Virginia Nazarea

Virginia NazareaWilliam A. Owens Award 2007

Virginia Nazarea, Professor of Anthropology, has, through her highly original research and writing, articulated the novel perspective that local knowledge and cultural memory can counteract the loss of biodiversity. Her position — that biodiversity is nurtured in marginal spaces that provide a sense of place, belonging and resistance affords people a degree of sovereignty — is a radical departure from science’s earlier focus on macro trends and programmatic design. Her work has been influential in redirecting the focus of research and development in academic programs, international centers and interdisciplinary research projects to instead focus attention on the role of indigenous peoples, women, elders, subsistence farmers and small-scale gardeners in conserving biodiversity.