About CAPE

Cultural and Political Ecology (CAPE) Specialty Group

Mission Statement: “To promote scholarly activities integrating the cultural, political, economic and biophysical dimensions of resource use and environmental change, focusing on these issues and their linkages at and across multiple spatial and temporal  scales.”

Background: The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE) is a sub-group of scholars within the Association of American Geographers (AAG). CAPE was originally organized as the Cultural Ecology Specialty Group (CESG) in 1980 with the aim “To promote and conduct scholarly activities on cultural ecological topics ranging from pre-history to third world development, and from environmental to economic problems.” The tradition of cultural ecology as scholarship is characterized by efforts to integrate the theories and methodologies of biologists, anthropologists, and geographers through the practical study of people and populations in place.

In 2002, members voted to include the term “Political” in the specialty group title to reflect the growing intersection of research in cultural ecology and the burgeoning field of political ecology. Political ecological scholarship seeks to explicitly integrate traditional modes of thought comprised by cultural ecology with the theories and methodologies of political economic analysis, environmental politics, environmental history, geospatial analysis, and the integrated environmental sciences. The change of title explicitly acknowledges the growing importance of new methodologies and paradigms in human environment research as characterized by the CAPE mission statement (printed at the top of this page).

The Bylaws for the specialty group were updated in 2021. The most current version can be found here. CAPE_2021 bylaws

Topics of special interest to members of CAPE include but are not limited to:

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Development
  • Cartography and Mapping
  • Climate Change Drivers, Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Ecotourism
  • Energy Production and Use
  • Environmental Activism
  • Environmental Change and Degradation
  • Environmental Discourse and Ethics
  • Environmental History
  • Environmental Justice and Racism
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Policy and Governance
  • Gender and the Environment
  • Globalization and Free Trade Systems
  • Green Consumerism and Lifestyles
  • Hazards and Disaster Research
  • Historical Ecology
  • Human and Environmental Health
  • Human and Community Livelihood
  • Indigenous and Participatory Mapping
  • Land Use, Land Cover, Land Change
  • Land Tenure and Common Property
  • Migration
  • Nature Preserves and Protected Areas
  • Neoliberalism and/of the Environment
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Pastoral Communities and Landscapes
  • Political Economy of Resource Use
  • Protected Areas
  • Privatization of Nature
  • Race, Ethnicity and the Environment
  • Pollution Impacts and Remediation
  • State-Market Relations
  • Sustainability, Vulnerability and Resilience
  • Third World Development
  • Urban Ecology and Metabolism
  • Water Use and Management
  • Wildlife Conservation

The CAPE Listserv:
 The listserv is the real-time communication organ of the specialty group. Through it, members can debate ideas, exchange news, organize paper sessions, post calls for papers, and request information from colleagues as long as content conforms to the listerv policy of collegiality.  If you would like to subscribe to the listserv go to the following link and follow the instructions below. If you encounter problems with your subscription, please contact the listserv manager, Jennifer Baka. jeb525@psu.edu

1. Click on this link: http://lists.psu.edu/archives/aag-cesg-l.html
2. Click on the dropdown menu on the top right
3. Click on subscribe
4. Follow the instructions on the subscription page

A NOTE OF RECOGNITION: A long line of webmasters/newsletter editors contributed to the the CAPE website. In 1994 Robert Kuhlken created the first webpage for what was known as the Cultural Ecology Specialty Group. Simon Batterbury worked on the pages 1998 to 2004,  Eric Perramond 2004 to 2005, Tony Abbott 2005 to 2012 and Kerry Grimm and Gregory Simon from 2012 to 2014, Elizabeth Barron from 2020 to 2022. Jenny Goldstein currently manages this site.