This website was originally produced to accompany a field trip to OVP in June 2011. This visit accompanied the Nature Inc conference that took place at ISS in The Hague from the 30th June – 2nd July 2011.

The information on this site emerges from an ongoing research project exploring the history, politics and geographies of rewilding in Europe. It is entitled ‘Return to the wild? The biogeographies of European rewilding and the de-domestication of cattle’. The research team comprises Jamie Lorimer and Clemens Driessen, from the Geography Department at Kings College London. The project is funded by the ESRC.

Taking OVP and the back-breeding of Heck cattle as its case studies the project has four main aims:

1. To situate European rewilding in its historic context. The project will produce a 20th century genealogy of Northern European rewilding. This will map changing forms, territories and temporalities associated with the fraught transition from pre-WW2 romantic nationalism to contemporary cosmopolitanist federalism.

 2. To interrogate the geopolitics of Northern European rewilding. To provide a critical overview of the authentic past and future natures invoked in the discourses of powerful advocates and opponents of rewilding, concentrating in particular on geopolitical debates that interweave European (dis)integration and national identity with paleoecology and climate change.

3. To critically explore the biopolitics of rewilding. Focusing on a case study of the de-domestication of a companion species (cattle) for conservation the project will explore the ethics of rewilding, attending to frictions with alternative modes of nonhuman biopolitics, including animal welfare, biosecurity and biodiversity.

4. To examine the experimental epistemologies of the rewilding sciences. Rewilding is a multidisciplinary and experimental enterprise that draws on diverse natural sciences including anatomy, ethology and ecology. The project will critically examine the multiple forms of expertise involved in detecting, creating and contesting wildness to clarify the processes through which wildness emerges.



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