Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference 

February 27 – 29, 2020 

University of Kentucky | Lexington, Kentucky, USA


Title: It’s not just about getting your hands in the dirt: Decolonizing food education 

Co-organizers: Nathan Erwin and Annelise Straw | American University 


From kindergarten through their senior year, public school students are exposed to the unspoken complexities and power dynamics of the food system. This session seeks to explore the political ecology of food, school gardens, and food education through a decolonial pedagogy.  School gardens can serve as mechanisms of oppression; however, this session works to decolonize both food education and the broader food system. 


We are accepting work that ranges from topic on large government entities’ impact on public education (such as the USDA and DoED) to the small but mighty acts that leads to food becoming an instrument of liberation. This session will be organized into rapid paper presentations followed by an extended panel discussion on the topic where academics sit beside expert-practitioners. This discussion structure is a commitment to community-scholar collaboration and intends to facilitate equitable dialogue with the intent of producing an ongoing working group. This session’s discussion will be elevated beyond this conference through local public media. 


Paper themes that may contribute to the goal of this session include:

  • Erasure of agricultural knowledge within the food system

  • Critiquing the coloniality of school gardens

  • Why school gardens fail? - Labor? Funding? Class?

  • School gardens as spaces of whiteness

  • Big agriculture’s grasp on school garden seeds

  • The DoED/USDA’s Neoliberal policies impacting school food 

  • Racialization of food education and the eurocentric notion of nutrition

If interested, please email a 200 word abstract and a brief synopsis of how your interests relate to this conversation on decolonial perspectives of food education to Annelise Straw (as4678a@american.edu) and Nate Erwin (nathanerwin77@gmail.com) by November 8. Participants will be notified by November 18, 2019 and will need to register with for the Conference by Dec 1st. 

Session on Digital Political Ecologies

CFP DOPE 2020: Lexington, KY (Feb 27-29, 2020)

Jack Swab & Julie (JD) Saperstein, University of Kentucky


Often seen as diametric opposites, digital technologies and the natural world have received limited examination together in digital geographies and political ecology. Though as recent events as diverse as President Trump's Hurricane Dorian #sharpiegate, the September 20th #climatestrike, and Greta Thunberg's viral North Atlantic journey have documented, there is extensive overlap between the digital and the environmental, necessitating increased critical scholarship between the two.


The places for our engagement are myriad. Although topics such as e-waste have long been examined under the purview of political ecology, recent advances in cloud computing, computational methods, and digital hardware on top of dramatic increases in the quantity of digital media are having unprecedented environmental impacts on the Earth. At the same time, digital technologies that capture exponentially more data about the environment are often cited as the means by which to achieve sustainability and mitigate environmental destruction. Digital technologies are also increasingly mediating human-environment interactions, reshaping and reframing the environment around digital data.

Digital environmental philanthropy initiatives run by sites such as Pornhub tie digital actions to real-world environmental actions. Digital technologies are also responsible for mobilizing awareness and action on climate and environmental issues, as evidenced by the recent #climatestrike movement. With all these variegated interplays between the environment and digital technologies in mind, this session broadly explores the ways in which digital technologies and the environment intersect and interact. To this end, presentation topics might include but are not limited to:

  • How digital technologies are reshaping agriculture and food systems

  • How e-waste is changing patterns of disposal/reuse/recycling

  • Smart cities and environmental management

  • The environmental impacts of cloud computing (i.e. bitcoin mining)

  • Digital mediations of the environment

  • The epistemic and ontological implications of environmental data and modeling

  • Narratives and discourses of sustainability in precision agriculture

  • Techno-utopianism in climate change discourse

  • Environmental and climate change data in the post-truth era

  • Digital technologies and climate change/environmental movements

  • Digital environmental philanthropy

  • Other critical examinations of digital technologies and the environment


All topics regardless of their geographic and temporal settings are welcomed to apply.

Titles and abstracts of no more than 300 word should be directed to Jack Swab (jswab@uky.edu) and Julie Saperstein (JDSaperstein@uky.edu) by Friday, October 25. Feel free to email with any questions as well. For more information about the conference, please visit: https://www.politicalecology.org/

DOPE 2020 Call for Writers: Invitation to Early Career Scholars' Writing Workshop


Sophie Sapp Moore (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Jared Margulies (University of Alabama)


Writing can be a lonely process. Our aim is to convene a group of early career scholars interested and invested in building a long-term writers' community. With this call, we invite submissions from early career scholars at any stage of a book-length project situated within the broad, interdisciplinary area of political ecology. We envision this group as meeting at least once annually, with a continuing commitment both to sharing our respective work as it develops over time, and to providing sustained critical attention and support for our colleagues' work. We are therefore looking for writers who expect to be able to continue their participation beyond a single conference meeting. Future meetings might be held at DOPE, the AAGs, or elsewhere as funds allow. For our first meeting, we will apply for a double session at this year's Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference, to be held in Lexington, Kentucky (February 2020).


