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June 22, 2023

MESH Research Fruits – Public Lecture: Eucalypts in the Patchy Anthropocene | Histories and Futures of the Camden White Gum

MESH Research Fruits

Public Lecture: Eucalypts in the Patchy Anthropocene | Histories and Futures of the Camden White Gum

Emily O’Gorman (Macquarie University, Sydney) and
Thom van Dooren (University of Sydney)

June 22, 2023 | 17.45 – 19.15 | Auerbach Bibliothek, Wienand Haus, Weyertal 59, 3. OG
Due to the library’s seating capacity, please register via e-mail: smaasse3uni-koeln.de

The Camden White Gum (Eucalyptus benthamii) is a threatened species of Eucalypt found in the Sydney region, Australia. While the species faces a range of threats, in recent years its future has become even more uncertain with a proposal by the state government to raise the wall of the Warragamba Dam, and in so doing drown the largest remaining population found in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. A few scattered stands of these trees can also be found elsewhere, growing along the Nepean River in what is now a predominantly rural and suburban area in Western Sydney. But they too are threatened in a range of ways, including by the changing hydrology of this landscape which has impacted on the reproduction of these flood-reliant trees. This paper attends to the biology of this tree—its life history and ecological relationships—with a particular focus on the flows of water that are at the heart of both the life and death of this species. It explores how past and contemporary settler Australian relationships with water, and its control and regulation, are unravelling possibilities for ongoing life for the species in a way that is likely to only increase in an era of escalating climatic uncertainty.

Emily O’Gorman is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her research is situated within environmental history and the interdisciplinary environmental humanities, and is primarily concerned with contested knowledges within broader cultural framings of authority, expertise, and landscapes. She is the author of Flood Country: An Environmental History of the Murray-Darling Basin (2012) and Wetlands in a Dry Land: More-than-human Histories of Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin (University of Washington Press, 2021). She is currently the Convenor of the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Environmental History Network.

Thom van Dooren is Deputy Director at the Sydney Environment Institute and an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Sydney. His research and writing focus on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia UP 2014), The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (Columbia UP 2019), and A World in a Shell: Snail Stories for a Time of Extinctions (MIT 2022). www.thomvandooren.org

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