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Monday, April 3, 2017

Brownbag Friday: Iyengar on Theory, activism and community building in the natural sciences

Theory, activism and community building in the natural sciences

by Siddharth Iyengar
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

Date:  Friday, 04/07/2017
Time:  12:00pm
Place:  537 Heller Hall
Series:  ICGC Brown Bag


What does a liberatory, socially aware, historicised and humble teaching/learning of natural science look like? What is at stake in questions of diversity in the natural sciences? How does an ecological view of knowledge and communities compel us to live and act in a disciplined academy?

In this presentation, I reflect on my journey in the past two and a half years as a quantitative, positivist ecologist encountering the realms of the critical humanities - a journey of interdisciplinary coursework and friendships initiated by ICGC and moving into 8 classes and innumerable discussions with friends and mentors in Feminist Studies, Geography and Indigenous Studies. Working from the space of ecological sciences, I will share a few stories of ongoing collaborations that move towards answering the above questions.

I'll highlight the Nutrient Network: a global (grassroots) research cooperative doing cutting edge work in a collaborative manner. Paying attention to circulations of theory between ecology and economics, I propose a project to theorize diverse economies in natural systems. Appalled by the silence of scientific workspaces to social churning, I will describe community building efforts in my department that have worked to interrogate the gaps between personal and professional.
Audience participation will be encouraged!


Siddharth Iyengar is a 3rd year PhD student in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and an ICGC Scholar. He is curious about the world we live in, how our natural and social systems and histories intertwine, intersect and grow together. His PhD research explores how nutrient pollution and drought affect the stability of grassland plant communities. Apart from work at the University, he deeply enjoys drumming (tabla) and building community with people.

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