CFP – AAG 2013, Los Angeles

******Archived from AAG 213******

New Directions in Commodity Chain Analysis & Access Mapping in ‘The Green Economy’ 

Analysis of commodity chains – the relationships, transformations and mediating institutions that enable a commodity’s production, distribution and end use – has provided important insights on how resource and market access and power mediate the distribution of benefits and risks (Ribot 1998). Alongside traditional commodities, Commodity Chain Analysis (CCA), and its close relative, access mapping (Ribot and Peluso 2003), are now being applied in new arenas of “The Green Economy,” such as bioprospecting and ecosystem services, to gain systematic insights to the circumstances, relationships and transformations that comprise a commodity’s “social life” (Appadurai 1986). This organized session shares insights from scholars who are taking CCA and access mapping into new domains and grappling with associated challenges and critique. For example, intangible commodities like ecosystem services may involve significant technical inputs to verify and value the units of trade, setting them apart from tangible and established commodities such as timber and other forest products.  International and state institutions may play a central role in market establishment, with pro-active design of institutions to facilitate transactions as well as the distribution of benefits. Finally, the formative nature of these nascent markets mean that the networks of actors and their transactions are highly dynamic.

This organized session seeks papers which explore the insights gained in taking CCA & access mapping to these new market domains, including and beyond:

  • Commodity chains, access mapping of fictitious commodities
  • Politically-charged divisions of access along gender, class, and ethnicity
  • Commodity relations which promote rural differentiation and hierarchy
  • Commodity chains in relation to the burgeoning green economy
  • The role of non-state actors and civil society institutions in commodity chains
  • Varied types of chains vs. networks or filière approaches
  • Mapping invisible actors and hidden economic agents
  • Measuring speculative commodities – carbon derivatives, land, biofuels
  • Spaces for change in newly emerging markets
  • New methodological approaches in access mapping

Organizers: Sango Mahanty (Australian National University – and Benjamin Neimark  (Old Dominion

Discussant: Jesse Ribot (University of Illinois)


Appadurai, A. (1986) Introduction: commodities and the politics of value. in Appadurai, A. (Ed.) The Social Life of Things: commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 3-63.

Ribot, J. C. (1998) Theorizing access: Forest profits along Senegal’s charcoal commodity chain. Development and Change. 29 (1998): 307-341.

Ribot, J.C. and N. L., Peluso (2003) A theory of access. Rural Sociology. 68(2): 153-181

Contesting Models of Ecological Urban Living: Eco-cities and beyond

In recent years, the term “eco-city” has increasingly been applied to a wide range of urban sustainability projects from minor retrofits, brown-field regeneration and clean-ups, to large-scale construction of new towns. The idea of the eco-city has inspired attempts by a wide variety of institutions and organizations to develop urban planning and policy models capable of increasing the sustainability of urban living. At the international level, both the United Nations and the World Bank have been involved with initiatives to standardize, measure, and monitor the “eco-ness” of urban living (Ecocity Builders, 2012; Suzuki et al., 2010). National and local governments from Canada to China have also developed their own visions of eco-cities, as have teams of designers working on flagship eco-city projects such as Dongtan Eco-City (Arup & Shanghai Industrial Investment (Holdings) Company Ltd, 2005) and Masdar City (Foster & Partners, 2008).

A common feature of eco-cities is their attempt to integrate virtually all aspects of urban planning, including housing, transportation, economic development, and participatory democracy, into a comprehensive model (Roseland, 1997; Hodson & Marvin, 2010; Dunn & Jamieson, 2011). In doing so, the eco-city aims to be a comprehensive approach, a model of sustainable urban form. However, while sharing much with more general ideas of the sustainable city, eco-city is also distinguished by an emphasis on the ideas that cities should be self-sufficient, and exist in harmony with their surrounding natural environments  (White 2001, Giradet 2008, Wong & Yuen, 2011). This highlights a fundamental contradiction within the eco-city idea; as a predetermined set of goals or indicators can hardly account for the drastic variation in natural ecosystems and pre–existing socioeconomic conditions among cities. Empirically, evidence also reveals that existing eco-city projects are mostly products of place-specific circumstances, which may not be replicated elsewhere.

Nevertheless, much of the existing eco-city literature argues for the benefits of a set of principles to guide urban planning and highlights the successes of a small number of existing projects while glossing over the complexities of creating sustainable urban projects. There is a dearth of attention to the spatial, ecological and sociopolitical complexity in which the “best practice” of eco-city is produced, and to the contestations and conflicts between such best practices and place-specific contexts. Without a situated understanding of the production and contestations of the “best practice,” the possibility of alternative models (in contrast to a singular, hegemonic planning model) and the more nuanced role of eco-city models can play in a broader urban socio-technical transformations may be overlooked (Evans and Karvonen 2011, Spath & Rohracher 2011, Hodson & Marvin 2010).

To echo the thematic focuses of the 2013 AAG in Los Angeles on climate change and global urbanization, and also to continue the collaborative effort from the sessions of “Unpacking the Eco-city Phenomenon: Variegations in Theory and Practice” in the 2012 AAG in New York, we would like to invite papers that critically reflect on eco-cities or model(s) of ecological urban living. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Inquiries on the construction of eco-city/eco-urbanism models for contemporary sustainable urban living, including theoretical engagement with the eco-utopian ideologies and the idea of city as an eco-system;

2. Analyses of the knowledge production of rco-city/eco-urbanism models and indicator systems, including research on the scientific foundation, experts and their practices that promote the eco-city models and related indicator systems;

3. Case studies or comparative studies of eco-city/eco-urbanism models and indicator systems, and socio-political contexts featuring these models and indicator systems;

4. Research on the mobility of eco-cityco-city/eco-urbanism models, specifically on the key actors, channels, and mechanisms in the global circulation of the models.

5. Practical evaluation and assessment of eco-city/eco-urbanism models and their influence over contemporary urbanism.

Interested participants are invited to submit their paper title, abstract (no more than 250 words) and Presenter Identification Number (PIN) to all three session organizers at I-Chun Catherine Chang (, 
Elizabeth Rapoport (, and Federico Cugurullo ( October 20, 2012. Authors need to submit paper abstract first through the AAG website to obtain the PIN. Guidelines for preparing abstracts are available at:

_________________________________________________________________________Climate Policy as Industrial Policy: Emerging Geographies in the Making of the Green Economy

Sponsored by the Energy and Environment and Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Groups

Despite the many shortcomings of the UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties, nation states and sub-national state authorities have responded to the challenges of climate change with a broad array of policies. The resulting terrain of governmental and corporate programs linking energy, greenhouse gas reductions and economic development is expansive, underpinning a broad notion of the “the green economy.” As new industries emerge promising climate change mitigation through low carbon products and services, the boundaries between climate policy and industrial policy increasingly overlap. Although “industrial policy” is rarely mentioned in critical scholarship on the politics of climate change, at various levels of governance, it has become a more visible component of climate change mitigation strategies. Domestic advocacy groups, governmental officials and private sector actors concerned with “sustainable economic development” have linked climate policy to debates about the economy, rendering efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas levels into political justifications for industrial development. At the transnational level, questions of “differential responsibility” for climate change mitigation arise directly from notions of the “the right to develop” and energy security.

