AAG Tampa, 2014

To add to this page, please send content to the addresses below.                Material will added promptly.

Patrick Bigger: patrick.bigger [at] uky [dot] edu

Dr. Kerry Grimm: kerry.grimm [at] oregonstate [dot] edu


Call for Papers
 AAG Tampa, April 8 -12, 2014


1. The Fukushima Disaster: Three Years Later

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 triggered a historic nuclear event in Fukushima, Japan. Although the disaster is no longer featured on the front pages of newspapers  – even in Japan – it presents ongoing challenges and no end is in sight. The Fukushima case is a critically important case for a wide range of geographic and related studies. The proposed session provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding of this complex, multifaceted disaster. We invite papers that examine multiple aspects of the Fukushima case as well as lessons from other historical and contemporaneous experiences that may inform our understanding of it. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical geographical and political economic context of the disaster
  • Current status of affected areas in and around Fukushima
  • Spatially and socially differentiated experiences of disaster victims and refugees
  • Decontamination and reconstruction efforts and the challenges associated with them
  • Media treatment and public discourse of the disaster and its aftermath
  • Politics and practices of reconstruction project financing
  • Nuclear power projects and their implications for ethics, labor rights and local development
  • Popular opinions and social movements for and against nuclear energy
  • Experiences of and lessons from other nuclear-related and large-scale disasters
  • International politics and geopolitics of nuclear energy
  • Nuclear power plants as industrial and trade strategies
  • Nuclear power plant projects and public reactions in currently industrializing countries
  • Theoretical and methodological implications and challenges that the nuclear disaster poses to geographic research

Interested participants should contact Dai Yamamoto ( or Noritsugu Fujimoto ( Drafts of abstracts (max. 250 words) are due on October 1, 2013, but you are encouraged to contact us in advance with preliminary interests, ideas and questions about the session. Registration for the conference must be completed via the AAG Annual Meeting online submission portal by October 23, 2013 in order to receive the early bird discount. Final versions of abstracts must be submitted by December 3, 2013 on the official AAG website (

2. Intimate Ecologies of Social Reproduction

Session organizer: Paul Jackson (Dartmouth College)

This session looks to build upon the long history of marxist-feminist debates on social reproduction to explore the more “biological” — fleshy and messy (Katz 2001) — aspects of everyday life through political ecology and its various subfields (urban political ecology, feminist political ecology, and political ecology of health). How is the non-human intimately integrated into social reproduction? Intimacy signals both the politics of close proximity (breathing, eating, toxins, viruses, exchanging fluids) and the emotional relationships with others (love, solidarity, power relations). David Graeber (2012) recently suggested that we recast the concept of social reproduction to be the “production of human beings…producing each other…[that] cannot be reduced to standard categories of political economy.” The notion of human beings producing-each-other reformulates the interconnected spheres of production and reproduction. At the same time this concept helps to make explicit the collective nature of disease, hunger, shelter, knowledge, thirst, technology, and work. As “lively capital” (Sunder Rajan 2012) increasingly mediates these intimate ecologies, what politics are emerging at the intersection of investment and survival?

Both theoretical and empirical studies are welcome. Themes can include, but are not limited to:

  • biological and ecological processes of producing-each-other
  • the ecology closest in
  • toxic environments and environmental justice
  • internalizing the environment (food, pharmaceuticals, breathing, etc)
  • producing intimate urban life
  • survival strategies
  • intimate resources and economies
  • infectious forms of life
  • living with chronic conditions
  • intimate entanglements of production and social reproduction
  • uneven intimate ecologies

I invite potential participants to send their abstracts (300 words) to Paul Jackson ( by October 15th, 2013.

+ Graeber, D (2012) in conversation with David Harvey, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, Against the Grain, May 22nd 2012.

+ Katz, C (2001) Vagabond capitalism and the necessity of social reproduction. Antipode 33: 709–728

+ Pratt, G and Rosner, V (2012) The global and the intimate: feminism in our time. New York: Columbia University Press

+ Sunder Rajan, K (ed.) (2012) Lively capital: biotechnologies, ethics, and governance in global markets. Durham: Duke University Press

3. Sustainability Education: Creating Critical Spaces for a Transformative Future

Organizer: David Meek (Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia)

A key contemporary debate in human geography is how learning processes are innately geographic, and how these practices in turn shape geographic phenomena (see Focus section in Professional Geographer 2013, 65:3). This debate is timely given that *learning* has historically been marginalized within human geography, a fact that is lamentable because learning processes are central to how humans interact with their environment. Yet, as Simandan argues in his introduction to the Professional Geographer’s Focus Section, directing attention to the geography of learning can serve as a “connective tissue” in human geography (2013: 364). In focusing a critical geographic lens on *sustainability*, it becomes clear that the concept is more than a buzzword, but rather a set of ideological principles, political mandates, and economic processes that are creating educational spaces. Yet, in what spaces do individuals, communities, and organizations learn about sustainability? Similarly, how do spaces of education *for* sustainability actually impacts the production *of* sustainable landscapes?