This workshop will offer a supportive and critical space in which to discuss the writing process, to ask questions and offer advice, and to engage critically and generously with each others' writing. Additionally, we hope to incorporate discussion of a recent book on writing into each workshop meeting. For this first meeting, we will discuss Helen Sword's Air & Light & Time & Space (2017), which proposes four cornerstones – Behavioral, Artisanal, Social, and Emotional – that anchor successful academic writing. In this inaugural workshop, we aim to bring together 8-10 scholars who will be prepared to share either a book proposal or a book chapter with the group by 1 February 2020 (no more than 9,000 words in length).


If interested, please submit the following to slmoore5@wisc.edu and jdmargulies@ua.edu by October 28th for full consideration:

1) a very brief bio;

2) an abstract of no more than 250 words that briefly describes both your overall writing project and the particular piece that you will share with the group;

3) a 200 word description of the kind of feedback on your project or support in the writing process you'd like to get out of this group. You might note what specific writing challenges you are facing, what kind of feedback would be most useful to you, or what you are interested in with respect to critical reflection on the writing process, for example.


If accepted to the 2020 workshop, your obligations will be as follows:


  • To circulate your chapter or proposal to the group by 1 February 2020;

  • To read everyone's work prior to the DOPE meeting (February 27-29, 2020). Although you will not comment on each piece at length, this will nonetheless entail a significant commitment of time and attention, as we are aiming for 8-10 participants;

  • To read one designated person's work in greater depth, and to be prepared to offer detailed feedback and critique to the author and the entire group about the work. Writers will be paired based on overlap or complementarity of intellectual interests, expertise, or methods;

  • To attend DOPE 2020, and participate in a modified critical response format (Lerman, 2003) discussion and critique of one another's work;

  • To be familiar with Helen Sword's Air & Light & Time & Space (2017) as a basis for discussion of writing process and challenges; 

  • To apply with the intention and interest of developing this group into a long-term academic workshop community.


We expect this workshop will be a fulfilling opportunity to bring scholars at similar career stages (recent PhD graduates, postdocs, and pre-tenure/non-tenure track instructors/assistant professors) into dialogue around exciting new research, as well as a supportive space in which to navigate the challenges of early career scholarship.

CfP DOPE 2020: Political Ecologies of Ruins


10th Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference

February 27-29, 2020

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.


Organizers: Dylan M. Harris (Clark University), Joshua Mullenite (Wagner College)

Political ecology has among its origins an examination of ruins. For political ecologists, ruination has been less a process of natural factors and more closely aligned with ideas of accumulation by dispossession (Blaikie 1985; Peluso 1992; Neumann 1998; Watts 1983; Paprocki, 2019). Through this work, dichotomies of pristine and ruined nature have been questioned and critically evaluated to argue that these are not natural categories but are instead produced through specific processes of power by which international capitalist and colonialist intervention occur. These ideas have remained pervasive in political ecological scholarship, even if narratives of ruination are not made explicit.


Through important contributions by DeSilvey and Edensor (2012), Millington (2017), Kirksey (2015), and Tsing (2015), among several others, there is an emerging re-theorization of ruins and ruination by political ecologists which brings together both the discursive and material processes by which landscapes become “ruined” and through which claims of ruins and ruination offer grounds of hope for survival in an otherwise ecologically precarious world. This work offers fertile grounds for continuing the political ecological work which explores the various ways in which landscapes are subject to a variety of competing claims about how environments have been and should be used while at the same time suggesting ruins can exist as spaces of hope and possibility.


In this session, we seek work which critically and theoretically engages with conceptualizations of ruins, ruination, wastelands, and other ideas of supposed environmental degradation. We are interested in perspectives that trouble ruination narratives, highlighting not only how and by what mechanisms ruins have been intentionally created but also that look at ruins as sites of potential where life persists against all odds. More specifically, we are interested in understanding how historical notions of ruination as sites of dispossession in square with more novel approaches that see ruins as sites of hope.


We are interested in topics that address, but that are certainly limited to, the following questions: Is it possible that ruins can be both sites or devastation and potential?; How have narratives of ruination enabled uneven development, and how do contemporary framings of ruination challenge or further enable continued uneven development?; How are ecological ruins invoked to justify further ecological ruination?; Who, or what, lives in ruins; what kinds of life persist there despite ruination?; How do historical examples of ruination prefigure future ruination?