We seek case studies that examine the overlaps between climate policy and industrial policy from a wide array of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Recent scholarship raises important questions about knowledge production in climate policy, the political economy of climate change mitigation, and the cultural politics of climate change as an ecological crisis. This session endeavors to build upon these critical approaches to the study of climate policy by examining cases in which industrial policies are shaped by (and constitutive of) intersections between the geographies of energy, climate change mitigation and economic development. Below we highlight a few topics to encourage contributions to the session, noting that others may be relevant as well. Presenters may have empirical accounts that focus on, for example:

Government policies to support industries for low-carbon products and services

Recent international trade disputes over the legitimacy of industrial policies supporting industrial development in renewable energy commodities

National and sub-national cases of climate policy as energy development

Science, technology and innovation policy addressing climate change mitigation

The enclosure and construction of resource commodities

Policies for generating investment in the energy sector

Environmental and social justice issues arising from climate policy as industrial policy (e.g. the uneven geographies of “sustainable development,” “low-carbon development,” etc.)

Technology and intellectual property transfer as a means of addressing “differential responsibilities” and the “right to development”

The creation of market mechanisms for climate mitigation (carbon offsets, accounting and trading, new financial instruments)

“Industrial restructuring” as a result of policies promoting energy efficiency or carbon emissions reduction

The politics of knowledge and expertise in climate change mitigation as industrial policy

Methodological and theoretical approaches to studying climate policy as industrial policy


Send abstracts of no more than 250 words and paper identification numbers to the session organizers by October 7.

Jia-ching Chen (, University of California-Berkeley

Abigail Martin (, University of California-Berkeley


We also seek panelists for a round table discussion on the themes of the sessions. Panel participants should submit a 1-page description of their interests and proposed contributions to the discussion. Please include references for any relevant publications.


Political Ecology Across The Rural-Urban Divide: Examining Places, Patterns, And Processes “In Between”

We seek to bridge the rural-urban divide in political ecology (and geography more broadly), by bringing together scholars working in a variety of settings on issues that challenge our understandings of what it means to be “urban” or “rural.” Recent work on the political ecology of exurbia has begun to examine the gap between rural and urban geographies, but we ask: By calling for a political ecology of exurbia, are we in some ways simply producing yet another division, rather than reconsidering what the rural/urban divide means?

We welcome papers which examine what it means to produce urban or rural political ecology at a time in which both urban and rural places are facing increasingly diverse transformations, including rapid urbanization, deindustralization, increasing social and ecological impacts due to amenity migration, and the deconcentration of traditional cities into “edge cities” and vast fringe areas of mixed character. In this session we seek to initiate a conversation that moves beyond a focus on the rural-urban fringe as a location and toward examining the diverse patterns and processes that make the divisions between the urban and the rural increasingly murky.

Papers in this session might examine issues such as: rural and urban identities along the rural-urban edge; urbanization in-situ; diverse rural-urban networks and linkages; and the movement of traditionally “rural” activities such as agriculture into the city. Although these processes are not all physically located at the urban-rural edge, they are united as instances wherein our idealized conceptualizations of urban and rural meet and come into tension with the reality of places and processes that are increasingly “in between.”

Please email abstracts (up to 250 words) to the session organizers: Colleen Hiner ( and Innisfree McKinnon ( by October 10, 2012.


Sacrifice Zones

‘Sacrifice’ (Oxford English Dictionary)

The destruction or surrender of something valued or desired for the sake of something having, or regarded as having, a higher or a more pressing claim; the loss entailed by devotion to some other interest; also, the thing so devoted or surrendered.

To permit injury or ruin to the interests of (a person) for the sake of some desired object.

The expression, Sacrifice Zone, has been widely applied to identify and describe those geographies (environments, landscapes, regions) poisoned, destroyed, and forever alienated in the wake of decades of macroscale resource extraction (e.g., mountain top removal in West Virginia) and experimentation (e.g., nuclear production and testing during the Cold War).[i]  The expression suggests the politics and the geographies of disposability and expendability insofar as it captures the state’s discriminatory powers in matters of life and death,  productivity and obsolescence, and its permissiveness of economic, ecologic, social, and cultural ruin and violence in the name of ideological hegemony qua corporate profit, industrial and technological innovation, and military strength.

The purpose of this paper session is to revisit the concept of the Sacrifice Zone in an attempt to thoughtfully and critically broaden its identity beyond its environmental origins and to more fully consider and debate its applicability to social injustices existing at different scales (from the global to the body) and in different places, spaces, and locations in this age of expanding austerity, identity politics, disinvestment, and economic mobility. What, in essence, constitute the ‘new’ geographies of sacrifice?

The purpose of this paper session is manifold:

  • to explore in more detail, using case studies, the idea and the suitability of sacrifice to critical geographical thinking and scholarship;
  • to identify theoretical precursors and begin the process of developing an identifiable theory of sacrifice in geography;
  • to explore the many institutions, faces, and facets of sacrifice as it unfolds, and has unfolded, in different places and at different spatial scales;
  • to explore sacrifice as central tenet (material and discursive) of neoliberalism and globalization;

The goal is to emerge with a more nuanced applications and more theoretically robust understandings and interpretations of sacrifice and sacrifice zone than have been developed in past adoptions of the expressions.

To this end, this cfp casts a wide net, both thematically and discursively, inviting for participation those contributions that directly speak to or are informed by the concept of ‘sacrifice’ in field research (case studies) and explanation/interpretation (theory-building).

Please send all inquiries, abstracts, and expressions of interest to Alec Brownlow ( by Friday, October 5th, 2012.