Presenters will provide critical perspectives that illuminate the geographies of sustainability education. Two overarching questions guide the proposed session: 1) What constitutes the geography of sustainability education?, and 2) How does learning about sustainability cause changes in geographic processes and landforms?  Through presentations of original research and a moderated discussion, participants and attendees of this session will engage complex questions concerning the spatiality of sustainability education.

Papers should highlight the economic, political, and ideological forces that drive the creation of spaces for sustainability education. Possible spaces of interest include:

  • The autonomous pedagogical spaces of indigenous and peasant movements
  • Formalized educational arenas from elementary education through graduate institutions
  • Multi-scalar student movements
  • Non-formal, informal, and tacit spaces in which learning about sustainability occurs
  • The campaigns, projects, and institutions of international governmental and non-governmental organizations

This session invites participation of researchers working in a wide variety of contexts in which sustainability education is being advanced, including, but not limited to, public and private universities, international non-governmental organizations, social movements, corporations, and governmental agencies.

Potential participants should send their abstracts (250 words max) to David Meek ( by October 15th, 2013.

4. Political Ecologies of Natural Disasters

Organizer:* Mitul Baruah, Department of Geography, Syracuse University

Rooted originally within a human ecology tradition, hazards research in geography had since advanced significantly, especially after its political ecological turn in the 1980s, weighing heavily on Michael Watts’ and Piers Blaikie’s foundational work on drought and soil erosion respectively. However, within political ecology, hazards and disaster research remains a peripheral theme, even though the vulnerability of our environment is ever increasing with climate change and capital’s rampant transformations of the natural resources. Hence, there are important questions for political ecologists to address. How best can we examine the question of “nature’s materiality” in explaining natural disasters? Has the human ecology tradition lost its relevance entirely or can it be integrated into political ecological study of disasters? In what ways? How do we theorize the role of the state in the production of disasters? What roles do disaster-affected people play in environmental politics? What are the potential ways in which political ecological study of disaster politics can inform geographical scholarship in environmental governance? In what ways are natural disasters an important force in shaping what are called the “new agrarian questions”? Keeping in mind the above questions, this session envisions a critical discussion on hazards and disasters in geographical research and thus a resurgence of this theme in political ecology.

Paper topics could address (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Politics of ‘scale’ in the production of disasters
  • Natural disasters and the vulnerability of rural livelihoods
  • Natural disasters and the ‘new agrarian questions’
  • Disasters in the age of climate change
  • The agency of disaster-affected people and its role in environmental politics
  •  The role of the developmental state in the production of disasters and the hazardous landscapes
  • Natural disasters and the spaces for resistances

Potential participants should send their abstract (no more than 250 words) to Mitul Baruah ( by October 15, 2013.

 5.  Changing Landscapes and Livelihoods in the Amazon Basin

We seek papers for one or more sessions to focus on the changing landscapes and livelihoods of the Amazon region. This region continues to be at the center of global disputes over deforestation, biodiversity loss, indigenous sovereignty, land rights, resource extraction and infrastructure expansion. At the core of these disputes is the relationship between people and the landscape, and we seek papers that explore these issues through a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches.

Potential topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • The social and environmental consequences of infrastructure expansion and natural resource extraction
  • Management of biodiversity, agrodiversity and water resources by local communities
  • Successes and failures of conservation and land use policies
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Changing and contested rights to land and natural resources

If interested, please send your abstract (250 words max) to Clark Gray ( or Christian Abizaid (‎).