If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to dyharris@clarku.edu and joshua.mullenite@wagner.edu by November 17, 2019. We are happy to chat about potential paper ideas and encourage other forms of participation beyond the traditional academic conference paper.

CFP: Reassessing Environmental Assessment: The Politics of “Normal” in Regulatory Science 

Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference (DOPE)

February 27 – 29, 2020 

University of Kentucky | Lexington, Kentucky, USA


Organizers: Jen Sedell, University of California, Davis; Katie Clifford, University of Colorado; Becky Mansfield, The Ohio State University, 


Contemporary debates about issues such as climate change, environmental toxins, and the “Anthropocene” more broadly have pushed environmental governance and assessment into the spotlight. The dry, technocratic, often boring processes of environmental assessment now make headlines and inspire passion, for example with the IPCC reports on global climate change or the decision by Trump’s EPA not to ban the solvent methylene chloride or pesticide chlorpyrifos. For decades, scholars in political ecology, environmental justice, and science studies have shown that these seemingly technocratic environmental assessment processes are always already political, i.e. power laden: even marking them off as technocratic is a political move that hides itself (Blaikie and Brookfield 1987, Jasanoff 1990). Environmental assessments not only have unequal effects, but are rooted in colonial and racist epistemologies, and as such they are infused with sociopolitical assumptions and judgments (Vera et al. 2019). Of central concern is not only the politics of what is known but also what is not: questions of uncertainty and even ignorance (Frickel and Vincent 2007, Kleinman and Suryanarayanan 2013). 


In light of today’s explicitly political attention to the politics of environmental assessment, this session seeks fresh perspectives on how such boundaries around science and politics are created, enforced, and challenged, and with what effects. While the session is actively concerned with contemporary practices as they intersect and are coproduced with recent politics (Jasanoff 2017), we are also interested in practices that predate and persist through national administration changes and/or vary across regions, understanding that while we may be in an exceptional moment, this moment is also part of longer, variable, and intersecting histories. 


Papers for the session might address a range of questions, such as: 

  • How are ideas about “normal” and “exceptional” (or “emergency”) created and contested in environmental governance and assessment? 

  • How is normal vs. exceptional related to debates over scientific certainty vs. uncertainty? Acceptable risk vs. environmental justice? Expert vs. citizen science? Evidence-based vs. precautionary decision-making? Safe vs. harmful?

  • How do contemporary attempts to frame environmental governance in terms such as these compare and contrast to those of the past? 

  • How do changing methods of assessment (e.g. definitions, calculations, peer review) affect governance outcomes? 

  • How have environmental justice movements impacted assessment practices and responded to regulatory changes that threaten gains?

  • How do discourses of sustainability impact (or not) and intersect with methods of assessment? Where and how have those impacted environmental governance and assessment practices? 

  • How do changes in environmental and health assessment practices extend, complicate, or challenge neocolonial environmental governance practices? 


We are interested in papers addressing environmental governance and assessment from any geographic location, and with a focus on any environmental and human health topic, such as food and agriculture; animal welfare; air, water, and soil quality; toxic substances; climate change; marine environments; endangered species; cost-benefit analysis; environmental impact reviews; etc. 


To participate in these sessions, please send your abstract (up to 300 words) to Jennifer Sedell <jksedell@ucdavis.edu>; Katie Clifford <katie.clifford@colorado.edu> or Becky Mansfield <mansfield.32@osu.edu> by November 17. All conference participants must be registered and the session finalized by December 1. Please see the conference website for more information: https://www.politicalecology.org/


Works Cited: 

Blaikie, P., & Brookfield, H. (1987). Land Degradation and Society. London:


Frickel, S., & Vincent, M. B. (2007). Hurricane Katrina, contamination, and the unintended organization of ignorance. Technology in Society, 29(2),181-188. 

Jasanoff, S. (1990). The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers. Cambridge: Harvard U Press. 

Jasanoff, S. (2017). No funeral bells: Public reason in a ‘post-truth’ age. Social Studies of Science 47(5), 751-770. 

Kleinman, D. L., & Suryanarayanan, S. (2013). Dying Bees and the Social Production of Ignorance. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 38(4), 492–517.

Vera, L, D Walker, M Murphy, B Mansfield, LM Siad, J Ogden, EDGI. (2019). When data justice and environmental justice meet: formulating a response to extractive logic through environmental data justice. Information, Communication, & Society, 22(7),1012. 

