Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Maladaptation to Climate Change

The IOWC podcast team interviews Dr. Lisa Schipper (University of Oxford) an Environmental Social Science Research Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute (ECI). Dr. Schipper’s research explores the interlinkages between climate change and human development, as she seeks to address the question of whether fair and just development is possible in a changing climate.

Our discussion covers Dr. Schipper’s exploration of vulnerabilities to climate change that exist in communities in the developing world. She argues that socio-cultural dimensions of vulnerability –such as gender, culture, religion, etc. – relate to structural inequalities of power, justice and equity; ultimately leading to mosaics of different levels of climate change vulnerability within each stand-alone community. Dr. Schipper delves into how the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic, social, and political impacts have increased vulnerabilities throughout the developing world, as well as how downfalls of short-term climate change adaptation strategies, and maladaptation to climate change, have only emphasized existing vulnerabilities within specific communities. Moreover, as a current coordinating lead author of Chapter 18 of the Working Group 2 Contribution to the 6th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr. Schipper delves into the problematic attitude of prioritizing scientific and quantitative data over qualitative data of the human experience in climate change reporting. She warns of the simplification and misunderstandings that are frequently engendered by focusing solely on the numeric values of climate change instead of truly fleshing out the complexities that exist among human beings experiencing vulnerability to climate change. Finally, Dr. Schipper touches on the effects of the frequent exclusion of female voices and voices from the global south, particularly in African countries, from the academic echo chamber. She argues that this form of gatekeeping excludes different perspectives, and perhaps solutions, to the rapidly changing climate.

Lisa’s bio page:
Include the CarbonBrief piece:
Twitter handle (to be included): @schipper_lisa

Boswell, Ocean Cultures and Heritage

Prof. Rosabelle Boswell (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) discusses with Philip Gooding (IOWC) her recent appointment as the South African Research Chair in Ocean cultures and heritage. This is a new and exciting position designed to contribute to the sustainability of the ocean and to build partnerships with stakeholders. Prof. Boswell discusses her aims for the position, its interdisciplinary characteristics, the challenges therein, and how her past and ongoing research engages with the themes of ocean cultures and heritages.

For more on the South African Research Chair in Ocean cultures and heritage, see: here

For the articles mentioned in the podcast, see:

Rosabelle Boswell, ‘Sega as voice-work in the Indian Ocean region,’ Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 13, 1 (2017).

Rosabelle Boswell, ‘Sensuous stories in the Indian Ocean islands,’ The Senses and Society, 12, 2 (2017).

Image credit: Reuters/Stephane Antoine. A volunteer cleans oil spilled from the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground on a reef, at the Mahebourg Waterfront in Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, 12 August 2020. 

Kuehn, Managing the Hazards of Yemen’s Natural Environment

Prof. Thomas Kuehn (Simon Fraser University) discusses with Renee Manderville, Archisman Chaudhuri, and Philip Gooding his forthcoming chapter, ‘Managing the hazards of Yemen’s natural environment. Nature and imperial governance in Ottoman South West Arabia, 1872-1914.’ Key themes include imperial governance, human-environment interaction in the context of ‘challenging’ environments, and knowledge production in the late Ottoman Empire.

Prof. Kuehn is also the author or several publications related to the topics related to this podcast. See, for example:

Thomas Kuehn, Empire, Islam and Politics of Difference. Ottoman Rule in Yemen, 1849-1919 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2019).

“‘We Know Nothing About Yemen!’ Ottoman Imperial Governance in Southwest Arabia and the Politics of Knowledge Production, 1871–1914”, Journal of Arabian Studies, 8, 1 (2018), pp. 5-24.

“Translators of Empire: Colonial Cosmopolitanism, Ottoman Bureaucrats and the Struggle over the Governance of Yemen, 1898-1914”, in Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts, eds. Derryl N. Maclean and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2013), pp. 51-67.

“Shaping and Re-Shaping Colonial Ottomanism: Contesting Boundaries of Difference and Integration in Ottoman Yemen, 1872-1919”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 27, 2 (August 2007), pp. 315-331.

“Colonialisme” and “Yémen” in Dictionaire de l’Empire ottoman – XVe-XXe siècle, eds. François Georgeon, Nicolas Vatin, and Gilles Veinstein (Paris: Fayard, 2015).

Unruh, Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Subseries: Indian Ocean World – At a Glance

This is the first episode of our subseries, ‘Indian Ocean World – at a glance.’ In this subseries, scholars will use their expert knowledge of the secondary literature to discuss an issue, debate, or case study related to Indian Ocean World studies. It is designed for listeners to gain an informed knowledge of topics that are frequently misunderstood or overlooked, or are especially pertinent to the contemporary IOW.

In this episode, Prof. Jon Unruh (McGill) discusses the conflict and humanitarian crisis in present-day Yemen in historical, environmental, domestic, regional, and global contexts. Renee Manderville, Archisman Chaudhuri, and Philip Gooding (all IOWC) provide the questions.

For more on Prof. Unruh, see his bio at:

For Prof. Unruh’s previous podcast based on his own research into land rights and conflict in the IOW, see:

For some of Prof. Unruh’s scholarship on land rights and conflict in Yemen, see: Jon D. Unruh, ‘Mass Claims in Land and Property Following the Arab Spring: Lessons from Yemen,’ Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 5, 1, (2016): 1–19.

For UNHCR’s work in Yemen, see:

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Disaster Management

Prof. Brian Tomaszewski, Rochester Institute of Technology, discusses his work on digital map-making and disaster management with our regular podcast hosts, Renee Manderville, Archisman Chaudhuri, and Philip Gooding of the Indian Ocean World Centre. For more information on the materials discussed, see:


Presenter: Prof. Brian Tomaszewski
Associate Professor of Geographic Information Science and Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
Co-Presenters: Renee Manderville, Philip Gooding, Archisman Chaudhuri
Indian Ocean World Center, McGill University
An audio-only version of this episode is available below:
For more from Prof. Tomaszewski and his team, see the following links