Invitation to Early Career Scholars' Writing Workshop

Writing can be a lonely process. Our aim is to convene a group of early career scholars interested and invested in building a long-term writers' community. With this call, we invite submissions from early career scholars at any stage of a book-length project situated within the broad, interdisciplinary area of political ecology. We envision this group as meeting at least once annually, with a continuing commitment both to sharing our respective work as it develops over time, and to providing sustained critical attention and support for our colleagues' work. We are therefore looking for writers who expect to be able to continue their participation beyond a single conference meeting. Future meetings might be held at DOPE, the AAGs, or elsewhere as funds allow. For our first meeting, we will apply for a double session at this year's Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference, to be held in Lexington, Kentucky (February 2020).


This workshop will offer a supportive and critical space in which to discuss the writing process, to ask questions and offer advice, and to engage critically and generously with each others' writing. Additionally, we hope to incorporate discussion of a recent book on writing into each workshop meeting. For this first meeting, we will discuss Helen Sword's Air & Light & Time & Space (2017), which proposes four cornerstones – Behavioral, Artisanal, Social, and Emotional – that anchor successful academic writing. In this inaugural workshop, we aim to bring together 8-10 scholars who will be prepared to share either a book proposal or a book chapter with the group by 1 February 2020 (no more than 9,000 words in length).


If interested, please submit the following to and by October 28th for full consideration:


  1. A very brief bio;

  2. An abstract of no more than 250 words that briefly describes both your overall writing project and the particular piece that you will share with the group;

  3. A 200-word description of the kind of feedback on your project or support in the writing process you'd like to get out of this group. You might note what specific writing challenges you are facing, what kind of feedback would be most useful to you, or what you are interested in with respect to critical reflection on the writing process, for example.


If accepted to the 2020 workshop, your obligations will be as follows:


  • To circulate your chapter or proposal to the group by 1 February 2020;

  • To read everyone's work prior to the DOPE meeting (February 27-29, 2020). Although you will not comment on each piece at length, this will nonetheless entail a significant commitment of time and attention, as we are aiming for 8-10 participants;

  • To read one designated person's work in greater depth, and to be prepared to offer detailed feedback and critique to the author and the entire group about the work. Writers will be paired based on overlap or complementarity of intellectual interests, expertise, or methods;

  • To attend DOPE 2020, and participate in a modified critical response format (Lerman, 2003) discussion and critique of one another's work;

  • To be familiar with Helen Sword's Air & Light & Time & Space (2017) as a basis for discussion of writing process and challenges; 

  • To apply with the intention and interest of developing this group into a long-term academic workshop community.


We expect this workshop will be a fulfilling opportunity to bring scholars at similar career stages (recent PhD graduates, postdocs, and pre-tenure/non-tenure track instructors/assistant professors) into dialogue around exciting new research, as well as a supportive space in which to navigate the challenges of early career scholarship.

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