Call For Papers DOPE 2020: Scholar Activist Praxis in the Political Ecologies of Appalachia 


Paper session                    


Dimensions of Political Ecology, Lexington, KY, February 27-29, 2020


Session Organizers:

Gabe Schwartzman, Geography, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Charlee Tidrick, Politics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA


This session seeks papers and presentations about the practice of scholarship and activism in socio-ecological justice struggles of the Appalachian region. Most place-based struggles in Appalachia have the potential to be in conversation with political ecology, broadly defined as the study of the political economy of the environment (Robbins 2012). Furthermore, all forms of justice organizing in Appalachia are relevant for enriching our understanding of political ecology. Therefore, to broaden the ways political ecology scholarship can serve diverse publics, we seek presentations that grapple with scholar-activist praxis. Session organizers request proposals on diverse forms of regional political engagements—from environmental justice and anti-extraction activism to queer/trans justice and anti-racist organizing, as well as work on economic justice. Submissions from all relevant disciplines are welcome (eg. sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, Appalachian Studies, and Environmental studies), and we strongly encourage submissions from those working outside the academy.


The session will build on and continue three prescient threads of conversation among scholars and activists concerned with questions of political ecology, bringing these issues into sharper relief through engagement with problems of socio-ecological injustice in Appalachia. In 2018, sessions at the Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference focused on communities of praxis (Osborne and Correia 2018) and brought together scholars to further the concept of Public Political Ecology (Osborne 2017). This session aims, first, to bring that conversation into regional focus. Second, we explicitly recognize that academic research—even the most ‘community-engaged’ work—can be extractive and self-serving, and see a strong need to engage with regional discussions about this reality (e.g. Draper 2018). The session aims to further critiques articulated cogently by regional scholars, activists, and organizers. Finally, we aim to promote dialogue about the complicated praxis of scholar activism (e.g. Gilmore 2007). Informed by a theory of resourcefulness (Derickson and Routledge 2015), we understand that scholar activism takes diverse forms, where scholars make difficult choices regarding how to triangulate research between academic and community publics. Building from our regional cases, we hope to aid the development of frameworks for how research and scholarship can specifically support struggles for social and environmental justice in Appalachia.



Themes & Literatures: 

This session invites papers and presentations that address themes and/or literatures advancing political ecology praxis in the Appalachian region. Much scholarship of and from the region already theorizes political ecology, whether recognized as such or not: literatures on Appalachian environmental politics (Montrie 2003; Fisher and Smith 2012; Scott 2010; Bell and York 2010; Bell 2016); land politics and power (Gaventa 1982; Reid and Taylor 2010); the commons and resistance (Hufford 1999); neoliberalism and anti-extraction organizing (Fisher and Smith 2012; Smith 2018); women’s roles in struggles for labor and the environment (Bell 2013; Wilkerson 2018); and queer ecologies in Appalachia (Scott and McNeil forthcoming), among many more. We welcome papers grappling with those literatures, as well as presentations that bring political ecology into conversation with queer politics (e.g. @QueerAppalachia 2017; 2019; Garringer 2019); anti-racist politics and of color critique in the region (e.g. Walker 2000; hooks 2012; Good 2012); studies of incarceration and prison land politics (e.g. Ryerson and Schept 2018); labor, non-profit industrial complexes and economic organizing (e.g. Ray 2019); and any projects furthering the development of Appalachian futurisms (Smith 2016).


 To further conversations about political ecology scholarship and activist praxis in the Appalachian region, possible paper and presentation themes may include (but are not limited to):


  • Public Political Ecology in Appalachia

  • Praxis of political ecology scholarship and community engaged research in Appalachia

  • Queer ecologies and scholarly praxis in Appalachia

  • Praxis of Black, Latinx and of color critiques in/of Appalachia

  • Appalachian land politics and the politics of resistance

  • Scholar-activist praxis in studying carceral geographies/ecologies in Appalachia 

  • Environmental justice praxis

  • Political ecology of community economic development

  • Political ecology of a “just transition” in Appalachia 


Please submit an abstract of 250 words or less to Gabe Schwartzman (schw2217 [at] umn.edu) and Charlee Tidrick ( charleet83 [at] gmail.com) no later than Friday, November 15th. We will aim to notify session participants no later than Monday, November 18th, to allow time for conference registration on Dec. 1. For more information and to see the Dimensions of Political Ecology general call for participation, go to www.politicalecology.org/dope-2020.

