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Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Staff

Prof Veronica Strang

Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44684
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 44699
Room number: D008

(email at veronica.strang@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Professor Veronica Strang, IAS Executive Director

Veronica Strang is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on human-environmental relations and people's engagements with land, resources and in particular water. From 1994 to 1997 she worked as a researcher at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, while also teaching at the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. In 1997 she took up a post at the University of Wales, and began a project examining water issues in the UK. Based on ethnographic research along the River Stour in Dorset, her book, The Meaning of Water (Berg 2004), considers how the symbolic meanings encoded in water affect patterns of water use and attitudes to water conservation.

In 2000 Veronica was awarded a Royal Anthropological Institute Fellowship in Urgent Anthropology, and returned to Australia to examine indigenous communities' efforts to negotiate access to land and resources. She spent a decade in New Zealand, initially as Head of the School of Social Sciences at Auckland University of Technology, then (from 2005) as a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Auckland. With an Australian Research Council Discovery Award (2003-2007), she conducted research with diverse groups of water users along the Brisbane and Mitchell Rivers. A key output from this work was her book Gardening the World; agency, identity, and the ownership of water (Berghan 2009). The project's ethnographic focus on river catchments was also designed to facilitate the integration of social and natural science research on water issues. This led to her appointment to the Scientific Advisory Group and then to the Steering Committee of UNESCO's International Ecohydrology Programme, and in 2007 she was awarded an International Water Prize as one of UNESCO's, Les Lumières de L'Eau [Water's Leading Lights]. More recently she has been involved in another UNESCO/MAB programme on Water and Cultural Diversity.

In 2008 Veronica co-convened an international conference in Auckland focused on property relations, and co-edited, with Mark Busse, an ASA monograph entitled Ownership and Appropriation (Berg 2010). Her research also includes further theoretical work with an interdisciplinary UK-Canadian team on Thinking With Water, and a range of publications on materiality and bioethics. In 2013 she was elected as the Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth.

Veronica first came to the Institute of Advanced Study as a Fellow, during its Water year in 2009. The Fellowship led to a broader, internationally comparative and interdisciplinary project examining religious cosmologies, water beings and the different trajectories of human-environmental relationships over time. Just out is a short book, aimed at public audiences, Water: culture and nature (Reaktion Press 2015). Following an earlier joint publication with Tom McLeish, Leading Interdisciplinary Research: transforming the academic landscape (2014), and a collaborative IAS workshop with representatives of a range of UK funding councils, HEFCE and other interdisciplinary experts, she and McLeish recently published Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide (IAS 2015).

