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This conference will bring together conceptions of mountains as both subjects of enquiry and the settings of unique human and beyond-human stories across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. Key themes to be addressed include the importance of verticality in the history of scientific practice, the reciprocal effects of mountain environments and human cultures, and the roles of mountains as borderlands between states and empires (and thus as spaces that complicate national and regional boundaries). ‘Global Mountains’ will focus on uplands in contexts that transcend traditional area studies units, paying particular attention to issues of scale and exploring how high places became, and continue to be, units of long-distance theorisation and comparison. This conference aims to historicise and specify the means by which mountain spaces have been perceived and acted upon in ways that render them distinct from lowland settings. It will also investigate how social sciences and humanities might develop ways of ‘thinking like a mountain,’ generating models and modes of expression that place uplands at their heart rather than conceiving of them as aberrations from norms derived from plains and oceans. Through these elements, ‘Global Mountains’ will seek to reorient understandings of global connections and processes from the flat to the jagged, and from the horizontal to the vertical.
The conference aims to facilitate discussion around, but not limited to, the following thematic sessions:
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