6. The End of Peasant Revolutions? Peasant Movements in a Global Corporate World

Organizers: Adrienne Johnson (Graduate School of Geography, Clark University), Alejandro Camargo (Department of Geography, Syracuse University)

In agrarian studies, the 1960s and 1970s signaled the rise of academic literature celebrating what was referred to as the “revolutionary potential of the peasantry.” Informed by the achievements of peasant movements around the world, a number of scholars argued that peasants play a crucial political and economic role in the – structural transformations of the modern world.  Well into the 21st century however, the idea of “revolution” appears to have now faded from discussions on contemporary global peasant movements. How do we account for this change? Is “revolution” no longer a viable possibility/desire in the political agendas of peasant movements? Have systemic societal shifts occurred, thereby satisfying articulated demands from some rural actors?  Are peasant movements today less “ambitious” than those of the 1960s and 1970s? Are contemporary scholars more practical than those of previous decades? How have analytical frameworks shifted? What current socio-economic and political forces exist that constrain, contain, or complicate peasant revolutions? In order to answer these questions, we invite papers that aim to understand the current dynamic geographies of peasant mobilizations, by exploring the political agendas, strategies, and mechanisms deployed by global peasant movements today. We envision this session to be a space for critical discussion on contemporary peasant movements in light of the idea of revolution politics, and against the backdrop of an increasingly mechanized and corporatized world.

Possible topics include:

  • Peasant movements and financial crisis.
  • New alliances and horizontal ties in bringing about peasant mobilization.
  • The importance of ‘scaling up’ or ‘scaling down’ peasant movements.
  • Peasant migration and its relationship to peasant mobilization.
  • Peasant mobilization as a response to environmental, political, economic, and cultural dispossession.
  • Formal and informal spaces of negotiation between peasant movements and other actors such as corporations, states, NGOs, etc.

We invite potential participants to send their abstracts (250 words max) to Adrienne Johnson ( and Alejandro Camargo ( by October 15th, 2013.

7. Risk as Resource

Organizer: Chris Knudson, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

Financialized risk management is a kind of alchemy, turning the dangers to many into the profits of a few. Such transmutation works by imposing order on the worrying uncertainties of our world. At the centre of this process is risk: an entity sought for within nature-society relations, isolated, and refined into a simplified state of the world where losses are appraised, assigned probabilities, and transferred to another’s responsibility. This session will explore the idea that this entity, risk, can be usefully conceptualized as a resource.

Economic geography has long held that resources are made, not given. Within risk management, this dynamic can be seen clearly in the history of insurance, as its scope of concern has widened over the past few millennia from shipping losses to misfortunes as diverse as war, unemployment, divorce, and even pet illness. In recent decades, it is arguably within humanity’s fraught relationship with the environment where the finance industry has seen the greatest risk-resource boom. Just as annuity tables made death itself a tractable risk, so scientific advances, technological developments, and the creation of exotic financial instruments have allowed for profit to be made from the risks of sea-level rise, increasing temperatures, and biodiversity loss.

This session will broadly explore the contours and consequences of making risk into a business opportunity. Possible topics could include:

  • Case studies that look at risk as an input to business, such as health insurance.
  • Critical reflections on the commodification of risk: how the process occurs, examples, and even whether such a process exists.
  • Historical analyses of the increasing privatization of risks, such as in climate change adaptation.
  • Analysis of how capitalism shapes risks into particular forms.

Scholars interested in participating in this session should email abstracts of up to 250 words to Chris Knudson ( by October 1, 2013.

8. Lively Commodities

Organizers: Rosemary Collard (UBC), Jessica Dempsey (University of Victoria), and Jesse Goldstein (CUNY Graduate Center)

