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Altha Cravey and Elizabeth HennessyCo-PIs. This research, funded as a National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement grant, explored how relations between science, nature, and society are changing as local leaders seek to involve people in conservation efforts in the Galápagos Islands instead of excluding them from “pristine” nature. The project took an archival and ethnographic approach to explore these trans-disciplinary issues at the heart of modern environmental management. Trans-disciplinary in its approach, the project sought to understand the complex entanglements of nature, society, and science that scholars have shown to lie at the heart of modern debates about sustainability and environmental management. The focus, then, was on what one anthropologist calls the “zone of awkward engagement” concerning the giant tortoise, among diverse international, national and local actors that come together in the Galápagos. The project explored how the Galápagos became a famous ecosystem that should be preserved and how this understanding has shaped both conservation policies and eco-tourism; how power dynamics shape landscapes as different groups envision, work on, and claim nature in different ways; and how an emerging “people with the environment” conservation paradigm is reshaping relations between science, nature and society. By drawing theoretical support from debates at the intersection of environmental history, political ecology, and science studies, the research contributed to a geography of science and may help to rethink natural histories. For more information contact Elizabeth Hennessy at