Research Interests

  • Environmental anthropology
  • Materiality
  • Water

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Strang, V. (2017). Justice for All: inconvenient truths and reconciliation in human-non-human relations. In Routledge International Handbook of Environmental Anthropology. Kopnina, H. & Shoreman-Ouimet, E. London, New York: Routledge. 259-275.
  • Strang, V. (2016). Re-imagined Communities: a new ethical approach to water policy. In The Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy. Conca, C. & Weinthal, E. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Strang, V. (2015). Justice for All: inconvenient truths and reconciliation in human-non-human relations. In Major Works in Anthropology: Environmental Anthropology. Taylor & Francis.
  • Strang, V. (2015). Reflecting Nature: water beings in history and imagination. In Waterworlds: anthropology in fluid environments. Hastrup, K. & Hastrup, F. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books. 247-278.
  • (2015). The Gaia Complex: bioethical challenges to an anthropocentric ‘common future'. In Anthropological Visions of Sustainable Futures. London, New York: Palgrave.
  • Strang, V. (2013). Conceptual Relations: water, ideologies and theoretical subversions. In Thinking With Water. Chen, C., Macleod, J. & Neimanis, A. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. 185-211.
  • Strang, V (2013). Dam Nation: Cubbie Station and the waters of the Darling. In The Social Life of Water in a Time of Crisis. Wagner, J Oxford, New York: Berghahn. 36-60.
  • Strang, V. (2012). Diverting Water: cultural plurality and public water features in an urban environment. In Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?. Johnston, B., Hiwasaki, L., Klaver, I., Ramos-Castillo, A. & Strang, V. Paris: UNESCO. 97-116.
  • Strang, V. (2012). Extremely Private: water trading and the commoditization of water. In Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?. Johnston, B., Hiwasaki, L., Klaver, I., Ramos-Castillo, A. & Strang, V Paris: UNESCO. 257-260.
  • Strang, V. (2012). Water, Land and Territory. In A Handbook of Social Anthropology. Fardon, R., Harris, O., Marchand, T., Nuttall, M., Shore, C., Strang, V. & Wilson, R. London: Sage. 312-328.
  • Strang, V. (2011). Elusive Forms: materiality and cultural diversity in the ownership of water. In Property Rights and Sustainability: the evolution of property rights to meet ecological challenges. Grinlinton, D. & Taylor, P. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV.
  • Strang, V. (2011). Fluid Forms: owning water in Australia. In Ownership and Appropriation. Busse, M. & Strang, V. Berg. 171-195.
  • Busse, M. & Strang, V. (2011). Introduction. In Ownership and Appropriation. ASA Monographs. Oxford, New York: Berg. 1-20.
  • Strang, V. (2010). Mapping histories cultural landscapes and walkabout methods. In Environmental social sciences methods and research design. Vaccaro, I., Smith, E.A. & Aswani, S. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 132-156.
  • Strang, V. (2009). Water and Indigenous Religion: Aboriginal Australia. In The Idea of Water. Tvedt, T. & Oestigaard, T. London: I.B Tauris. 343-377.
  • Strang, V. (2009). Water in Aboriginal Australia. In Ideas of water from ancient societies to the modern world. Tvedt, T. & Oestigaard, T. London: I.B Tauris. Volume 1: 343-377.
  • Strang, V. (2009). Water Sports: a tug-of-war over the river. In Tourism Power and Culture: anthropological perspectives. Carrier, J. & Macleod, D. Bristol: Channel View Press. 27-46.
  • Strang, V. (2008). Blue, Green and Red: combining energies in defence of water. In Deep Blue: critical reflections on nature, religion and water. Shaw, S. & Francis, A. London: Equinox Publishing. 253-274.
  • Strang, V (2008). Commentary. In River Journeys. Scheibenbogen, Silvia Brisbane: International RiverFoundation. 51.
  • Strang, V. (2008). Introduction. In Water Ways: competition and communality in the use and management of water. Strang, V. & Toussaint, S. Special Issue of Oceania. 78: 1-4.
  • Strang, V. (2008). The Social Construction of Water. In Handbook of Landscape Archaeology. David, B. & Thomas, J. World Archaeological Congress (WAC) Research Handbook Series, Walnut Creek CA: Left Coast Press. 123-130.
  • Strang, V. (2008). Uncommon ground landscapes as social geography. In Handbook of landscape archaeology. David, B. & Thomas, J. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast. 51-59.
  • Strang, V. (2008). Wellsprings of Belonging: water and community regeneration in Queensland. In Water Ways: competition and communality in the use and management of water. Strang, V. & Toussaint, S. Special Issue of Oceania. 78: 30-45.
  • Strang, V. (2006). Aqua Culture: the flow of cultural meanings in water. In Water: histories, cultures, ecologies. Leybourne, M. & Gaynor, A. University of Western Australia Press. 68-80.
  • Strang, V. & Garner, A. (2006). Introduction. In Fluidscapes: water, identity and the senses. Strang, V. & Garner, A. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. 10: 147-154.
  • Strang, V. (2006). Substantial Connections: water and identity in an English cultural landscapes. In Fluidscapes: water, identity and the senses. Strang, V. & Garner, A. Brill Academic Publishers. 10: 155-177.

Edited book

Edited Journal

  • Krause, F. & Strang, V. (2015). Water and Relationality. Journal of Society and Natural Resources, Taylor & Francis.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Strang, V. (2008). Owning Water. The University of Auckland News 5.
  • Strang, V. (2008). Privatisation of Assets Never Cut and Dry. New Zealand Herald 13.

Other (Print)

Report

  • Strang, V. & McLeish, T. (2015). Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide. Durham.
  • McLeish, T. & Strang, V. (2014). Interdisciplinarity should be at the Heart of the Academy. TheConversationUK.
  • Strang, V & Bell, S (2013). Navigating Interdisciplinarity. Durham University: Institute of Advanced Study.
  • Strang, V. (2012). Comparative International Claims to Water and Water Management by Indigenous Peoples. Advisory report for Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of New Zealand Maori Council and other claimants, WAI 2357, WAI 2358, New Zealand.
  • Strang, V (2012). Expert advice to Waitangi Tribunal, New Zealand, Maori Water Claim WAI 2537.
  • Strang, V (2012). Responses to Crown Counsel Cross-examination, Waitangi Tribunal, Maori Water Claim WAI 2358.
  • Busse, M. & Strang, V. (2009). Taniwha Springs - Indigenous Rights and Interests in Water: comparative and international perspectives. advisory report for Ngā Puna Wai o Te Tokotoru, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Strang, V. (2007). A Conceptual Framework for UNESCO’s Ecohydrology Programme: Paper prepared for Scientific Advisory Committee, UNESCO International Ecohydrology Programme.
  • Strang, V. (2007). A Conceptual Framework for UNESCO’s Ecohydrology Programme. Paper prepared for Scientific Advisory Committee, UNESCO International Ecohydrology Programme.
  • Strang, V. (2006). Social Ecohydrology: integrating the social and natural sciences, Research Paper prepared for Scientific Advisory Committee, UNESCO International Ecohydrology Programme.
  • Strang, V. (2006). Social Ecohydrology: integrating the social and natural sciences. Research Paper prepared for Scientific Advisory Committee, UNESCO International Ecohydrology Programme.

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Contact Details

Institute of Advanced Study
Durham University
Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Durham 
DH1 3RL
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2589
Email: enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk