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Frog Cities: Emotion and Conservation in Urban Australia, 1900-2010

Date: Wednesday 7 June 2017
Time: 11am
Venue: Old Arts, Room 224 (South Theatre), The University of Melbourne, Parkville

In environmental histories, humans tend to appear as purposeful actors, pillaging and transforming nature or representing and working to protect it, with rational motivations ranging from the economic to ideological. While emotions have been a strong undercurrent in the work of several leading environmental historians, rarely has the part played by emotions in changing human-nature relationships been a central object of environmental historical analysis. This work-in-progress seminar will outline current research on the changing emotional dimensions of human encounters with frogs. Informed by Monique Scheer’s approach to emotions as a practice, in which emotions are learned, embodied and socially embedded actions, this research uses frog encounters as a focused case study through which to trace the changing emotional styles and norms of relating to nature over this period, and locate the causes of such shifts in the wider historical context. The research aims to also examine the consequences of these changing emotions of nature, particularly in relation to frogs’ reconfiguration as vulnerable species and flagship species for urban conservation.