Turtle - OceanImageBank, Amanda Cotton
Photo: Amanda Cotton

Good Human-Turtle Relationships in Indonesia

Sustainability and environment

Ocean Group Seminar Series 2022

23 May 2022
11:00 - 12:00

Dr. Annet Pauwelussen
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The seminar will be held in english / Seminariet hålls på engelska
Department of Law


Good Human-Turtle Relationships in Indonesia: Exploring Intersecting Legalities in Sea Turtle Conservation

The world of the Bajau in the Asia Pacific is shaped by the entanglement of sea people and sea turtles, sharing spiritual kinship and companionship through their common migratory and amphibious way of life. Over the last decades, sea turtles have also risen to the center of attention of national and international conservation programs, which has spurred legal interventions around sea turtles as endangered wildlife. Articulated as bans on eating and trading turtles and their eggs, these have intersected with Bajau claims to their customary right to do so for their livelihood and social-cultural wellbeing. While this complexity of intersecting narratives of justice can be analyzed through the lens of legal pluralism, we critically reflect on the anthropocentric bias that underpins socio-legal scholarship. Drawing from long-term ethnographic research in Indonesia among Bajau fishers and traders, conservationist practitioners, and sea turtles in Indonesia this seminar will discuss how conflicts over turtle conservation are underpinned by different notions of what a turtle is in relation to the human, which also brings into the picture the turtle itself as a legal object and subject. Feminist and indigenous perspectives provide inspiration to explore the contours of a more-than-human legality, through a reflexive and political engagement with the question of what is a good human-turtle relationship in situated practices. 

About the speaker

Annet Pauwelussen

Dr. Annet Pauwelussen is Assistant Professor at Wageningen University and Research, focusing on coastal resilience and inclusive marine governance, including changing notions of nature in conservation and restoration programs, particularly mangroves and coral and shellfish reefs. With a background in environmental anthropology and qualitative research methods, she combines elements of science and technology studies, political ecology, multispecies ethnography and feminist theory. The aim is to explore matters of equity and decolonization in environmental governance and knowledge practices, particularly relating to marine and intertidal places. In this context, she leads a project on diversity and gender in coral and mangrove rehabilitation for the Ocean Nexus program (2020-2022) with the University of Washington.

Annet graduated cum laude with the SDC group of Wageningen University with her PhD project Amphibious Anthropology.