With the comparatively recent boom of research and investment in the life sciences there has been an increased commercial and political interest in markets in biological resources as diverse as biodiversity, bioprospecting, and bio-information. Scholars (many of whom are building from Foucault’s conception of biopower) now regularly describe the onset of a new political economic era in which “life itself” has become a key site of capitalist accumulation (i.e Rose 2006; Rajan 2007; Cooper 2008). For these scholars biocapital and bio-economies represent the intensification and proliferation of economic relations into biological life.
Of course life has been for sale for some time, perhaps most notoriously through labor markets, in which lively workers offer employers their capacity to labor in exchange for a wage. But for the aforementioned scholars, “life itself” is neither homogeneous nor historically static, and represents a broader swath of more-than-human living energies.
And yet, we find that there remains considerable vagueness when it comes to making sense of the commodification of lives and liveliness. In this session we will specifically explore “lively commodities.” By this we do not mean dead commodities derived from living things (for instance agricultural commodities like meats, fruits, veggies and grains), nor do we intend to reduce liveliness to the living (human) labor that so clearly undergirds capital’s class dynamic (although we are interested in considering how living labour is a component of the liveliness upon which lively commodities depend). We instead hope to explore the rapid rise of commodities whose value-as-capital is derived specifically from their status as living beings. We refer to these commodities as lively and not living to emphasize that it is not merely being alive that is integral to their being commodities, but also liveliness, which is to say, some active demonstration of being full of life.
Varied modes of life and liveliness are being targeted and produced as commodities. For example, in the exotic pet trade, an individualized, encounterable life is the central commodity: a single parrot that squawks and can be lifted onto a shoulder. Ecosystem service markets – namely ecosystem carbon – revolve, on the other hand, around the commodification of a reproductive, aggregate liveliness: a network of entities (i.e. an ecosystem like a wetland) that demonstrably reproduces itself. This session is dedicated to exploring historical and contemporary bioeconomies and biocapital. We are specifically interested in the commodities produced in and through these economies, or what we are referring to as “lively commodities”: their forms; conditions of production; circulation and consumption (ideological but also processual and material – labour, resources, waste); stakes and consequences (politically, ecologically, ethically, socially); and geographies.
We are especially interested in picking apart the category of “life” that underpins these lively commodities, to consider 1) continuities and discontinuities across time and space; 2) the specific mode, production and appearance of life that generates value; 3) how the bioeconomy or biocapital might be reinforcing or reworking categorical (and hierarchical) distinctions between human and nonhuman life; 4) how these lively economies either complicate, reinforce or redefine our understanding of nature’s production, whether neoliberal or otherwise, especially the old and new violences that attend them.
Organizers: Jessica Dempsey (, Rosemary Collard ( and Jesse Goldstein ( Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words by 11 October. Selected abstracts will be accepted by Oct 18 in order to allow participants to meet the earlybird registration deadline (23 October).

9. Climate justice: interrogating an emergent discourse

Session organizers: Gareth Edwards (University of St Andrews, UK) and Sara Fuller (Macquarie University, Australia)

In both academic and policy circles, climate justice is emerging as an important concept guiding both mitigation and adaptation. While the early academic literature focussed on international and intergenerational questions of distributive justice in the context of intergovernmental climate change negotiations (e.g. Gardiner, 2004; Paavola & Adger, 2006; Parks & Roberts, 2010), more recent engagements have broadened our understanding. This has included research examining climate justice at a range of scales, such as cities (Bulkeley et al., 2013; Steele et al., 2012) geographical or imagined communities (Chatterton et al., 2013; Barrett, 2013) and individuals (Harris, 2010) while also broadening its theoretical bases to include concepts such as participation and recognition. Yet so far these interventions—which have come from disciplines including geography, political science, philosophy, law, development studies and economics—have remained fragmented, even as climate justice has become increasingly prominent in the discursive formulations of social and environmental NGOs and government actors, and has begun entering the mainstream geographical lexicon (Burnham et al., 2013a, 2013b).As a result, a number of research questions remain open for interrogation. Is climate justice merely an extension of environmental justice, as Schlosberg (2013) suggests, or is it something more? What scale should climate justice be pursued at? Which actors are mobilizing climate justice and why? Why has it risen to prominence? And what would climate justice look like if it were achieved? This session seeks to examine these and related questions in order to open up the geographical debate on climate justice and stimulate a more rounded understanding of this important discourse. We are interested in both theoretical and empirical papers which:

  • ·    Develop the theorization of climate justice and its relationship to related bodies of scholarship (e.g. environmental justice, political ecology)
  • ·    Provide evidence of how climate justice is being mobilized in relation to adaptation/mitigation in different geographical contexts
  • ·    Explore the multiple actors and discourses mobilizing climate justice (e.g. NGOs, governments, communities and corporations)
  • ·    Move beyond North/South binaries to develop a more nuanced approach to theorizing and evaluating climate justice, perhaps drawing on notions such as agency, governmentality, uneven development and power

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Gareth Edwards ( Sara Fuller ( by Friday 11thOctober 2013. Accepted submissions will be contacted by Friday 18th October 2013 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by 23rd October 2013 which is the earlybird registration deadline. Please note that conference registration fees must be paid before the online submission of abstracts.


Barrett, S., (2013). ‘The necessity of a multiscalar analysis of climate justice’, Progress in Human Geography 37 (2), pp. 215-233.