Political Ecologies of Citizen Science


This session explores the political ecologies of citizen science, or community-based monitoring (CBM).  Citizen science and CBM programs are increasingly popular models of environmental governance around the world and have been used to monitor a range of systems, including forests, water, fish, and climate.  Accordingly, a handful of review papers have sought to highlight the various benefits, challenges, and governance models associated with their uptake (see, for example, Bonney et al 2014; Carlson and Cohen 2018; Conrad and Hilchey 2011; Kosmala et al 2016; Whitelaw 2003). While these reviews have been pragmatic in their recommendations and in supporting scholars and practitioners in implementing and understanding the possible forms of CBM, they have largely been silent on the power structures implicit in these management and governance models.   Moreover, they say little on the ontological underpinnings of such systems, and often posit ‘science’ – homogenous, hegemonic, and apolitical – as the common language spoken by community members and policy makers. The literature on citizen science and CBM often presents the desired end goal as data sharing for policy making. This session problematizes these assumptions, and queries the social, political, and ecological implications of this ascendant model of resource governance.


To that end, this session seeks papers that explore the political ecologies of citizen science and CBM.  We are especially interested in theoretical or case-study based papers that examine any of the following:


  • The funding arrangements (and their implications) for citizen science and CBM;

  • Issues around the intellectual property resulting from citizen science;

  • The relationship between Indigenous or Traditional Knowledge and citizen science or CBM programs; and

  • The science/policy nexus in the context of citizen science or CBM programs.


Interested participants should send a 200-word abstract to Alice Cohen (alice.cohen@acadiau.ca) by November 15th.  Participants will be notified by November 21st and must register for the conference by December 1st.

Decarbonization without dispossession? Just Transitions against/beyond Racial Capitalism and Settler Colonialism


Jesse Goldstein, Virginia Commonwealth University

Anthony Levenda, University of Oklahoma


DOPE 2020, Lexington, KY, Feb 27-29, 2020


Please send abstracts to Anthony Levenda (anthonylevenda@ou.edu) and Jesse Goldstein (jgoldstein2@vcu.edu) by November 17, 2019. Registration for the conference closes on December 1st, 2019. 


Register here: https://www.politicalecology.org/conference-registration


Session description


The narrative of just transitions has gained mainstream attention (once again) as the climate  crisis becomes increasingly central to political discourse. For some, it represents a new existential threat to modern society, while for others it represents an intensification of long-standing patterns of violent dispossession and nature-making that have been core features of racial capitalism and colonialism for hundreds of years (Bonds & Inwood, 2016; Dorries, Hugill, & Tomiak, 2019; Robinson, 1987, 2005; Wolfe, 2006).


Proposals and platforms such as the many variants of a Green New Deal offer a wide range of visions for state-facilitated infrastructural transitions, meant to “solve” the worst of the climate crisis while avoiding (what are considered to be) unnecessary and politically unpalatable, disruptions of socioeconomic life. This has meant, on the one hand, a great deal of focus on “green jobs” at the center of just transition narratives, and the hope that a new and newly funded green economy will provide ample opportunities for gainful employment. And on the other hand, a focus on sociotechnical transformations (renewable energy chief amongst them) that can allow the affordances of energy-intensive (fossil fueled) lifestyles to persist indefinitely. 


Meanwhile, proposals for energy justice or energy democracy look beyond simply expanding employment opportunities, by questioning instead underlying relationships of ownership and control. Similarly, proposals coming from land-based movements, such as Red Nation, Via Campesina or the Agroecology Research-Action Network center questions of land justice - or sovereignty, and with this possibility of a rematriation of lands to those indigenous nations and peoples that have been dispossessed in the name of progress.


How, we wonder, can we make sense of these complex, interconnected and at times antagonistic visions of a possible and necessary “just” transition? What sorts of justice are implied by the term and for whom? How do questions of petromasculinity (Daggett 2018), settler coloniality, green growth and ecomodernisation reckon with perspectives focused alternatively on feminist and decolonial energy futures (Wilson 2018), with black and indigenous futurities (Tuck & Gaztambide-Fernández 2013), with degrowth (D'Alisa et. al. 2014) and ecosocialism?


We invite papers that might consider any of the following:


  • The shifting global (and local) geographies of environmentally destructive labor - demanded both by the persistence of the fossil-fueled economy as well as the emergence of new, “green” industries with their own extractive needs, hence resulting in new and newly intensified sites of toxicity, extinction, seepage and exhaustion (Mulvaney, 2014). What are the political ecologies of ‘clean’ and ‘renewable’ technologies (energy, agriculture, materials, etc.) (Behrsin, 2020; Huber & McCarthy, 2017, Zehner, 2012)? Are there nonetheless still important opportunities for liberatory eco-technologies (Powell, 2006; White, 2008) in new sites and scales of technological change and autonomy (Buck 2019)?

