Karen Sanctuaries: Memory, Biodiversity and Political Sovereignty


Seeds, plants and food can act as repositories of memory and identity, thus countering the alienation caused by displacement. How does this manifest in the case of Karen refugee communities across the world holding on to a connection to their homeland in Myanmar? And how is the Karen people’s struggle for political sovereignty connected to global biodiversity and climate change issues? Terese Gagnon discusses these questions, as well as the role of the Karen territory as a biodiversity and political refuge, and how this has changed since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021.

Terese Gagnon is an incoming Postdoctoral Fellow on "Climate and Sustainability in Asia" at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. She holds a PhD in anthropology from Syracuse University. Her dissertation is about Karen food, seed, and political sovereignty across landscapes of home and exile. She is co-editor of the book Movable Gardens: Itineraries and Sanctuaries of Memory.

Terese is in conversation with Quynh Le Vo, a master's student in environmental change and global sustainability at the University of Helsinki, who has recently spent a month in virtual residency at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Previously, she has worked at the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre and at the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN covering environmental and development questions.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.

Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast

About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk

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