The Comparative Wests project fosters research and collaborations through seminars, workshops and conferences designed to bring together scholars and Indigenous leaders.

Fire, Landscapes and Livelihoods

Nyalangka Taylor lights a fire line in preparation for hunting in the Martu homelands, Western Desert, Australia. (Photo: Rebecca Bird)

In large part, the Comparative Wests project focuses on the dynamics of livelihoods and landscapes that have emerged at the intersection of Indigenous and colonial societies. The inagural conference titled Trails of Fire: Signatures of Cultural and Environmental Transformations on the American and Australian Frontier brought together scholars and Indigenous leaders from California and Australia to investigate the cultural context of burning practices, resource use and environmental change. Out of this collaboration, we are developing a broad interdisciplinary research project focused on understanding Indigenous fire regimes and contemporary livelihoods in California and Australia.