(Dis)modernity and (Bio)diversity Exploring the Biopolitics of Human-Environmental Difference

Sponsored by the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group and Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group

This session begins with an interest in biological diversity and its diverse attendant social relations, and with how efforts to “modernize” human-environment relations – to control and exploit differentiated forms of life – are being encountered, enabled, resisted, and transformed. Though diversity is regularly championed as a key source of resilience and health for socioecological communities, it can easily prompt violent responses against those who fight to cultivate it, or may quickly become a thing to appropriate rather than a process to conserve. Of particular interest here is how “diversity” is represented, experienced, and regulated, in ways that may differ greatly from the representations, experiences, and regulations of “difference”.

This session was initially conceived as bringing political ecologies into conversation with geographies of difference. However, we are interested in representing a wide range of critical approaches to the subject, and therefore encourage methods and analyses located across the social and natural sciences. The subject and scale of “diversity” are left intentionally open to interpretation.

Topics may include but are not limited to: biodiversity, political ecology, ecological modernization, race, gender, agriculture, development, conservation, animals, governance, state power, social movements

Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words before October 1st to: Emma Gaalaas Mullaney (


Technoscience, Nature, and the State in the Postcolony

Description:  Explicit theorizations of the state remain somewhat marginal in political ecology, and state theory in political geography has had limited engagement with how technical expertise contributes to state-making. Moreover, the political geography of postcolonial regions cannot be reduced to the assumptions of metropolitan state theory. In this context, the role postcolonial historical-geographical contexts play in shaping how technoscience produces, and is in turn produced by, the modalities of state power remain insufficiently explored.

The cases presented here share a common concern for the diverse ways in which the co-production of technoscientific expertise and practices of government bears on the geographic particularities of state-making in the postcolony

Organizers: Claude Peloquin and Majed Akhter, University of Arizona


Nature, Violence and Property

As struggles over nature are increasingly understood “green grabbing” (Fairhead, Leach, and Scoones 2012), scholars are rethinking the relationship between violence and the nature of nature. A political ecology approach has centered critiques of conservation as coercion, focusing on the role of dispossession and criminalization of resource-dependent livelihoods (Thompson 1975; Peluso 1993; Neumann 1998; West, Igoe, and Brockington 2006; Agrawal and Redford 2007).

Conservation practice often expels one set of forest residents, only to foster new communities of criminals, poachers and rebels (Greenough 2003). Increasingly, protected areas have also become modern landscapes of social wars, such as the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror.” In this panel, we invite submissions that consider how conceptions of nature and property are produced through violence.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

·       Territorialization and violence

·       Militarization and securitization of protected areas

·       Border creation and control

·       Policing and criminalization

If you are interested in joining the session, please submit your title and abstract by September 30th to Alice B. Kelly (UC Berkeley) and Megan Ybarra (Willamette University) at:


Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics

This session will be co-sponsored by the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group, and the Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group.

Description: Environmental Justice (EJ) research seeks to document and address the disproportionate environmental health and risk burdens borne by racial/ethnic minorities and individuals of lower socioeconomic status. Although its initial focus was on environmental hazards and pollution, the scope of EJ research has now expanded to encompass everything that is unsustainable about the world, including rampant industrialization, resource depletion, energy use, consumption patterns, food systems, and inequitable public policies that adversely affect minority, indigenous, and low-income communities, other vulnerable groups such as immigrants and people with disabilities, and future generations. In a context of intensifying social and environmental inequalities, there is a growing need to further strengthen this research framework and continue diversifying its themes.

This paper session intends to provide a forum for conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and empirical scholarship on EJ. We welcome qualitative and quantitative case studies, reviews of the literature, critical evaluations of methods and tools, comparative analyses, and discussions of future research needs that focus on any aspect of EJ. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following EJ issues:

  • technological hazards and risks, such as air pollution, hazardous waste, and undesirable land uses;
  • natural disasters and hazards, such as hurricanes and floods;
  • adverse health outcomes, such as cancer and respiratory illnesses;
  • environmental amenities, such as parks, playgrounds, and street trees;
  • environmental laws, regulations, and policies;
  • access to affordable and nutritious food;
  • climate change; and
  • transportation systems and policies.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted to any one of the session organizers by October 15, 2012. Accepted submissions will be contacted by October 20, 2012, and expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website.


Jayajit Chakraborty, University of South Florida,

Timothy Collins, University of Texas at El Paso,

Sara Grineski, University of Texas at El Paso,


Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism And The Cyberpolitics Of Global Biodiversity Conservation

With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.

This paper session aims to inspire curiosity and encourage exchange among scholars from a wide range of perspectives regarding the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.

In sum, the paper session aims to address the following core questions:

– How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new  ‘space’ of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?

– Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?

– In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of conservation?

– What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?

– How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?

– How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?

– What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?

– How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?

– In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?

– How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?

WE REQUEST PAPER ABSTRACTS BY OCT. 15TH. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to Bram Büscher: (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands) and Ingrid L. Nelson: (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands)


Geographies of Peace

Does the discipline of geography adequately research peace?  Has geographical inquiry focused on practices of war at the expense of promoting peace? Can our work create peace, rather than contribute to violence and war?  In this linked series of paper and panel sessions, we will create a space at the 2013 LA AAG meetings for a focused intellectual and political engagement at the nexus of peace and geography.  Three sessions are in preparation for submission: 1) a session devoted to papers sharing new research on geographies of peace; 2) a panel conversation on pedagogies, and the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching peace in the geography class room, and 3) a panel devoted to discussion on what activism for peace and geography can offer each other, in conversation with LA based activists for peace.  Local participants include persons working on and against the (so called) drug war, who are engaging in creative and original tactics, as well as with organizers of the caravan for peace and justice with dignity. We seek, especially, fresh scholarship for the research paper session.  More broadly, we hope that geographers and other interested persons in the LA/AAG area will join us as engaged audience members for the all sessions.  Interested persons, please contact 1) for the paper session on research presentations, Amy Ross and Elizabeth Oglesby, and, 2) for the panels on pedagogies, Colin Flint and James Tyner, and and 3) for the panels on activism, Sara Koopman and Josh Inwood, sara.koopman@gmail.comand Please send abstract, queries, or expressions of interest by Oct 15, 2012.

_________________________________________________________________________Feminist Engagements with Health, Capitalism, and the Body

Sponsored by the Geographical Perspectives on Women Specialty Group

Feminist geographers have a long history of engagement with theories on the body.  As “the geography closest in” (Rich, 1986), the body is a key site of struggle in which we not only experience oppression but also work toward the construction of new and better alternatives.  Theorizations of the body have, necessarily, crossed disciplinary and sub-disciplinary boundaries.  Feminist economic geographers have contributed a large body of research on the gendered nature of capitalism, while feminist medical/health geographers have made significant inroads in the theorization of health, difference, and the body.  While bodies are never completely determined by their economic contexts, this session seeks to unite these literatures in an attempt to theorize how interventions of patriarchy and capitalism on the body produce particular experiences of health and disease in the twenty-first century. 