Bulkeley, H., Carmin, J., Castán Broto, V., Edwards, G. A. S. and Fuller, S., (2013). ‘Climate justice and global cities: mapping the emerging discourses’,Global Environmental Change forthcoming.

Burnham, M., Radel, C., Ma, Z. and Laudati, A., (2013a). ‘Extending a Geographic Lens Towards Climate Justice, Part 1: Climate Change Characterization and Impacts’, Geography Compass 7 (3), pp. 239-248.

Burnham, M., Radel, C., Ma, Z. and Laudati, A., (2013b). ‘Extending a Geographic Lens Towards Climate Justice, Part 2: Climate Action’, Geography Compass 7 (3), pp. 228-238.

Chatterton, P., Featherstone, D. and Routledge, P., (2013). ‘Articulating Climate Justice in Copenhagen: Antagonism, the Commons, and Solidarity’,Antipode 45 (3), pp. 602-620.

Gardiner, S. M., (2004). ‘Ethics and Global Climate Change’, Ethics 114 (3), pp. 555-600.

Harris, P. G., (2010). ‘Misplaced Ethics of Climate Change: Political vs. Environmental Geography’, Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (2), pp. 215-222.

Paavola, J. and Adger, W. N., (2006). ‘Fair adaptation to climate change’, Ecological Economics 56 (4), pp. 594-609.

Parks, B. C. and Roberts, J. T., (2010). ‘Climate Change, Social Theory and Justice’, Theory, Culture & Society 27 (2-3), pp. 134-166.

Schlosberg, D., (2013). ‘Theorising environmental justice: the expanding sphere of a discourse’, Environmental Politics 22 (1), pp. 37-55.

Steele, W., Maccallum, D., Byrne, J. and Houston, D., (2012). ‘Planning the Climate-just City’, International Planning Studies 17 (1), pp. 67-83.

10. Geophilosophy and the Geo-Social 

Organizers: Elizabeth Johnson and Harlan Morehouse (University of Minnesota) Rory Rowan (Wageningen University)

There is a growing consensus that in the 21st century the planet is no
longer the concern of geologists and climate scientists alone, but that
philosophical and social thought must also increasingly engage with
planetary concerns. Emergent literatures across the social sciences and
humanities are struggling to generate new conceptual frameworks and
research strategies to adequately account for the complex knots that bind
social, geological, biological and technological forces together, as well
as the catastrophic potentials that reside within them (see, for example:
Braun and Whatmore 2010; Clark 2010; Ellsworth et al 2012; Saldanha 2013;
Yusoff 2013; and the special issue of the *Oxford Literary
2012). At the recent RGS-IBG conference in London, Nigel Clark, Arun
Saldanha and Kathryn Yusoff characterized this messy tangle of
anthropogenic and nonhuman forces as the ‘Geo-Social.’ In many ways, this
‘Geo-Social’ can be considered the foundation of geographic scholarship.
However, as many begin to examine the links between social history and
geologic change in the context of Climate Change and the advent of the
Anthropocene, the ‘Geo-Social’ invites a radical reassessment of
fundamental conceptual frameworks across a number of registers – from the
epistemological and ontological to the political and ethical – and a
re-articulation of Geography’s relation to other disciplines. But just as
these issues strain traditional disciplinary boundaries and standard
methodological frameworks, they open the possibility for new forms of
collaborative research stretching across the natural and social sciences
and the humanities, and involving both empirically based work and
speculative thought.

The massive transformations in human-planet relations also raise
fundamental philosophical questions and invite re-evaluations of the
complexity of concrete Geo-Social entanglements: How, for example, do
planetary conditions affect our philosophical frameworks and how do we
frame the Earth philosophically? Thus, in addition to examining the
Geo-Social, we aim to examine Geophilosophy as a form of thought
specifically committed to exploring the relationship between philosophy and
the Earth. Geophilosophy has a rich heritage in modern Continental
Philosophy arguably reaching from Kant and Nietzsche through Deleuze and
Guattari to contemporary thinkers like Elizabeth Grosz (2008), Reza
Negarestani (2011), John Protevi (2013), Michel Serres (2012) and Ben
Woodard (2012). We aim to place Geography at the forefront of this debate
in the belief that its critical traditions and recent efforts in rethinking
human-nonhuman relations can provide crucial insights that deepen
philosophical traction on the world whilst locating disciplinary concerns
at the cutting edge of wider theoretical debates. We particularly seek to
engage with recent attempts in Geography to re-interrogate the ‘geo’ as a
way to engage with planetary questions without re-inscribing the economic
and political over-determinations of ‘globalization.’

