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InSTeD Guest Speaker Edna Wangui: Heritage and Climate Change in Africa

Tuesday, March 02, 2021
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

The Institute for Science and Technology for Development, cosponsored by the Social Science & Policy Studies Department and the Department of Integrative and Global Studies presents a talk by Edna Wangui (Ohio University).


Abstract: Climate change poses a threat to both tangible and intangible heritage on the African continent.  The relatively higher exposure to current and future climate change and a lower capacity to adapt presents challenges for communities to maintain their rituals, customs, cultural memory, vernacular architecture and indigenous knowledge.  Tangible and intangible heritage can co-exist in such a manner that the erosion of one threatens the other.  In this presentation, I explore specific examples of tangible and intangible heritage under threat based on my work in collaboration with three scholars in the UK and Kenya.  I will highlight how a changing climate impacts tangible heritage in the context of coastal cities and rock art.  I will then discuss the co-existence of tangible and intangible heritage drawing on examples of sacred groves and adobe structures.  A significant part of my talk will explore how the threat to heritage impacts the ability of communities to adapt to a changing climate.  While the loss of heritage may not be felt immediately, incremental loss over time is a serious concern.

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Alice Clark
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