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Fences create artificial borders between places and mediate the relations between them—what goes in, what comes out, and under what conditions. Without the lines that fences inscribe, there would be no place for border police. Nor could lands be parceled up, claimed as property to be possessed or plundered.
In the history of conservation, the logic of fencing was institutionalized in what critics call “fortress conservation,” a project of drawing boundaries between designated wilderness areas and their outsides, expelling perceived threats to ecological balance — from Indigenous Peoples, to predator species. In the process, habitats have been fragmented, and lifeworlds devastated.
While the science of fortress conservation has been widely discredited, we continue to live in its world. Where did this model come from? Where does it endure? How is it encoded in current laws, policies, and institutional practices — and more broadly, in our ways of seeing, understanding, and relating to the land? And what are activists, communities, and institutions doing to take it down?
Join community leaders, conservationists, legal scholars, geographers, historians, activists, and artists for a free online symposium, Unfence the Future: Taking Down Fortress Conservation and Its Enduring Legacy, dedicated to dismantling fortress conservation and its enduring legacy.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12
2:00 pm – 5:30 pm EST / 11:00 am – 2:30 pm PST
THURSDAY, APRIL 13
2:00 pm- 6:45 pm EST / 11:00 am – 3:45 pm PST
A Red Natural History launch event, organized by The Natural History Museum and co-sponsored by Survival International and the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center.