These sessions seek to advance conversations begun at the “Anthropocene”
sessions at the 2013 AAG in Los Angeles and the 2013 RGS-IBG by further
exploring the philosophical and empirical implications of the Geo-Social.
We specifically seek papers that address any of the following concerns,
among possible others:

·     What modes of thought are best suited to understanding the matrix of
human and non-human forces that make up the Geo-Social today?  What are the
political stakes of rethinking how we conceive of Geo-Social relations?

·      How might Climate Change and the advent of the Anthropocene affect
the ways in which we conceive of the Earth, and what new philosophical
possibilities might be opened by these developments?

·      What new perspectives can Geography bring to the philosophical
traditions of Geophilosophy – from Kant to Negarestani – and how might it
bear on its future trajectories?

·      What questions and forms of knowledge production – imagined,
emergent, or well established – are needed in the face of an emerging
ecological catastrophe?

·      Do 21st century environmental conditions call for new forms of
experimental research and praxis-based approaches that bridge the physical
and social sciences? How might we develop modes of examination that refuse
the distinction ‘physical or social’ without reinforcing the neoliberal
university’s call for ‘transdisciplinarity’?

·      What is the relationship between existing Geo-Social formations and
histories of capitalism? Beyond the privatization/neoliberalization of
non-human life through carbon markets and ecosystem services, around what
forms of value might post-capitalist Geo-Social formations organize?

Please send inquiries / abstracts of no more than 250 words to by October 5th 2013.

*References: *

Braun. B. and Whatmore, S., editors. (2010). Political Matter:
Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life. Minneapolis, MN: University of
Minnesota Press.

Chakrabarty, D. (2009). The Climate of History: Four Theses. Critical
Inquiry, 39. 197-222.

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

Clark, N., Saldanha, A., and Yusoff, K. editors. (forthcoming 2014).
Capitalism and the Earth. Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books.

Ellsworth E., Kruse, J., and Beatty. editors (2012). Making the Geologic
Now: Repsonses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life. Brooklyn, NY:
Punctum Books.

Grosz, E. (2008). Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the
Earth. New York: Columbia University Press.

Negarestani, R. (2011). Globe of Revolution: An Afterthought on
Geophilosophical Realism. Identities, 17, 25-54.

Protevi, J. (2013). Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Saldanha, A. (2013). Some Principles of Geocommunism. Retrieved from:

Woodward, B. (2013). On an Ungrounded Earth: Towards a New Geophilosophy.
Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books.

Yusoff, K. (2013). Insensible Worlds: Postrelational Ethics, Indeterminacy
and the (K)nots of relating. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space,
31(2), 208–226. doi:10.1068/d17411

11. Operationalizing the geo-energy space

Organizers: Stefan Bouzarovski (University of Manchester), Nazmiye Balta-Ozkan (University of Westminster)

Recent years have seen a resurgence of efforts to provide novel
perspectives on the ways in which nature and society are interlinked via
multiple and vibrant materialities (Bennett 2010). The notion of the
‘geo-social’ has been used to explore some of the connections that can be
identified in this context, emphasizing the need for a new politics of
responsibility and justice. At the same time, the emergence of ‘energy
geographies’ as a distinct disciplinary field is helping foreground new
explanations of the hydrocarbon circulations and consumption practices
that underpin planetary challenges such as climate change and resource

In this session, we hope to connect these two distinct developments in
order to scrutinize the materially contingent nature of contemporary
circulations and assemblages in the energy domain. Following on from Mañé
Estrada (2006) we use the notion of ‘geo-energy space’ to interrogate the
spatial and territorial embeddedness of energy flows. While Mañé Estrada’s
original conceptualization primarily refers to large-scale geopolitical
relations, this session aims to extend the idea to a wider range of
spatial scales and material sites, so as to highlight the diverse ways in
which anthropogenic energy flows are both predicated by, and themselves
shape, the geophysical environment. Papers in the session can include, but
are not limited to:

– Energy landscapes: using the framework to explain relations beyond its
conventional origins – in spaces such as the home, community or
trans-national organisations;
– Low-carbon technologies: how do differences between, for example, urban
and rural locations, account for different social practices and patterns
of energy use (both on the supply side – e.g. microgeneration and off-grid
communities – and in terms of demand: heat pumps, electric vehicles etc.);
– Energy infrastructure: what is the agency of non-human actors in shaping
the evolution of current patterns of energy delivery, as well as new
developments such as unconventional oil and gas exploitation?

