Anthropology Seminar | Fire: Forging preferred landscapes in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland | Dr Mardi Reardon-Smith – School of Social and Political Sciences Anthropology Seminar | Fire: Forging preferred landscapes in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland | Dr Mardi Reardon-Smith – School of Social and Political Sciences

Anthropology Seminar | Fire: Forging preferred landscapes in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland | Dr Mardi Reardon-Smith

Department of Anthropology Seminar Series 2021: The relevance of anthropology in the contemporary world.

Dr Mardi Reardon-Smith – Fire: Forging preferred landscapes in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.

Join via Zoom: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/86258063964

Fire in various forms is central to life in Cape York. It is widely acknowledged in the scientific literature that the savanna landscapes of Northern Australia have been socialised by fire. Aboriginal people have implemented burning regimes in this region for millennia for economic and environmental reasons, resulting in a fire-adapted landscape that not only responds positively to fire, but is reliant on it. Unlike landscapes further south in Australia, burning regimes in Cape York have continued from pre-European contact to the present day with only minor disruptions. Historically, fire has also been an important management tool for cattle graziers. The type of burning carried out on cattle stations shares aspects with Aboriginal traditional burning regimes, although the purposes diverge. Nowadays, fire remains one of the key land management tools employed by Aboriginal traditional owners, graziers and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers alike.

In this paper, I investigate how Aboriginal traditional owners, graziers and QPWS rangers understand and engage in burning regimes in order to understand what different land managers seek to achieve with their burning practices. This can bring insights into how different people understand the human role in caring for land; an activity underpinning their sense of belonging to this particular place. I discuss how different kinds of knowledge and practices around burning are employed in order to cultivate particular kinds of landscapes, that map roughly onto land tenure types. Drawing on Merlan’s (1998) concept of the ‘intercultural’ space and Tsing’s concept of friction (2005), I set out to analyse how the priorities and purposes of different fire-management regimes interact, overlap and intersect in ways that create collaborations as well as tensions among Cape York land managers. Fire functions as a non-human force that mediates and shapes human social relations, revealing much about what different land managers understand a ‘natural’ or preferable landscape to be.

Join via Zoom: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/86258063964

Date

Sep 09 2021
Expired!

Time

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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