Archive for December, 2011

Speaker Bio: Professor Stuart Chapin

Terry Chapin

Prof. Stuart "Terry" Chapin

Professor F. Stuart Chapin III – known by many simply as ‘Terry’ – is Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Initially an economics major, Chapin switched his degree to Biology and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1966. After a couple of years spent in Colombia as part of the Peace Corps, he obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. Since then, he has been based predominantly in Alaska, save for a brief stint (1989-1998) at the University of California, Berkley.

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OPEN CALL: Student moderators

Here’s your chance to get involved with one of the highlights in Linacre’s – if not Oxford’s – annual calendar: the Linacre Lectures!

For the first time ever, we are looking to arrange a Q&A session with each guest speaker, subsequent to their lecture (ie. the following day). This will enable the audience to target specific areas of interest, and give us the rare opportunity to pick the brains of these preeminent scholars, who will have travelled from far and wide in order to share their insights.

We want to use this opportunity get students – particularly Linacrites and/or those reading non-environmental degrees – directly involved in the running of this high-profile event, and so we are looking for Student Hosts to moderate the Q&A sessions.

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Podcasts of the 2011 Linacre Lectures

There’s nothing that’ll whet your appetite for this year’s Linacre Lectures like a taste of some of last year’s highlights. In 2011, for the tenth anniversary of the Linacre Lectures, the Environmental Change Institute made audio recordings of part of the series. These podcasts are available for streaming and download at their website: Enjoy!

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Overview: Speakers, topics, dates, and venue

Linacre Lectures
Hilary Term 2012
supported by Tetra Laval

Linacre College
Convenors: Dr Laura Rival, Prof Subir Sarkar and Prof David Sherratt

“Environmental Governance and Resilience”


  • 19th (Week 1)
    “Social-ecological resilience: A framework for stewardship in an uncertain and rapidly changing world”
    Professor Stuart Chapin (Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • 26th (Week 2)
    “Planning for ecological resilience on landscapes: the importance of the past to plan for the future”
    Professor Kathy Willis (Director, Biodiversity Institute)


  • 2nd (Week 3)
    “Enframing and poiesis in environmental management”
    Professor Andy Pickering (University of Exeter)
  • 9th (Week 4)
    “Governance, genomes, Gaia”
    Professor Gísli Pálsson (Dept of Anthropology, University of Iceland)
  • 16th (Week 5)
    “Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future”
    Professor Robert Costanza (Director, Inst. for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University)
  • 23rd (Week 6)
    “Resilience and social-ecological systems”
    Professor Carl Folke (Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University)

Lectures will take place at 5.30 pm in the New Biochemistry Lecture Theatre (Ground Floor), South Parks Road.


An Introduction to the 2012 Linacre Lectures

Environmental Governance and Resilience
How do socio-ecological systems work and how are they best governed?

There is a general agreement that environmental change is threatening enough for action to be taken now. To mitigate the impact of climate change in the context of demographic growth and rising demand for food, water and energy in a world developing at differentiated rates requires a new kind of scientific innovation and political will, as well as novel transdisciplinary research. This is exactly what resilience theory, with its roots in ecology and complexity science, aspires to offer. Resilience theory started with a seminal paper by Holling (1973), who argued that the social and the ecological worlds do not divide along disciplinary lines, but form integrated, complex and adaptive systems “characterized by historical dependency, complex dynamics, inherent uncertainty, multiple scales, and multiple equilibria” (Holling 2001: 390). Carl Folke, Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, sees resilience as “the capacity of a system – be it an individual, a forest, city, or an economy – to deal with change and continue to develop” (Folke 2009: 40). If the best way to approach sustainability is from a ‘socio-ecological’ perspective, what does this actually entail in political, economic, social and cultural terms? What are the implications of such a perspective for the ways in which social and natural scientists work and produce knowledge?

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