This paper session invites theoretical and/or empirical feminist research that investigates the intersections of health, capitalism, and the body/bodies from a variety of approaches.  Broadly, we will attempt to answer the questions, How does capitalism shape the health of different bodies?  How do embodied experiences of health and illness perpetuate or challenge contemporary forms of capitalism?  The session is intentionally broad as a means of creating a new space in which engagements between feminism, critical medical geography, and political economy can be articulated.  To this end, it is hoped that the presentations will spark a new research collective comprised of geographers doing research in a range of subdisciplines.  Some possible topics may include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

-Bodies and health as commodities
-Reproductive technologies
-Biomedical development strategies in the Global South
-The production of biomedical research
-The worker and occupational health
-The political ecology of health
-Inequalities and health care
-Economic policy, health, and disease
-Methodological inquiries, including autobiography

Papers from scholars from the Global South and/or outside of academia are particularly encouraged.

Interested contributors should submit an abstract and/or statement of interest to Michele Flippo Bolduc ( before Friday, October 12, 2012.  Successful submissions will be contacted by Monday, October 15.

Rich, Adrienne.  (1986).  “Notes Towards a Politics of Location.”  In Blood, Bread and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985.  W.W. Norton: New York, NY.  210-231.


Political Ecologies of Resource Extraction and Indigeneity in the Americas

The purpose of these paper sessions is to explore the interactions between resource extraction and indigeneity in the Americas.  The focus is on both the material impacts of resource extraction on indigenous people and the construction of indigenous identities in relation to extractive projects.

Recent work in political ecology has stressed the importance of engaging with the interpenetration of nature and capitalism at the global scale. Extractive industries – including mineral, oil, and gas/hydrocarbon extraction – are frequently associated with ecological and social damage, and have long been understood as in relation to capitalist production and colonial pursuits. Whether carried out by multinational corporations, state governments, or artisanal cooperatives, they are tightly bound to global political economic processes while necessarily interacting with local interests and, at times, encountering local resistance.

Where these projects take place on indigenous territory, indigenous people are often very involved in the ensuing conflicts and/or negotiations. While opposition comes from numerous sources, indigenous people are playing increasingly prominent roles in creating, strengthening, or providing a raison d’être for these spaces of activism. “The Americas” are home to both the world’s largest mining companies and some of the most widespread anti-mining activism, and we welcome papers that explore the very politics of regional studies through examining the North South, First/Third, Developed/Undeveloped binary within the region known as the Americas.

Potential paper topics include (but are not limited to):

– Integration of indigeneity into extractivist projects – in either support of or opposition to

– Indigenous subjectivities in relation to extraction projects

– North/South solidarity movements regarding resource extraction

– Theoretical engagements with indigenous ontologies and political ecology

We welcome both grounded empirical analyses and theoretical arguments, though we encourage presenters to engage with both the ideas of: i) extractivist political ecologies (focusing on North/South relations or country-specific) and ii) indigenous subjectivities.

Please send abstracts to Dawn Hoogeveen: (University of British Columbia) and Andrea Marston: (UC Berkeley) by October 5th and we will get back to you by October 10th.


Traveling for a Cause: Alternative Tourism, Consumption and Transnational Social Movements

This panel critically explores the intersection of alternative tourism, consumption and transnational social movements. Consumer movements such as fair trade, organic agriculture and food sovereignty are illustrative of the broader expansion of the new moral economies. These movements are increasingly represented within tourism where pro-poor, agricultural  and responsible tourism agendas are now commonplace. As a unique commodity within this expansion, tourism facilitates the opportunity to bring together the producers (host community members and tourism practitioners) and consumers (tourists).  This panel builds on recent research that highlights the potential role of tourism to contribute to consciousness-raising among its participants and to be a platform from which local communities can recruit support for social movement participation. We seek papers that theoretically and empirically examine this dynamic interplay between alternative tourism and the broader expansion of the new moral economies as well as the potential role of alternative tourism experiences to facilitate both new knowledge production and new challenges to realizing broader social justice agendas. Key topics for this panel may include the intersection of lifestyle and social movements (e.g. WWOOFing), social movement discourses in tourism (e.g. fair trade tourism), power relations within tourism encounters, host community based social movements, the commodification of social movement agendas in tourism (e.g. slum tours) and the expansion of the logics of neoliberalism through alternative tourism consumption (e.g. volunteer tourism).

Please submit your abstract to Mary Mostafanezhad ( or Cori Jakubiak (


Re-evaluating the Anthropocene, Resituating “Anthropos”

In 2000, Crutzen and Stoermer gave name to a new geological epoch. The “Anthropocene” demarked a post-Holocene present and future in which human activity was understood to be the dominant agent of change in the global environment (2000). Understandably, such a sweeping claim has been viewed unfavorably within critical geographical and environmental scholarship, generating arguments that Crutzen and Stoermer’s concept only offers a new, albeit negative, story of human’s mastery of the earth’s processes. Nigel Clark (2011), for example, has suggested that the term neglects the presence – and force – of terrestrial processes that exist independently from human relationships. Similar criticisms have emerged from the substantial and diverse literature on more-than-human geographies, which aim to dislodge anthropocentrism by granting nonhuman actors and processes more prominent positions in everyday events as well as the meaning and experience of social, political, and historical change (cf. Latour 2004, Serres 2010, Bennett 2011, Badmington 2000, Braun and Whatmore 2010, Castree et al. 2004).

These perspectives have been instrumental in shaping critical responses to Crutzen and Stoermer’s hyperbolic claims. However, recent work in philosophy and the humanities invite an alternative reading of the “Anthropocene,” one that that is more sympathetic to these critiques and that does not elevate or reinscribe humanity as the principal agent of global environmental change, but rather situates it as one force in a field of material processes (Morton 2012). Further, such a reading would recognize unique states of affairs that signal the “collapse of the age-old humanist distinction between natural history and human history” (Chakrabarty 2009) – a sentiment paralleling the suggestion that the Anthropocene announces a shift from the human as biological entity to that of humanity as a geological agent. In these sessions we wish to revisit the idea of the Anthropocene in order to work towards a politics capable of responding to the epistemological and ontological challenges posed by 21st century environmental uncertainty. In spite of its originary hyperbole, the idea of the Anthropocene nevertheless compels us to rethink life amongst the myriad and strange mixtures of social, natural, and socio-natural processes, and in doing so come to terms with materialities that far outstrip the relative inconsequentiality of a human experience of space and time. Or, to echo Morton, it inspires us to ‘think big, and maybe even bigger than that’ (2010).  Framing questions include, but are not limited to:

•  How does the introduction of global, geological humanity as a singular subject challenge, complement, and/or modify discourses of critical environmental thought?

