Yolanda Ariadne Collins holds a doctorate in Environmental Sciences and Policy, a Master’s in Research in International Environmental Policy and Politics and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Guyana. She was a Visiting Researcher at Wageningen University before joining the 2018-2020 cohort of research fellows at ICI Berlin. Her research interests include climate change governance and environmental policy and politics, especially in relation to the historical and cultural uses of forests in the Guianas. More specifically, she conducts research on neoliberalism and development through an analysis of market-based conservation and post-colonial development.

Collins’ work is particularly attuned to the legacy of the colonial encounter in structuring the societies of Guyana and Suriname, often identifying and interrogating connections between this historical experience and the market methods for effecting behaviour change around the use of forests. At the ICI Berlin, she will work towards publishing journal articles and a monograph derived from her doctoral research project.

Colonial Residue:
Dismantling the Colonial Legacy in Postcolonial Environments

ICI Project 2018-20

Adopting the breadth of the term ‘environment’ outlined in the 2018-2020 ERRANS environ/s Fellowship, and being attentive to its focus on how environments can urge the questioning of clear-cut distinctions and ‘produce complex political ecologies attuned to far-reaching entanglements’, Collins’ project reaches into the historical environments of Guyana and Suriname to feel out and trace the legacy of the colonial encounter. She outlines how this legacy is reflected in the modern-day reliance on extractive activity, challenging environmental conservation efforts taking place there.

Through a focus on the societal structure founded on a layered and exploitative history, Collin uses the environment as a string of temporal continuity unreeling from an initial Indigenous and European encounter in the Guianas to establish entrenched societal structures and economic activity that challenge the feasibility of global climate change policies today. She will produce a monograph and supporting articles that connect these historical events with the challenges of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) forest conservation initiative being implemented in Guyana and Suriname.