DOPE Workshop: Digital Methods for Environmental Accountability and Justice

In this practice-oriented workshop, we will explore two ways political ecologists can engage digital methods to understand, represent, and contextualize questions around state and corporate accountability and socio-environmental justice. Inspired by the notion of “public political ecology” (Osborne 2017), we assess the intersection of the digital as “object and subject of geographical inquiry” and in particular how an expansive approach to data practice might contribute to reformulating political visibilities (Leszczynski 2017, 1; J. Gray et al. 2018; Moore et al. 2018; Foo 2019). We especially encourage participation from undergrads, graduate students, and independent/activist scholars!

 

We will first engage with interactive web mapping platforms and their use in environmental justice, land rights, and resource struggles. Political ecologists have long drawn on GIS and cartographic techniques, including participatory and counter forms of mapping (Peluso 1995; Weiner et al. 1995; St. Martin 2001; Harris and Hazen 2009). Maps and mapping can provide empirical avenues into core political ecology concerns around the politics of knowledge (Turner 2003; McCarthy and Thatcher 2017; N. Gray 2018), while also playing a part in re-configuring conditions of power (Peluso 1995).

 

In the second session, we will examine data collection and visualization techniques for “watchdog”-type efforts that aim to hold accountable states, corporations, and other actors in environmental politics. These techniques can also more broadly be employed for discourse analysis (Nost et al. 2019). We will look at ways to utilize website archives such as the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and how to make and process FOIA acquisitions of government records (Lamdan 2018). 

 

The workshop will take place during the Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference itself, spanning two sessions. We ask that if you intend to participate, please complete the following form, as we will tailor the content of the workshop to your interests and skills. Note that there are absolutely no prerequisites for participating in this workshop! Additionally, while we will convene a set of discussions and activities, we are planning for the workshop to be participatory and hope that you will share your experiences and expertise!

 

Please indicate your intention to participate by December 1st, so that we can reserve the appropriate spaces on campus. If interest exceeds space restrictions, participants may be limited to a single session, so indicate your preference within the form.  Participants will be confirmed in mid-December and additional information about the sessions will be sent via email. Do not forget to register here for the conference itself by December 1st. We look forward to meeting or reconnecting with you all in February! 

 

Please direct any questions to Eric Nost (enost@uoguelph.ca) or Lindsey Funke (lindsey.funke@uky.edu). 


 

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