• If we identify the ‘anthropos’ of the Anthropocene with something as ‘massively distributed in space and time’ (Morton 2010), what limitations do we (as individuals) experience? And what are the implications for considering issues of environmental ethics, responsibility, and politics?
• In what ways does the meaning of “human” change in the movement between biological and geological agency?

• How might critical environmental thought acknowledge the crucial role independent terrestrial processes play in the constitution and experience of material realities while at the same time acknowledging humanity’s capacity to shape the earth at multiple scales and in numerous ways?

In light of the above, the organizers of this session welcome novel socio-ecological perspectives that critically reflect on the idea of the Anthropocene, examining its impacts on 21st century environmental thought and politics. Please send inquiries / abstracts of no more than 250 words to Harlan Morehouse ( and Elizabeth Johnson ( by October 5th 2012.


Badmington, N. (2000). Posthumanism. New York, Palgrave.

Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Braun, B. and S. Whatmore (2010). “The Stuff of Politics: An Introduction.” Political Matter. Minneapolis, MN: U. of Minnesota Press.

Castree, N., C. Nash, et al. (2004). “Mapping posthumanism: an exchange.” Environment and Planning A 36: 1341-1363.

Chakrabarty, D. (2009). “The Climate of History: Four Theses.” Critical Inquiry 35(Winter): 197-222.

Clark, N. (2011). Inhuman nature : sociable life on a dynamic planet. Los Angeles ; London, SAGE.

Crutzen, P.J. and Stoermer, E.F. (2000). “The Anthropocene.” IGBP Newsletter 41(17): 17- 18.

Latour, B. (2004). Politics of Nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Morton, T. (2012). “On Entering the Anthropocene.” A lecture at the Environmental Humanities Symposium,  University of New South Wales, August 23, 2012.  Available  at

Morton, T. (2010). The ecological thought. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.

Serres, M. (2010). Biogea. Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Press.


Red, Blue and Green Economies: Paradigm shift or hegemonic realignment in environmental discourse?

Rising to prominence in the space of four years, the green economy became the centerpiece of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. Its reach now extends beyond land to the sea, with the blue economy emerging as a new paradigm for governing the oceans.  With the promises of green growth, carbon-neutral economies, and environmental technologies, the green/blue economy recasts the environment as the primary vehicle through which global economic recovery can occur. It represents a new phase in the historical process by which the discourse of global ecology has given way to an ontology of natural capital, and it brings constructs like payment for ecosystem services and carbon trading into conversations about economic recovery and job stimulus. Its rapid ascent has been contingent upon, and to varying degrees coordinated by, actors drawn together around emergent institutions of environmental governance-institutions, which have themselves been transformed by the privatization of state functions and financialization of global markets.

We seek papers that utilize a diversity of methods to explore the systemic dimensions, governance relations and neoliberal logics entailed in the production, dissemination and rapid uptake of the green and blue economies in all their variegated forms. The papers presented at AAG will feed into organized panels at the May 2013 University of Toronto conference on Grabbing Green.  Organized by Lisa Campbell, Catherine Corson, Luke Fairbanks, Noella Gray, Ken MacDonald, and Peter Wilshusen. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to by  October 1st. We will notify participants of acceptance by October 9th.


 Trees In The City: The Extent, Drivers, And Benefits Of Urban Forests

Canopy extent and conventional definitions of forest suggest that many cities in the world can be characterized as forests. Urban forests contribute important ecological services, as well as provide social and economic benefits to the local community. The presence and condition of urban trees is determined by a complex set of factors, many of which result from socio-ecological conditions and policy driven decisions at multiple spatial scales. This session will focus on patterns and drivers of urban forest health, extent and change, and planning initiatives at multiple scales. We invite presentations addressing geographical issues in urban forestry.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

1. Methods for mapping extent and change in urban forest cover.

2. Analysis of ecological, social, or economic services provided by urban forests

3. The impacts of urban forest policies or management strategies

4. Drivers of change such as invasive species or community-based action.

Tenley M. Conway, University of Toronto, Mississauga,

Shawn Landry, University of South Florida,


Making Alternative Food Networks Work: Hitching The Horse Of Critique To The Wagon Of Improvement

In our experience, the “horse” of academic critique tends to get decoupled from the “wagon” of making the world a better place.  We’re interested in scholarship that bridges this gap, deliberately hitching critical analysis to the difficult work of improving agriculture and food systems.  Potentially generative critical perspectives include, but are not limited to, political economy and political ecology, feminism, post-structuralism, new materialism, and critical GIS.  Specifically, we wish to include in our session(s) research that is of use to, and/or has been used by, groups of people who seek to create more just, sustainable social and ecological relations through alternative food networks (AFNs).

We define AFNs broadly as alternative provisioning systems that aim to avoid or combat the social and environmental abuses of the conventional food system.  Prominent examples include Fair Trade, values-based supply chains (VBSCs), community supported agriculture (CSA), subsistence agriculture, community gardens and farms, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institution arrangements, farms run by food justice organizations, incubator farms, and food hubs, though this is not an exhaustive list.  The research can focus on any element of these AFNs, such as labor processes, organizational challenges, racism and anti-racism, market exchanges, etc., and can emphasize the ideal, the material, the discursive, or a combination of these.

We envision that work based on participatory action research, community-based participatory research, engaged scholarship, activist scholarship, and/or critically reflexive praxis would fit well into the session.  Yet, we also want to provide space for practitioners who are interested in academic theories and analysis, and in heretofore “armchair” scholars who want to move into more participatory roles.  The group of papers in our session(s), then, will hopefully span the continuum from practitioners to academics, with an emphasis on the middle ground rather than the separation.

Please send 250 word abstracts to Ryan Galt: (University of California, Davis) or Liz Carlisle: (University of California, Berkeley) by October 10, 2012.


