellbeing’, particular attention is drawn to four analytical dimensions: physical/material; health;psychosocial and place attachment and belonging.

In some cases, return has represented self-realisation and the corollary of a hard working life abroadresulting in a deep sense of physical and emotional wellbeing; in others, loneliness, absence of family and,to some extent, social isolation have led to narratives of disappointment and non-belonging. Also notinfrequently, and sometimes in light of major life events such as the death of a spouse or the birth of agrandchild, there seems to be an in-between situation marked by a permanent renegotiation of ‘here’ and


Dora Sampaio is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of Sussex. She has been previously involved in a number of projects on national and international migration at the University of Lisbon, including the European projects THEMIS – Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems and GEITONIES – Generating Inter-ethnic tolerance and neighbourhood integration in European Urban spaces. Trained as a human geographer at the University of Lisbon (BA, MA), her main research interests lie in the intersection between international migration and later-life mobilities with particular focus on islands and local/rural contexts. In her doctoral research she is looking at later-life migration in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic.

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Legacy of slavery, citizenship and ethnic identity. The struggles of slave descendants in Sahelian Africa

Valerio Colosio //SCMR & Geography// Wednesday 16th March 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133


Slavery is the harshest and most enduring form of social subjugation in global history. Although now officially abolished everywhere, it still represents a current issue and has left a social legacy that represents a relevant topic for social science. The aim of my research is to assess the aftermath of slavery in Sahel, through the case of the Guera region, in central Chad.

I carried out my research with a group locally labelled as “slave descendant” in the Guera region. I am trying to understand what it means to be considered as a slave descendant; and how the recent decentralization reforms are affecting slave descendants’ situation. In this lecture, I will try to discuss some theoretical tools that I am reassessing on the basis of the evidences collected in the fieldwork. First, the category of slave descendant, whose meaning is often grounded in a particular context; then the policies of decentralization and the concept of local civil society; finally, in a broader sense, the idea of citizenship and its relationship with ethnic identities.


Valerio is a PhD candidate of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He is investigating how the legacies of slavery are affecting political life in the Guera region, in central Chad. This research forms part of a larger project funded the European Research Council grant 313737 “Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond. A Historical Anthropology” (http://shadowsofslavery.org/), focusing on the legacies of slavery. The research is implemented by the University of Milan – Bicocca.

He has achieved an MA in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Milan – Bicocca in 2009 and an MSc in Anthropology and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012. He has worked in different NGO projects in Chad between 2010 and 2013, spending there a total of 16 months. His main research interests are slavery in the Sahel area and its legacy on contemporary political life; local civil society and its capacity to foster marginal people participation to the social and political life.

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