Indigenous experiences of climate crisis, driven by colonisation, settler colonialism, and neoliberal development, have inflicted profound environmental change upon Indigenous peoples across the globe. Forced to develop practices to adapt to sustained anthropogenic climate impacts, Indigenous traditional ecological knowledges (TEK) remain resilient into the 2020s across geographies.
Contemporary Indigenous storywork reflects intimate understandings of, and guidance for, sustainable human relationships with the natural world. Contemporary Indigenous Climate Scholars are also developing collaborative international methodological frameworks within 21st century Indigenous climate change discourse. These frameworks can support the decolonisation of climate change discourse, policy, and scholarship as we move further into the 2020s, and guide how climate scientists and scholars can respectfully, ethically and collaboratively engage with Indigenous TEK and storywork.
This interdisciplinary PhD will explore the relationships between Indigenous storywork, TEK, and climate resilience.
The project will compare published traditional Indigenous stories with storyworks emerging in the 2020s, and engage with a range of significant sources, including current locally-told Indigenous oral stories, personal testimonies of Indigenous climate activists, the fictional works of contemporary Indigenous writers since 2015, plus story maps, visioning exercises and other participatory approaches.
This project addresses key questions about how Indigenous storywork can guide local, national, and international climate policy decisions. This project considers how Indigenous understandings of the rights of diverse other-than-human beings can steer future international climate policy decisions and legislative action, including the potential of an international expansion of environmental laws informed by Indigenous TEK, to enshrine the rights of the natural world in law.
Through creative engagement with 21st century Indigenous storytellers and climate activists, this project will diversify and decolonise climate change discourse to widen public understanding of more sustainable ways of living and being beyond conventional data-based scientific approaches.
The student will have full access to the training programmes from both Faculties involved, including skills workshops and interdisciplinary research training seminars.
Comparative Literary Studies, Climate Change/Environment and Development Studies.