UBC Anth Colloquia: Dr. Laura Rival


When: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Time: 11:30-1:00 PM

Where: ANSO 134, 6303 NW Marine Drive


Dr. Laura Rival

Laura Rival is an Associate Professor at Oxford University, where she teaches various courses relating to the Anthropology of Nature, Society, and Development. Her research interests include Anthropology and interdisciplinarity; Amerindian conceptualizations of nature and society; historical and political ecology; development, conservation and environmental policies in Latin America; sustainability in the Anthropocene; indigenous peoples and theories of human development.

She has written several books and numerous papers on these topics, including: Huaorani transformations in 21st century Ecuador. Treks into the future of time (University of Arizona Press, 2016); Trekking through History. The Huaorani of Amazonian Ecuador (Columbia University Press, 2002); Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative (Ecological Economics, 2010); Governing the Provision of Ecosystem Services with Roldan Muradian (Springer 2012). She is currently working on a book exploring the world making practices of Latin American and European agroecologists.


Our understanding of how people fashion relations with living kinds and with artefacts and how they think about these relations is changing rapidly. In Amazonia, a broader scientific understanding of the Amazon biome and of its cultural and biological diversity has profoundly altered the ways in which anthropologists apprehend ‘Nature’s matrix,’ not least plant domestication. I will outline through a range of ethnographical examples derived from my work with the Huaorani (Ecuador) and the Makushi (Guyana) the approach to life and botanical ontologies that I am currently developing with my research students. I will show how the training I received in the department in the early 1980s profoundly influenced my anthropological thinking, and helped me shape the Human/Plant World Making Research Programme.