What does it mean to restore nature, and what are practitioners and policy makers doing when they set out to improve degraded ecosystems? Ecological restoration is state and federal policy, tribal strategy for upholding treaty rights, grassroots effort, green jobs initiative, profitable private enterprise, and more. Restoration critics note that it can reify the trope of pristine, unadulterated Nature (Robbins and Moore 2013) and reiterate settler ideas of perfecting and controlling natural processes (Katz 2012). Ecological restoration can also be a speculative, hopeful action for the continuance of life in the face of anthropogenic damage (Hobbs 2013), a critical response to capitalist and colonial extractivism and domination, a gesture of inter-species solidarity aimed at creating “abundant futures” (Collard et al. 2015), and a practice of moral repair for damaged human-environment relations (Almassi 2017). To this end, restoration needs to be critically challenged—and re-imagined, in all its relations and perspectives.

We welcome papers in a range of genres including speculative fictions and artistic works (e.g. Simpson 2017), ethnographic studies of restoration sites or endeavors (e.g. Fox et al. 2016), political ecologies of water, land, and sea governance (e.g. Breslow 2014), and Indigenous and environmental justice activist perspectives (e.g. Kimmerer 2013). We are especially interested in submissions that move from critique to imagining future modes of earth belonging and earth repair. 


Possible themes:


  • Sociogeomorphology/sociobiogeography and co-production of landscapes

  • Critical race theory and restoration: theorizing human and non-human difference and belonging

  • Restoration as a tool in green gentrification/greenwashing

  • Commons and communing through, or in spite of, restoration

  • Decolonization ecologies: restoration as a decolonial practice

  • Speculative fiction and restoration: envisioning future ecological relations

  • Restoration as a practice of public art or performance


Please send abstracts to both organizers (anderrm@uw.edu and cleowe@uw.edu) by November 25, 2018. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by December 5, 2018.


References and further reading:


Almassi, B. (2017). “Ecological Restorations as Practices of Moral Repair.”Ethics and the Environment, 22(1), 19.


Breslow, S. J. (2014). Tribal Science and Farmers’ Resistance: A Political Ecology of Salmon Habitat Restoration in the American Northwest. Anthropological Quarterly, 87(3), 727–758.

Cantor, D. A. (2018). Speculations on the postnatural: Restoration, accumulation, and sacrifice at the Salton Sea, 35.


Collard, R.-C., Dempsey, J., & Sundberg, J. (2015). A Manifesto for Abundant Futures. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(2), 322–330.


Fox, C. A., Magilligan, F. J., & Sneddon, C. S. (2016). “You kill the dam, you are killing a part of me”: Dam removal and the environmental politics of river restoration. Geoforum, 70, 93–104.


Hobbs, R. J. (2013). Grieving for the Past and Hoping for the Future: Balancing Polarizing Perspectives in Conservation and Restoration: Grief and Hope in Restoration. Restoration Ecology, 21(2), 145–148.


Karuk UC Berkeley Collaborative (n.d.). Practicing Píkyav: A Guiding Policy for Collaborative Projects and Research Initiatives with the Karuk Tribe       



Katz, E. (2012). Further Adventures in the Case against Restoration: Environmental Ethics, 34(1), 67–97.


Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis, Minn: Milkweed Editions.


Mastnak, T., Elyachar, J., & Boellstorff, T. (2014). Botanical decolonization: Rethinking native plants. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32(2), 363–380.


Robbins, P., & Moore, S. A. (2013). Ecological anxiety disorder: diagnosing the politics of the Anthropocene. Cultural Geographies, 20(1), 3–19.


Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. (2017). This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories. Toronto, ON: House of Anansi Press.

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