Natural Goods? Processing Raw Materials in Global Times
This project generates a comparative ethnography of natural resources. Combining ethnology, anthropology and cultural history, the project explores how people across different times and places process specific and widely distributed raw materials. The idea is to view natural resources as co-produced by practices of processing, thereby shedding light on how histories, global hierarchies, colonial connections, and conflicting valuations are enfolded in natural resources. The project fundamentally questions divides between local and global, natural and manufactured, raw and cooked, and engages with the simple but dizzying question: What is nature in cultural analysis?
On November 5th-6th 2015 Natural Goods hosted a research workshop titled “Practices of Valuation – Processing Goods in Space and Time”. This event attended by international and Danish researchers provided an opportunity for engaging discussions on value creating processes and how ‘natural goods’ become valuable through practices in specific settings.
In August-September 2015, Frida Hastrup has been a research fellow at The Centre for Advanced Studies in Oslo, collaborating with Professor Marianne Lien and others on the project Arctic Domestication in the Era of the Anthropocene.
On April 27th 2015 Nathalia Brichet and the rest of the Natural Goods project team inaugurated a small exhibition in the front hall of the National Museum of Denmark. The exhibition centered around a number of ethnographic items collected as part of Brichet's ongoing research into the Nalunaq gold mining enterprise in Southern Greenland.
In December 2014 a small exhibition titled 'Naturlige Goder? Råvarer i en menneskeskabt tidsalder' ('Natural Goods? Raw Materials in a Human-made Era') was installed at the library of the Saxo Institute of Copenhagen University. In it the project members showcased a selection of items collected during their ethnographic fieldworks and reflected upon the ways in which the items offered insights into themes of globalisation, quantification, and valuation. The exhibition closed at the end of April 2015.
The November 2014 issue of Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier, a Danish peer reviewed journal, is a special volume devoted to the processing of natural resources in global times. The four members of the Natural Goods group all served on the issue's editorial board and contributed with articles as well. All articles are freely available for reading and download on the journal's website. (Available in Danish language only)