Towards a Critical Physical Geography: Challenges and Opportunities

Human-environment interactions are complex, dynamic and deeply political. While the potential value of interdisciplinary research in capturing these interactions is well recognized, ideological, epistemological, and methodological challenges have often prevented greater integration of research approaches from physical and human geography. 


This session aims to explore emerging graduate research in the field of critical physical geography (CPG), "a new field that combines critical attention to relations of social power with deep knowledge of a particular field of biophysical science or technology in the service of social and environmental transformation" (Lave et al. 2015).  CPG emerges from decades of scholarship in Political Ecology, but responds to critiques that the political is privileged over the ecological (Walker 2005). Central to most CPG work are efforts to engage both the materiality of biophysical processes and the knowledge claims made about them.    


Our symposium aims to provide a forum for graduate students working at this interface. We invite a broad range of presentations. Possible topics include (i) examples of ongoing CPG research; (ii) policy insights emerging from CPG research; or (iii) theoretical and methodological approaches to CPG. 



Work Cited:

Lave, R., Wilson, M. W., Barron, E. S., Biermann, C., Carey, M. A., Duvall, C. S., ... & Pain, R. (2014). Intervention: Critical physical geography. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 58(1), 1-10.


Walker, P. A. (2005). Political ecology: where is the ecology. Progress in Human Geography, 29(1), 73-82.

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