by Daniel Brockington, University of Manchester
There is an excitement about the Green Economy in the South conference that will take place in Dodoma in early July. It is hard to pin down, but there is something new afoot, something brewing, something growing.
I and others on the organizing committee have been wrestling with the programme of late. There are so many papers (70), so many overlapping themes (biofuels, landgrabbing, tourism, wildlife and natural resource management, forestry, REDD+, carbon, mining); so many papers I want to go to hear. It is impossible to fix it so that I get to see all that I want to. This will be a rich and thought provoking meeting.
But it will also be somewhat different from the norm.
It’s not hard to see why. Previous meetings about the green economy in Toronto, the Hague, Lund, Manchester served a slightly different epistemic community. They (we) were based in the north. But much of our empirical work was about people and landscapes in the South. This is simply a problem which much international scholarship, based in the north or south, copes with rather poorly.
In that sense this is a rather unusual academic conference because it is all about the global south, but not located in the global north. No visa fees, no long distance air fares, but instead an exciting location, and a different participant list. That combined with the generous sponsorship from UNEP, the African Studies Association (UK ) and the Copenhagen Business School has meant that this is a conference which will bring together a different set of presenters.
And then there are the extraordinary efforts of the organisers. Mathew Bukhi and Thabit Jacob, ably assisted by Bennedicta Mabele and a diverse conference organizing committee, have been negotiating with diverse University administrations, hotels, caterers, banks and local fixers to overcome obstacles. More than that there is an intellectual energy and dynamism to the team they have put together that stems from the Geography Department of which they are part, and which is hosting this.
And, finally, there is the excitement of the meeting, networking and gathering that fills meetings like this. You learn so much in the coffee breaks and lunch times, and in the evenings. With so many of us staying in the student hostels there will be a lot of time to socialize, to plan new work, re-interrogate data, discuss presentations, watch the World Cup final, drink tea and catch up and generally get on with all the essential things of a vibrant conference.
I am impatient for this to begin.