Political Ecologies of Environmental Engineering

Abstracts Due: November 17, 2017


Registration Deadline: December 1, 2017


For the past five millennia, humans have been changing their environments and developing engineered solutions to environmental problems, to the extent that once revolutionary developments in environmental engineering now appear banal. However, the threat of climate change has brought about a new public interest in environmental engineering projects. From flood defense works in Miami and New York City, to water distribution infrastructure in the American Southwest, to large-scale carbon capture technologies, a new generation of environmental engineering projects promise to play a significant role in shaping both urban and rural lives and livelihoods. Most of these works are presented as a general public good, working for the benefit of society writ large. However, as scholars such as Langdon Winner (1986), Rohan D’Souza (2006), and Sara Pritchard (2012) have argued, human artefacts and engineered works play a key role in the reproduction of political and economic conditions in the times and spaces in which they are constructed and have a significant impact on the (re)production of systems of power for decades, and perhaps centuries, to come.


In this session, we seek papers that broadly address issues of power in environmental engineering projects from a political ecology or critical physical geography perspective. If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words Joshua Mullenite (jmull031@fiu.edu) by November 17, 2017. Accepted papers will be notified by November 19th to ensure participants have time to register by the December 1 deadline.


D’Souza, R. 2006. Water in British India: The Making of a ‘Colonial Hydrology.’ History Compass 4 (4): 621–28. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00336.x.


Pritchard, S.B. 2012. From Hydroimperialism to Hydrocapitalism: ‘French’ Hydraulics in France, North Africa, and beyond. Social Studies of Science 42 (4): 591–615. doi:10.1177/0306312712443018. 


Winner, L. 1986. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 


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