Whether we think about the green gentrification of the New York City High Line, alt Twitter defense of “public” lands featuring a National Parks service gone rogue, or fierce disagreements about proposed and active gold mining in Tanzania, nature is at once a site for extraction, for economic development, and for place-making for various communities. Among other markers of difference, race can help us draw through lines between and across many seemingly diverse sites of environmental struggle. How is race implicated in imaginations of who owns or cares for particular lands, resources, and environments? And what are the material origins and impacts of these imaginations for how processes of accumulation and dispossession are organized? For how meaning is made and contested? For whose bodies and which landscapes get valued, polluted, or protected?

 

Drawing on a diversity of sites and situated political struggles, this session seeks connections across space and scales to grapple with the co-production of nature and race. We take inspiration from Moore, Kosek, and Pandian’s proposition that we attend to how race and nature work together as a terrain of power. As they write: “Race provides a critical medium through which ideas of nature operate, even as racialized forces rework the ground of nature itself. Working together, race and nature legitimate particular forms of political representation, reproduce social hierarchies, and authorize violent exclusions - often transforming contingent relations into eternal necessities” (Moore, Kosek, and Pandian 2003, 3). Bringing into conversation work that spans from the urban to the rural, from the global south to the global north, this session invites a political ecology of counter-topographies (Katz 2001). Understanding contour lines as shared relations to a process across uneven space, this session asks: how might we trace race as a contour line connecting disparate processes of dispossession, development, and accumulation through the commodification and contestation of nature?

 

We are interested in papers that take up any of the following:

accumulation, dispossession, and commodification of nature: How is racial difference productive of and produced by the differential valuing of nature as a natural resource, recreation site, urban amenity, or national treasure?

urban political ecology, re-greening, urban development: How do race and nature continue to shape urban development projects and the identification of spaces ripe for re-greening, re-developing, or razing?

environmental management: How do bureaucratic practices and legal forms reflect and reproduce differential access to the signification and governance of nature, land, or the environment? What role do stakeholder management models play in setting norms and expectations about whose land is being managed, why, and to what end?

climate change: How do resiliency initiatives differently protect and value places and communities? How are vulnerable and marginalized communities pushing back against the causes of and responses to climate change?

environmental justice:What faultlines and coalitions are produced in the contestation over environmental protection and conservation policies for public lands, extractive industries, and industrial sites?

settler colonialism, white supremacy: How are conceptions of nature co-constituted through settler-Native relations? How does settler colonialism, as a historical process and structured present, shape struggles over environmental protection, indigenous sovereignty, and extractive industries? How might thinking through white supremacy illuminate the specific fields of power and forms of accumulation in the U.S and other settler states?

 

Please submit a 200-300 word abstract to Robin Wright at wrig0534@umn.edu by November 25th. Potential presenters and or panelists will be notified by November 28th regarding acceptance to the session, and will be required to register for the conference and submit their abstracts through the DOPE website (www.politicalecology.org) by the December 1 deadline to be added to the session(s).

 

Bibliography

Katz, C. (2001). On the Grounds of Globalization: A Topography for Feminist Political Engagement. Signs, 26(4), 1213-1234

Moore, D., Kosek, J., & Pandian, A. (2003). Race, nature, and the politics of difference. Durham: Duke University Press.

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