Borders, Nature, And Environmental Governance

This session seeks to explore the diversity of current geographical research related to the environmental politics of borderland regions.  Contemporary work emphasizes borders and boundaries as continually (re)negotiated processes and institutions materialized through everyday practices in multiple spatialities and modes (e.g. Johnson et al. 2011).  At the same time, scholars have argued for an understanding of borders as frontiers or zones of transition that foster transboundary cooperation and the emergence of new territories, regions, and identities (e.g. Zimmerbauer 2011; Paasi 2009).  These notions are particularly important in the context of the shift toward environmental governance, where the need to work across borders – national, municipal, or jurisdictional – is increasingly pronounced.  This shift, however, has had the tendency to focus environmental governance regimes either ‘beneath’ borders, emphasizing local control and action, or ‘above’ borders, emphasizing transboundary and collaborative arrangements at new socio-ecological scales (Norman and Bakker, 2009; Bulkeley, 2005). As a result, environmental governance regimes appear to draw implicitly on notions of borders and boundaries as relatively stable political lines that can be known and governed, potentially neglecting the competing histories, meanings and values constantly under negotiation in borderland environments.

We invite papers that explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of borders, nature, and environmental governance with topics including, but not limited to:

a) New locations of environmental borders: external, internal, and across the state

b) Environmental borders and (im)mobility

c) Participation and cooperation across boundaries: formalization, stakeholders and shared governance

d) Methodological approaches to borderland nature(s): abstract, particular, and transdisciplinary

e) Borders and the persistence of the State: risk calculability, power, territory and identity

f) Borders and performance: everyday practices, bodies, and constructions of difference

g) Theorizing borderland nature(s): processes of bounding, ‘types’ of environmental borders, nonhuman agency in the creation/maintenance of borders

h) Border narratives: competing histories, collective memory and individual experience

i) Borders through time: changing meanings, discourses, practices and manifestations

j) Border-making: frontiers, new territories, and new regions

k) New scales of borderland nature(s): micro, body, watersheds, flyways

l) Borders and (in) The Commons

Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words to Katie Williams ( ) and Ryan Covington ( ) by October 1, 2012.


Interrogating Constructions Of Biodiversity For 21st Century Challenges

The concept of biodiversity is described, measured, and deployed by individuals and entities as diverse as microbial biologists, local communities, global policy makers and corporations. Multiple constructions of biodiversity are evident across and within these communities. As different constructions become institutionalized, differing environmental ethics materialize leading to competing strategies for protection, management and use of biodiversity.

Discursive formations of biodiversity impact policy and practice. This session aims to explore emerging constructions of biodiversity as they are differentially constituted for issues of governance, conservation and political economy. What are the political implications of advances in technology for measuring biodiversity at the sub-molecular scale? Which constructions of biodiversity will be deemed legitimate by the newly formed Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services?

How are discussions of climate change influencing the work of the Convention of Biological Diversity?  How do land managers use the concept of biodiversity to further specific ecological and political aims?

We envision these sessions as contributing to the dialogue developing athe intersection of science, technology and society (STS) and political ecology. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:

– Sites of biodiversity knowledge production

– Interactions between Indigenous, traditional, local and/or scientific knowledges of biodiversity

– Valuation of biodiversity in economic models

– The identification and management of ecosystem services

– Technologies of measurement

– Biodiversity and scale

– Enrollment of concepts of biodiversity by systems of governance


Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Elizabeth Barron: (Harvard University) and Deborah Scott: (Rutgers University) by Friday, September 28. Successful submissions will be contacted by October 7 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 24.


Environmental Management and the Respacing of Livelihoods and Food Security in Sub‐Saharan Africa –Conceptual Thoughts and Methodological Approaches 

Goals of this session:

· Assess the current key research hypotheses, objectives, and theoretical/conceptual framings

· Analyse recent methods used to better assess and conceptualise environmental management and new spatialisations of livelihoods, food security, and attempts to sustain natural resources. These methods may include social science approaches, natural science approaches, modelling and remote sensing/GIS.

· Determine knowledge gaps that need to be filled via future research projects

· Foster methodological cross fertilisation between different research communities

· Case studies with a focus on Sub‐Saharan Africa welcome

Ideas for themes and topics:

Social Science Approaches and Framings

Ø Theoretical and methodological approaches to the respacing of livelihoods, food security and cultures of (non‐)management at the man‐natural environment interface

Ø Case studies on (new) management attempts (or lack thereof) and/or on creative shapings of livelihoods within, e.g., the environment and conservation realm (with a preference for Sub‐Saharan Africa)

Ø Social and Cultural Geographical/Anthropological approaches to understand and assess environmental change perceptions, or conceptualisations of insecurity, risks or disasters, and concepts of environmental management

Ø The social economy and social/ political ecology of environmental stress and food insecurity


Ø Agent based modelling of decisions and (non‐)interventions in the context of environment, conservation, and/or livelihoods (at risk)

Ø Environmental and/or demographic modelling in the context of intervention and management measures

Remote sensing/GIS

Ø Regional/local trends in environmental change, preferably linked to land degradation, conservation issues and/or food (in‐)security

 Session concept:

· Double session – a paper session (5 presentations) followed by a panel session (4 to 5 panellists)

 Interested in contributing?

We greatly appreciate your interest and cordially invite you to present a paper. Please contact Cyrus Samimi or Fred Krueger as soon as possible. We would like to finalise the concept well before the AAG registration deadline. Please e‐mail us Prof. Dr. Cyrus Samimi, University of Vienna Prof. Dr. Fred Krueger, University of Erlangen‐Nuremberg fred.krueger@geographie.uni‐


 Connecting Land Governance and Water Governance

Land and water have often been governed separately. Land use planning decisions, for example, are typically made at the local or municipal scale, while regulations regarding water quality and access are often the jurisdiction of national or sub-national (non-local) governments. Of course, land and water are inextricably linked through physical and material processes; a fact reflected in the recent turn toward more integrated forms of environmental governance. Indeed, a variety of governance reforms including rescaling, integrated planning processes, and environmental review processes often seek to better integrate the governance of terrestrial and aquatic socio-ecological systems. Yet, the ecological, social and cultural dimensions of these governance reforms remain, for the most part, under-theorized.

Key questions related to the turn toward the integration of land and water governance include: What have been or may be the implications of this integration for property regimes, for regulatory processes, for cultural practices, and for environmental governance? What does this integration tell us about the construction of new socio-ecological scales?  How, or is, this integration reflective of broader shifts towards science-based policy and neoliberal forms of environmental governance? And, of course, has meaningful integration (however defined) actually occurred?

We invite papers that explore the theoretical and practical intersections between the governance of land and the governance of water, in urban or rural contexts.  We welcome in particular those papers that examine and theorize how land and water governance regimes intersect, complement, or conflict with one another.

