Political Ecologies of Privilege: Critically Exploring Whiteness, Wealth, Masculinity, and Western-Centrism in Socioecological Scholarship and Movements

Whereas political ecology explorations of environmental justice (EJ) and environmental racism are now fairly common place, seminal work such as Park and Pellow (2011) and Finney (2014) point to the need for increased critical understandings of environmental privilege as inherently related to environmental inequality. As political ecologists have recently begun to apply critical ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies previously reserved for exploring indigenous communities, communities of color, and the Global South to more privileged contexts (Ibid., see also Gould & Lewis, 2017; Schroeder, St. Martin, & Albert, 2006; Stoddart, 2012), questions remain as to how political ecology work rooted in exploring disenfranchised spaces can translate to examining spaces of privilege without misappropriating or misrepresenting the origin and mission of EJ scholarship.

This session seeks papers which utilize political ecology to explore how privilege (in all its various and intersecting forms including but not limited to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and religion) influences socioecological spaces; conceptions of nature; policy and governance; uneven development; scholarship; and public participation, outreach, and activism. Papers may focus on a specific community, region or form of privilege or may more broadly explore the intersectionality of identities and/or privilege in multi-scalar contexts. If interested, please send your abstract to Rebekah Breitzer at rbreitzer@gradcenter.cuny.edu by December 1 st .



Finney, C. (2014). Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.


Gould, K. A., & Lewis, T. L. (2017). Green Gentrification: Urban Sustainability and the Struggle for Environmental Justice. New York: Routledge.


Park, Lisa Sun-Hee; Pellow, D. N. (2011). The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden. New York: New York University Press.


Schroeder, R. A., St. Martin, K., & Albert, K. E. (2006). Political ecology in North America: Discovering the Third World within? Geoforum. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2005.05.003


Stoddart, M. C. J. (2012). Making Meaning Out of Mountains: The Political Ecology of Skiing. Vancouver: UBC Press.



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