Conference of Interest

Conferences and workshops of interest to political ecologists


When Nature and Numbers (Don’t) Meet—Symposium sponsored by the Holtz Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, April 4-6, 2014

The Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies will host a three-day symposium on the intersections and tensions between sensory or emotive experiences of nature and the bureaucratic, political, and scientific quantification of the environment. Scholarly work from humanities and social science perspectives, and topics on a broad range of time periods and geographies, are welcome. We are especially interested in reflexive moments when numbers become lived experience; moments of cooptation when quantification appropriates the language of experience; and moments of resistance when the mismatch between experience and quantification overwhelms the discussion. Potential research questions include:

  How is nature defined and valued, and for or by whom?

  How have sensory and emotive experiences of the environment been translated into numerical or monetary terms, and are there examples of the reverse phenomenon?

  When and why have environmentalists adopted numbers or monetary values for conservation ends, and what are the trade-offs of this approach compared to, for example, arguments for the intrinsic value(s) of nature?

  Who has determined the correspondence between qualitative and quantitative measures of value? How? To what end?

  How have the values societies ascribe to nature changed over time, how are social and political conflicts over these values adjudicated, and what has been the role of scientific expertise?

If you have a project that deals with these questions, or similar ones, we encourage you to submit a 250-word abstract and 1-page CV byNovember 14, 2013. Submissions from persons at any stage in their career are welcome, and some travel assistance will be available for graduate students and low-income scholars. Please plan to precirculate a paper of about 15 pages for discussion at the symposium, and to give a short presentation to the group on your topic. Our goal is to foster conversations and extend work at the intersection of environmental studies, environmental history, history of science, science and technology studies, and cultural history.

Should you have any questions, please contact symposium organizers Kristoffer Whitney, Postdoctoral Fellow, Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies, or Melanie Kiechle, Assistant Professor of History, Virginia Tech. Both can be reached at

Deadline for presentation/paper proposals is November 14; applicants will be notified as to acceptance by December 13, and expected to confirm their participation by January 17, 2014. Proposals may be submitted


20th Annual Critical Geography Conference

University of Colorado, Boulder
February 21-23, 2014
“Difference, Diversity, Critique: A Peoples’ Geography for the Future”
Three decades ago, David Harvey called upon geographers to “build a popular geography, free from prejudice but reflective of real conflicts and contradictions, capable also of opening new channels for communication and common understanding.”  Harvey’s call captures the sentiment and approach of much of the work done under the banner of “critical geography” in the intervening years.  That work has certainly transformed the discipline, driving efforts to expand the range of topics and methods employed by geographers.  And yet there remains, undeniably, considerable work to do.


How have critical geographers’ engagements with social theory limited the scope of efforts to meet challenges posed by social movements and others outside the academy?  Can social movements generate alternative means of theorizing, taking Geography beyond its Anglophone tradition?  How might geographers engage that potential? How might engagement with these themes further reflection on geography’s reputation as a “white discipline”? What new methods and approaches to doing geography might this entail both in the field and in the academy?

The conference is organized around four themes described in the “Call for Papers” posted online:
1) Geographies Otherwise, 2) The Critical Tradition, Revisited, 3) Decolonizing Methods, and 4) Diversifying Geography.We invite papers and panel submissions as well as proposals for interactive workshops, roundtable discussions, and other performances addressing these themes.  The conference will focus on “geography” but welcomes participation by people from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds.

Abstracts are due December 1, 2013 and can be submitted online at

We look forward to seeing you in Boulder!

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