Interested participants should email abstracts to the addresses below by October 1, 2012.

Dr. Alice Cook:, Dr. Cristina Cook:


Unpacking ‘Ethical’ Markets: Academic And Industry Research Methods

In light of geographers’ growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR), ‘consuming for change’, eco-certification, and all manner of ‘ethical’ markets, we propose a paper session focused on discussing and developing the research methods used to account for and untangle these markets. While there have been many important studies of commodity chains and ethical markets in practice, the methods used to investigate and represent these complex phenomena are less often debated and synthesized.  We hope to stimulate a discussion of the methods used in research on the spatial and relational dynamics of all manner of ethical markets.

Papers may address questions such as:

  • How do we track the spaces and relations of ethical markets and evaluate their outcomes?
  • How do we identify and articulate drivers of ethical market creation, diffusion, and   change?
  • (How) can we rank and rate governance systems and participant firms?
  • How can we research and depict the subject formation of ‘ethical consumers’ and analyze expanding ethical market participation?
  •  (How) can methods like participant observation and discourse analysis be employed in this research agenda?
  • How do we collect, evaluate and analyze internet-based data?
  • What ethical challenges do we face as researchers in this research environment?
  • How can critical (feminist, postcolonial) research methods be used in ethical market research?
  • What are the largest challenges we face in fleshing out ethical market networks over space and time?

We welcome submissions from a diversity of sub-disciplines, research sites, and specific ethical markets, and we look forward to sharing ideas about the practical constraints, political implications, and the cross-cutting potential of different methods.

Please send all inquiries and proposed abstracts to Trina Hamilton ( by October 1, 2012.

Organizers: Trina Hamilton, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Roberta Hawkins and Jennifer Silver, Department of Geography, University of Guelph


Rural Out-Migration, Trans-Border Connections, And Environmental Governance  

Rural out-migration undermines traditional livelihoods and structures of rural governance and re-roots them in regional, global, and often trans-border economic networks. These reconfigurations of rural life have important effects on rural environments and the on the environmental management capacity of rural societies, but the connections between migration, land-use, and environmental governance are complex and poorly understood. This session (or sessions) draws together presentations exploring the complex relationships that connect rural out-migration and human-environment interactions.

We invite abstracts and expressions of interest in topics such as these:

– The importance of migration and environmental governance in different regions

– The role of migrants and migrant networks in environmental governance, including traditional institutions, community-based conservation initiatives, environmental service projects etc.

– Agricultural impacts of out-migration, such as the simplification of agricultural systems, the abandonment of resource use traditions, and the loss of agrobiodiversity

– Revegetation, forest transitions, and conservation opportunities related to out-migration

– The influence of migrants’ changed environmental ethics, values and perspectives on environmental management in sending communities

– How migration affects the production and transmission of local environmental knowledge

– Migration and resilience to climate change

– Maps and visualizations of such issues and connections

– Theoretical approaches to the issue, such as the implications of Ostromian commons theory for migration studies

We are interested in hearing analyses of sending and receiving areas in the global North and the South. The above form just a few example lines of inquiry that are needed to build a more complete understanding of how rural out-migration impacts the environmental resources of the villages and regions that people migrate from, and to identify priority areas for future research.

Please send your abstracts and expressions of interest as soon as possible and before October 18 to Dan Klooster 909 748 8642

Session organizers: Dan Klooster (University of Redlands), Jim Robson (University of Manitoba), Leticia Merino (National Autonomous University of Mexico).


Science and the Production of Species

Co-sponsored by the AAG Animal Geographies Specialty Group and the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group.

Scientific frameworks are one of the most influential ways through which we understand and interact with other species. Work in science and technology studies demonstrates that science does not simply describe the world, but engages it, shapes it, and changes it in important ways. Similarly, explorations of the material and symbolic production of nature have long been a key theme of geographic scholarship. In this panel we seek to encourage the growing dialogue between these two broad traditions by highlighting work that explores the multiple ways in which science shapes, and is shaped by other, productions of species. Through what systems of classification, fields of knowledge production, and material practices such as breeding and care are different individuals, races, or species of plants and animals produced? This session encourages critical investigations that explore the spaces, technologies, and rationales through which scientific practices influence and interact with other productions of nature. Be it in laboratories, parks, factories, or farms, where, how, and to what effect do scientific practices influence and interact with other productions of nature? How does scientific knowledge enframe particular species—from bees to mice to pandas—and what does this mean for how they are cared for (or not)? How does scientific work intersect with other forms of production—be they extractive, conservationist, or agricultural? We suspect that investigations that shed light on these questions will cross traditional nature-culture borders as well as theoretical boundaries between (for example) STS, actor-network theory, political ecology, political economy, and animal studies.


Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Elizabeth Hennessy, UNC-Chapel Hill, ( by Monday, October 1.

Successful submissions will be contacted by October 7 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 24.


Politicizing energy consumption

Sponsored by the Energy and Environment Specialty Group, and the Political Geography Specialty Group of the AAG

The dual concerns of climate change and energy scarcity have provided growing public and policy prominence to the drive for reducing household energy demand and increasing the efficiency of energy consumption on a global scale. Much of the initial research work in this domain was aimed at identifying and developing technologies that can help deliver energy efficiency gains in the residential sector. However, it quickly became apparent that various social and cultural issues complicated the take-up of such technologies. Recent years, therefore, have seen the expansion of ‘attitude, behaviour and choice’ approaches towards the implementation of environmental policy in this sphere; in turn, the tenets of such thinking have been increasingly challenged by the ‘social practices’ paradigm, which emphasizes, inter alia, the wider materialities, conditionings and norms that govern energy consumption.

What is missing from many social science debates surrounding energy efficiency and demand reduction, however, is an elaborate conceptualization of energy consumption as a political site and practice. Although underconsumption and its consequences have been given attention in the rather distinct literature on energy poverty, the relationship between consumption, demand reduction and structural inequalities relating to issues such as class, gender and disability, is insufficiently examined. Furthermore, there is a lack of substantive critical scholarship on the inherently political nature of the domestic sphere as an active site of consumption and of socio-material assemblage (Kaika 2000; Day Biehler and Simon 2011). We are therefore proposing a session that will address these lacunae, with papers that could deal with topics such as:

  • The politics of energy vulnerability and energy poverty conceptualized at different scales or across material sites;
  • Energy consumption and political ideologies: how the emphasis on the energy ‘consumer’ allows for articulations of neoliberalism;
  • The political implications of creating ‘choice’ in energy consumption, especially in terms of selecting energy service providers;
  • Demand reduction, responsibility and agency;
  • The politics of the construction of energy needs, entitlements and rights;
  • Justice and energy consumption;
  • Territorialities of home in relation to energy consumption;
  • Intra household dynamics and energy claims;
  • The politics embedded in particular energy-consuming devices and their use;
  • Accounting for non-human nature in the politics of energy consumption;
  • Inequalities in energy consumption: disrupting global North-South binaries about the reasons for underconsumption.