  • What sorts of frontier mentalities (Knuth, Potts, & Goldstein, 2019; Wolfe, 2011; Yiftachel, 1996) persist through various forms of eco-modernization and green growth? How do we make sense of “Green” dispossessions (whether in the form of urban renewal, land grabs, water management, or otherwise) (Anguelovski, Irazábal‐Zurita, & Connolly, 2019; Baka, 2017; Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; Doshi, 2019)?

  • Narratives of green jobs, green growth, and other ways of presenting just transition as relatively non-disruptive reforms of global capitalist social relations (Andreucci, García-Lamarca, Wedekind, & Swyngedouw, 2017; Knuth, 2019) What role(s) do labor unions/organizations play in this discussion, from unions representing industrial and manufacturing workers to those representing service and care based workers, to organizations representing small farmers, immigrant and un-statused workers?

  • What sorts of internationalisms are either implied or explicitly defined through various approaches to a just transition? (Estes 2019) What are the possible futures emergent in social movements and activism? Are these rooted in a politics of care, repair, and mutual aid? Are they strengthening right-wing, ethno-nationalist and authoritarian populisms? How do we reckon with the real and present threat of eco-apartheid, eco-fascism and what Parenti (2011) calls “armed lifeboat” politics? 

CFP: DOPE 2020
Lexington, KY
February 27-27, 2020


Everything’s Burning: Critical pedagogies of environmental education

Carrie Mott
Department of Geography and Geosciences
University of Louisville
Angela Storey
Department of Anthropology
University of Louisville

Critical pedagogies are rooted in an ethic of liberatory praxis and often seek to guide
students through their own awareness and capacity to make change to unequal system of power.
In the context of environmental education, this can mean that educators and their students
explore the systematic and deeply institutionalized ways that environmental degradation operates
across a myriad of contexts. In the year 2020, this topic carries with it particular urgency as we
experience the deepening of the global climate crisis, the expansion of environmental activism,
and the proliferation of neoliberal governance technologies. The current moment is both
disturbing and alarming, but also full of possibility and hope for the future. This hope, however,
often rests upon the ability of younger generations to understand the conditions behind
environmental destruction and to dare to make radical change.


This session brings together educators whose teaching focuses on environmentally
informed pedagogies. We seek contributions from educators whose approaches are rooted in
experiential and active learning strategies that confront structural inequalities. The presentations
in this session explore what it means to teach and learn about the environment at this critical
historical moment. Presenters will draw from a wide range of critical frameworks to reflect upon
the praxis of environmental education. We welcome contributions from scholars and educators
from a variety of disciplinary foundations and professional contexts.


Possible topics could include (and are certainly not limited to):
● Education within and beyond higher ed, such as K-12, adult education, preschool, or
alternative educational venues
● Teaching climate change amid challenging political contexts
● Historical geographical approaches to the environment
● The incorporation of social science research methodologies in environmental education
● Collaborative and community engaged pedagogies
● Pedagogies which emphasize Indigenous and/or non-Western environmental knowledge

● Epistemological approaches to environmental education
● Approaches to environmental education that incorporate literature or the arts
● Analyses of environmental racism and other forms of structural violence
● Processing the emotional impact of teaching and learning distressing topics


Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Carrie Mott (carrie.mott@louisville.edu) by
Monday November 18, 2019.

Imagined Geographies of Movement, Migration, and Citizenship

In 2017, the UN Population Division estimated a total of nearly 260 million migrants internationally, comprising more than 3% of the global human population. Today, conflicts in Syria, Myanmar, and elsewhere force citizens across state borders as refugees; changing environmental patterns prompt nomadic herders’ movement across non-arable land; poverty and violence push Central Americans north; and students pursue higher education across international borders. Both forced and voluntary, violent and peaceful, the unprecedented human flow across borders has elicited innumerable responses from state governments, international organizations, media outlets, etc. But what exactly does it mean to traverse physical, legal, cultural, and other boundaries in the 21 st century? As one moves through and connects with spaces across borders, what happens to one’s locus of belonging? Where –or what– is “home”?


This session explores the political ecologies of movement, migration, and citizenship that produce imagined geographies of home. While ample research in political ecology interrogates migration, relatively few do so from the perspective of migrants themselves (see Truelove 2011 and other feminist political ecology works for exceptions); furthermore, existing political ecology works on migration tend to present policy as somewhat disconnected from those who construct it and those who live with its impact (for an outstanding example of ‘scaling up’ political ecological methodologies, see Barnes 2014). Thus, this CFP solicits works that disrupt conventional scales of analysis and investigate the lived, embodied experiences of migrants as they engage with dynamic imagined geographies of home.


While we anticipate qualitative methodologies being most adept at exploring these themes, we are open to quantitative and/or mixed methodologies as well. We are also open to formatting this session as a panel discussion or other presentation style.


