The conference theme, Finding Home in the “Wilderness,” invites attendees to critically engage with and problematize the idea of wilderness. We acknowledge the concept of wilderness as a contentious one, influenced by Western notions of separation, dominance, and later, preservation. The conference taking place in the Circumpolar North, and specifically in the diverse, multiethnic urban setting of Anchorage, reminds visitors that wilderness is not something to be sought after on a hiking excursion. Rather, it is a factor that may influence our food practices, such as the harvest of wild foods; economic and climatic constraints on production; and issues around access, storage, utilization, and distribution. Additionally, philosophical conceptualizations of nature exist in a specific power hierarchy, where rational and neoliberal systemic approaches push against traditional and ecological ways of knowing that problematize the distinction between “wilderness” and “civilization.”
For more information, visit the conference website.
University of Alaska Anchorage has been a member of the University of the Arctic since 2008.