The deadline for submitting abstracts (in line with the AAG’s guidelines, see by the 10th of October 2012. Please send abstracts to

Organizers: Stefan Bouzarovski (University of Birmingham), Conor Harrison (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Rosie Day (University of Birmingham), Matt Huber (Syracuse University)


Feminist Political Ecology of Rivers, Watersheds, Wetlands and Coasts

The degradation of the quality and quantity of freshwater resources is increasingly creating tensions in political debates over water management in localized settings.  It is also leading to strains on livelihoods and social expectations of water users.

As with other natural resources, freshwater use and management are sites for the contestation and reproduction of social difference such as gender, class, race, and caste (Nightingale 2003). Recent work in feminist political ecology challenges the normative gender discourses that permeate environment-development policies and practices in many parts of the world (Geoforum 2011).  Such work has reinvigorated interest in the tensions between gender as a technical fix and more politicized views of gender (Resurrección and Elmhirst 2008) that problematize social and material expectations of water users (O’Reilly 2006).

In this session, we hope to bring together feminist political ecologists and scholars studying contemporary management of rivers, watersheds, wetlands and coastal environments. We wish to explore the relational environment-development debates surrounding surface water management: from the social and political tensions that strain freshwater resources to the material tensions of water use and management that produce gendered outcomes. In particular, we welcome submissions that focus onthe gendered implications of freshwater resources and water management for development policy and practice.

Anyone interested in presenting a paper in this session, please contact the organizers and submit an abstract of up to 250 words to Stephanie and Anne-Marie Hanson: (School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona) by October 1, 2012.

References Cited

Elmhirst, R. (Ed.). (2011). New Feminist Political Ecologies [Special Issue]. Geoforum 42(2), 127-262.

Nightingale, A. (2003). A Feminist in the Forest: Situated Knowledges and Mixing Methods in Natural Resource Management. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 2(1), 77-90.

O’ Reilly, K. (2006). “Traditional” women, “modern” water: Linking gender and commodification in Rajasthan, India.Geoforum, 37(6), 958-972.

Resurreccion, B. P., & Elmhirst, R. (Eds.). (2008). Gender and Natural Resource Management: Livelihoods, Mobility and Interventions. London: Earthscan/ IDRC.


Reclamation, Adjudication, and Restoration: Streams of Power

This session explores the confluence of expertise, technology, and political-economy in the management of rivers, streams, and water rights in the U.S.  Taken together, these papers highlight similarities and differences in water management policies, technologies, and goals across regions (the Southwest, Midwest, and Northeast) and time periods, from the late 1800s to today.  The authors combine political ecology and STS to address questions such as:

• How do the technologies (both material and legal) used to manage, allocate, and control water flow call forth particular types of expertise?
• In what ways do historical technologies of water management, such as dams, irrigation canals, and water law shape current management practices and power relations among water users?
• How do the specific physical and political conditions of different regions produce divergent applications of national water policy?
• Do ecologically-motivated water technologies, such as dam removal and stream restoration, have substantively different political-economic impacts from water managed under primarily economic frameworks?

Organizer: Rebecca Lave (Indiana University, for expressions of interest.


Holistic Landscapes and Complex Ecologies: Moving Beyond Dualisms in Environmental Field Research and Planning.

In recent decades a significant body of research has emerged that seeks to dismantle the dualisms of nature/culture and social/ecological in environmental research (ex. Naveh and Lieberman 1994; Braun and Castree 1998; Whatmore 2001; Swyngedouw 2006). As a result, attitudes in many academic circles now reflect an evolving awareness of the profound interconnections between of the human and non-human components of landscapes and ecosystems. This research and thinking, however, is primarily theoretical, and in much empirical research, as well as conservation planning and practice, nature/culture dualisms remain (often implicitly) intact.

The intention of this paper session is to build upon this theoretical work and gather environmental research from across disciplines and sub-fields that eschews traditional dualisms and embraces the challenge of producing empirical research exploring the wholeness of ecology and humanity.

Possible areas of focus for papers include, but are certainly not limited to:


Urban Ecology

Agricultural Landscapes

Protected Areas

Conservation Management and Practice

Ranching and Pastoral Landscapes

This session seeks to emphasize papers based on field research, and those considering environmental management and planning.

Please send abstracts and inquiries to Russell Hedberg ( by Monday, October 22nd.


Braun, B., and N. Castree eds. 1998. Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium 1st ed. Routledge.

Naveh, Z., and A. S. Lieberman. 1994. Landscape Ecology: Theory and Application 2nd ed. Springer.

Swyngedouw, E. 2006. Circulations and metabolisms:(hybrid) natures and (cyborg) cities. Science as Culture 15 (2):105–121.

Whatmore, S. 2001. Hybrid Geographies: Natures Cultures Spaces 1st ed. Sage Publications Ltd.


Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs): Use, Value & Conservation

Papers are sought that explore Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) – any commodity obtained from the forest that does not require tree harvesting -, use, valuation, and their role in conservation efforts. Global demand increasingly influences harvesting practices, with arguments for use or conservation reflecting protection and/or forest use discourse of the last few decades. We are interested in the variable ways that NTFPs are approached at multiple scales from the local to the global.

Environmental policies have evolved to consider NTFPs as valued parts of the landscape within the last several decades. With the evolution of forest governance toward multi-use incorporating access to NTFPs, how are NTFPs being considered and protected? What are current conservation approaches? Are harvesting practices sustainable? In what ways is scarcity or abundance being considered within harvesting practices?  Resource abundance is variable, sustainable use demands variable policy. How has this variability been incorporated into access policies? Does utilization drive conservation? What are the cultural values versus the market values? What is sustainable harvesting? Is climate change having an impact on abundance or use?

Possible paper topics include: indigenous knowledge and NTFP sustainability; evolution of conservation policies to incorporate NTFPs; NTFPs within climate change policy; scales of utilization; evolution of valuation; changes in regulation; NTFP roles in livelihood security in the North, and more.

Please send all inquiries and abstracts of 250 words to: Christine Mitchell at (Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University) or to Maria Fadiman at (Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University) by October 12th.

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