Topic areas might include:

● Migrants’ interaction with discursive representations of migrants
● Transnational migration and food security
● Social preservation of collective memory across space
● Relationships between physical dwelling space and imaginaries of “home”

Interested participants should send a 200-word abstract to Meagan Harden at meaganharden@ou.edu and Maddie Williams at mwilliams@ou.edu by November 17th. Participants will be notified by November 21st and must register for the conference by December 1st.

CFP: Political Ecologies of Mind and Mood

Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE)

February 27-29, 2020

Lexington, Kentucky


Organized by: Arianna Hall-Reinhard (Ohio State), Ariel Rawson (Ohio State)


There is growing interest in the entanglement of mind/mood-environment relations both inside and outside the academy. This phenomenon is emerging both in the name of peril  – whether as despair, fear, anxiety, grief, or trauma - and in the name of hope – whether as resistance, solidarity, intimacy, or attachment. These burgeoning mind-environment articulations take heterogenous forms: from activists in climate justice movements who mobilize hopelessness to resist cascading environmental crises to scientists who study bidirectional relationships between biodiversity loss in the gut microbiome and a growing crisis of mental health. Yet we assert these diverse phenomena share an interest in how a changing environment is changing minds. They do so by conceiving the relation between minds and the environment as always open to begin with and as becoming increasingly entangled. Dovetailing with growing uncertainties around the stakes of life itself, including loss of/in life, emergent mind-environment articulations build on how the “Anthropocene” challenges human/nature and body/environment dualisms in both historical and ontological terms (Mansfield 2018, Mansfield and Doyle 2016).


However, scholars have also argued that ideas about plastic mind-environment relations are deeply racialized and not new (Schuller 2018, Meloni 2018). At the same time, scholars like DuBois (1903), Fanon (1967) and Wynter (2001), have long developed notions of plastic mind-environment relations that both explain how racism gets into the psyche and provide the means for decolonizing the mind. We seek papers that investigate not the truth of these new non-dualist articulations of mind-environment relations, but the politics of these situated and embodied knowledges (Haraway 1988, Rose 1997) as emergent phenomenon, including the work they do in the world and what that means for ideas about the self. Moreover, we are interested in how these emergent mind-environment entanglements refigure notions of difference and justice? Specifically, we ask how ideas of mind-environment entanglements are shaped by ideas of difference (race, gender, sexuality, disability, species, disease, population)? How does difference become figured in these new articulations? And in so doing, how do these mind-environment relations figure in/justice?


We seek investigations of mind-environment relations in broad terms, possible topics include:

- Affect theory in environmental humanities

- Multispecies relations

- Extinction and loss

- Mental Health and Climate Change

- Environmental or postgenomic turn (epigenetics, microbiomics, etc) in neuroscience or psychology

- the role of emotions and embodied experiences in environmental/climate activism

- Indigenous cosmologies/ontologies

- Alien ethos / unruly natures

- De/coloniality of mind

- Environmental politics of emotions

- Gaia Theory, earth or ecosystems as intelligent/mind

- Mind as ecosystems

- Plasticity of life

- Environmental

- Subjectivity

- Embodiment

- Ideology

- Governmentality

If you are interested please send an abstract and title by November 20th to either rawson.29@buckeyemail.osu.edu or hall-reinhard.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu 

CFP: Confronting far right political ecologies

Rachael Baker, University of Illinois at Chicago

Kai Bosworth, Virginia Commonwealth University

Lisa Santosa, University of Minnesota


Political ecologists over the past twenty years have increasingly centralized the intersection of race and racism with ecological governance, green political economies, natural resource extraction, and the production of waste and disposability (Bonds and Inwood 2016, Moore et al 2003, Pulido 2017). Cutting-edge scholarship at DOPE frequently contends that nature is a site of power and struggle, and that securing nature through governance, ownership, and monetization is central to the racial ontologies and projects of white supremacy and settler colonialism (Brahinsky et al 2014, Schulz, 2017, Theriault 2017, Van Sant et. al. 2020). While neo-Malthusianisms, nationalist environmentalisms, and eugenic environmental determinisms have long been objects of critique for political ecologists (Taylor 2016), the recent rise of neo-/eco-fascisms (e.g. Forchtner 2019) challenges scholars and activists to hone our precision and modes of intervention for the ongoing struggle for a livable future. Although not without precedent then, it is incontrovertible that the far right has been emboldened globally to produce more explicit regimes of communication and administration that intervene in ecological futures. 


