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Are there alternatives to the way Western culture perceives the world? This is a question that CARSTEN WERGIN is pursuing in his anthropological research in Northwest Australia. Recent developments and diverse global crises have shown that the idea that humanity can be master over nature needs to be seriously challenged. Participating in the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, guided by the indigenous group responsible for it – the Goolarabooloo – Wergin learnt about their approach to nature that is led by the experience of being part of and drawing energy from the land. He found that this indigenous perception of the environment allows for a different engagement with the world:
Instead of exploiting nature for economic reasons, one is governed by the experience of entanglement and 'being with' the environment.


Carsten Wergin is Head of a Research Group at Heidelberg University's research area 'Transcultural Studies' (funded by the German Excellence Initiative). Previous positions include that of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. He is a founding member of the Environmental Anthropology Working Group of the German Anthropological Association (GAA), and Deputy Chair of the German Association for Australian Studies (GASt). His research focuses, among other topics, on socio-ecological transformations triggered by tourism, heritage and the resources sector. It is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Indian Ocean World, the European Ultra-Periphery, the Mascarene Islands and Northwest Australia.


Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

"Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany’s oldest university and one of the strongest research universities in all of Europe. The successes in both rounds of the Excellence Initiative and in internationally recognised rankings prove that Heidelberg’s excellent reputation and leading role in the scientific community are well deserved. In terms of educating students and promoting promising early-career academics, Heidelberg relies on research-based teaching and an outstanding, well-structured training for doctoral candidates. Heidelberg University is a comprehensive university, offering the full spectrum of disciplines in the humanities, law and the social sciences alongside the natural and life sciences, including medicine. As a comprehensive university, Heidelberg aims to continue to strengthen the individual disciplines and to further interdisciplinary cooperation, as well as to carry research results over into society and industry. With its aspiration of connecting traditional values with future-oriented scientific concepts in research and teaching, the university is building bridges to the future – Zukunft. Seit 1386." ( Source )
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Original publication

The "White Magic" of Modernity: Retracing Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in Settler-Colonialist Australia

Wergin Carsten
Environmental Transformations and Cultural Responses: Ontologies, Discourses, and Practices in Oceania
Published in 2017

Dreamings Beyond ‘Opportunity’: the Collaborative Economics of an Aboriginal Heritage Trail

Wergin Carsten
Journal of Cultural Economy
Published in 2016

Collaborations of Biocultural Hope: Community Science Against Industrialisation in Northwest Australia

Wergin Carsten
Published in 2016

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The Ontological Turn: An Anthropological Exposition

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Anthropocene or Capitalocene?: Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism

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