Participative and decolonial approaches in environmental history

Sofia De La Rosa, Alex Franklin, Luke Owen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the relationship and use of decolonial participative approaches in environmental history. The main argument is that decolonial and participative methods are useful tools to build environmental histories that are more inclusive and communicate better with today’s society. Furthermore, it is argued that using participative and decolonial approaches contribute to environmental awareness and political action, making environmental history a powerful discipline in contributing to a decolonial environmental justice. To explore this argument, we first review how the discipline of history has understood participative methods. We then trace the development of participative approaches to research, and finally, give an overview of how environmental history in Latin America has been enriched from these discussions. The chapter finishes by discussing the usefulness of the concept of “memory” to facilitate this approach in research. We conclude that decoloniality and participation can be powerful allies of environmental history research. Specifically, the decolonial approach helps to read the past through a critical lens that connects specific cases with larger phenomena, such as imperialism and capitalism, highlighting the spaces for change within them. Similarly, participation challenges historical research to go beyond inclusion and place people’s knowledge at the centre of scientific work
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCo-creativity and Engaged Scholarship
Subtitle of host publicationTransformative Methods in Social Sustainability Research
EditorsAlex Franklin
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-84247-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-84247-5, 978-3-030-84250-5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.


  • Participative methods
  • Decolonial methods
  • Memory
  • Environmental history


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