This session contends that we need precision concerning the continuities and discontinuities, historically and in the present, among liberal, administrative, and scientific modes of governance and emergent (if always present) forms of far right political organizing. Thus not only our conceptual frameworks, but also our activist/political actions need to be recalibrated to more effectively respond to structural, social and cultural manifestations of white supremacy. Taking such responsibility, however, also requires that we confront the ways that examining such movements can expose uncomfortable continuities with ecological policy and administration, academic institutions and their modes of education, and desires for more just ecologies. 


How do political ecologies of the far right - such as so-called environmental nativism, ecofascism, climate apartheid, or climate barbarism - change how race and racism are conceptualized in environmental movements, and how we understand the contested terrain of nature or ecology alongside decolonial, anti-racist, and anti-fascist struggle? What is new or different in the current range of far right articulations of ecology, and what is an extension or cycle of earlier eugenic and populationist forms of governance? Are contemporary liberal or leftist concepts and methods appropriate for describing and evaluating far right movements, or do we require new or different tools? How could attention toward far-right ideology, tactics, and ways of relating to nature inform better strategies for liberation or abolitionist approaches to political ecology? 


We seek empirical, theoretical, and activist/political interventions, evaluations, or reflections not limited to the following topics:


  • Settler colonialism, empire, and white/euro-american nativism

  • Continuities and discontinuities among liberalism, conservativism, and the far right

  • Neo-malthusianism, lifeboat ethics, and the "great replacement"

  • Border ecologies, migration, and xenophobia

  • Eschatological Christianity and evangelism 

  • Waste, race, and disposability / surplus populations

  • Disasters and climate barbarism / climate apartheid

  • Police, military, private security, and vigilantism

  • Far right leaders and movements in the Global South 

  • Modes of study, intervention, and abolition against white supremacy

  • Property, territoriality, conservation and resource entitlement

  • Technocratic discourses of development and productive fitness

  • Campus/municipal organizing against commemorations of racial rule

  • Studying up and methodological challenges and dangers of researching/confronting the right

  • Critiques of standard knowledges and researcher positionalities used in confronting fascism


Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words in length to bosworthk@vcu.edu by November 19. We welcome and encourage submissions from undergraduates and non-academics, and in non-traditional formats.

DOPE Workshop: Digital Methods for Environmental Accountability and Justice

Call for Participants | February 27 – 29, 2020 | Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Lindsey Funke, University of Kentucky

Eric Nost, University of Guelph


In this practice-oriented workshop, we will explore two ways political ecologists can engage digital methods to understand, represent, and contextualize questions around state and corporate accountability and socio-environmental justice. Inspired by the notion of “public political ecology” (Osborne 2017), we assess the intersection of the digital as “object and subject of geographical inquiry” and in particular how an expansive approach to data practice might contribute to reformulating political visibilities (Leszczynski 2017, 1; J. Gray et al. 2018; Moore et al. 2018; Foo 2019). We especially encourage participation from undergrads, graduate students, and independent/activist scholars!


We will first engage with interactive web mapping platforms and their use in environmental justice, land rights, and resource struggles. Political ecologists have long drawn on GIS and cartographic techniques, including participatory and counter forms of mapping (Peluso 1995; Weiner et al. 1995; St. Martin 2001; Harris and Hazen 2009). Maps and mapping can provide empirical avenues into core political ecology concerns around the politics of knowledge (Turner 2003; McCarthy and Thatcher 2017; N. Gray 2018), while also playing a part in re-configuring conditions of power (Peluso 1995).


In the second session, we will examine data collection and visualization techniques for “watchdog”-type efforts that aim to hold accountable states, corporations, and other actors in environmental politics. These techniques can also more broadly be employed for discourse analysis (Nost et al. 2019). We will look at ways to utilize website archives such as the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and how to make and process FOIA acquisitions of government records (Lamdan 2018). 


The workshop will take place during the Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference itself, spanning two sessions. We ask that if you intend to participate, please complete the following form, as we will tailor the content of the workshop to your interests and skills. Note that there are absolutely no prerequisites for participating in this workshop! Additionally, while we will convene a set of discussions and activities, we are planning for the workshop to be participatory and hope that you will share your experiences and expertise!


Please indicate your intention to participate by December 1st, so that we can reserve the appropriate spaces on campus. If interest exceeds space restrictions, participants may be limited to a single session, so indicate your preference within the form.  Participants will be confirmed in mid-December and additional information about the sessions will be sent via email. Do not forget to register here for the conference itself by December 1st. We look forward to meeting or reconnecting with you all in February! 


Please direct any questions to Eric Nost ( enost [@] uoguelph.ca ) or Lindsey Funke ( lindsey.funke [@] uky.edu).