Contributions from across the discipline are welcome: We aim to open the
path for the exchange of insights and discussions between different fields
of study. The deadline for submitting abstracts (in line with the AAG’s
guidelines, see
is the 15th of October 2012. Please send abstracts to and

12. Perspectives on Rural Sustainability

Organizer: Lisa Harrington (Kansas State University)

Sustainability is an important concern for a multitude of reasons and at many scales.  Applications of the concept to social-ecological systems (SES) and system components carry through on Geography’s longstanding human-environment tradition, and relate to a number of perspectives.  Rural areas, like the rest of the planet, are undergoing changes and stress in environmental, social, and economic dimensions.  Rural areas also are sources for most natural resources supporting SESs of various types, and are refugia, in a sense, for conservation of less (human-) modified conditions.

In recognition of the importance of rural areas and the many dimensions of change and sustainability concerns, a series of sessions is being organized under the broad them, “Perspectives on Rural Sustainability.”  Perspectives may include, but certainly are not limited to, scale issues (spatial and/or temporal); rural connections with urban locations; focus on various dimensions of sustainability; issues of sustainability and development; policy and political concerns; ecosystem services; environmental footprints; or hazards, risk, and sustainability.  Cosponsoring specialty groups include Human Dimensions of Global Change; Rural Geography; Hazards, Risks, and Disasters; Landscape, and Cultural and Political Ecology SGs.  Both paper and panel sessions are envisioned.

Please contact Lisa Harrington ( with interests, including potential paper title and/or panel topic.  (Please also contact her if interested in non-rural paper or panel content oriented around scale and sustainability.)  Contact as soon as possible for best opportunities, please.

13. Use of Geospatial Techniques and Technology in Water Resource Research

Organizers: Joseph H. Hoover and Gary T. LaVanchy (University of Denver)

Conflicts between nature and society regarding water quality and quantity are increasingly common. Researchers have demonstrated that geospatial technology and methods are useful in the management and analysis of water resource challenges; particularly the modeling and visualization capabilities of these tools. Questions remain, however, regarding the challenges, benefits, and limits of using this technology to aid in the study of water resources. The purpose of this session is to bring together researchers from a variety of academic perspectives and disciplines to discuss the impacts of using geospatial technology and methods to address water resource challenges and conflicts.

Both theoretical and empirical studies are welcome. Topics can include, but are not limited to:

– Water resource management

– Urban environments

– Flood control

– Water quality

– Drinking water

– Environmental health

– Land use influence

– Watershed planning

– Uneven geographies

– Relationships between people and water use

– Emerging methods, data, and analytical approaches

We invite potential participants to notify us ( and of your interest and tentative title by October 18th. The deadline for early bird registration is October 23rd. All abstracts are due by December 3rd.

Sponsored by the Water Resources Specialty Group, the Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group, and the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group.

14. Labour Dynamics of Agrarian Change

Organizers: Lincoln Addison and Matthew Schnurr (Dalhousie University)

How are labour processes reconfigured by contemporary processes of agrarian change?  Recent scholarship problematizes classical understandings of “agrarian transition,” going beyond the question of how capitalism transforms peasant-production systems to encompass broader sources of social and economic change in rural areas. Recent events such as the upsurge in global land grabbing, the expansion of bio-fuel production, the growth of carbon forestry, the implementation of populist agrarian reforms, the introduction of new agricultural biotechnologies and anthropogenic climate change have created new and unanticipated implications for labour processes, forcing scholars to recognize multiple forms of agrarian change that are not entirely reducible to capitalist commodification.

This session aims to explore the consequences of these diverse sources of agrarian change on labour processes. We seek to bring together papers that investigate the kinds of labour regimes that these agrarian transformations give rise to, with a particular focus on how labour is mobilized, disciplined, as well as the implications of these shifting labour dynamics for long-term trajectories of agrarian change. We are particularly interested in papers that respond to one or more of the following questions:

– What are the labour implications of increasingly popular practices such as land grabs and the growth of carbon forestry?
– How does the problem and solution of climate change impinge on labour dynamics?
– How are labour regimes within large-scale and smallholder production shaped by genetically modified crops, biofuel production and other patterns of agricultural intensification?
– What kinds of labour regimes emerge in contemporary forms of contract farming and outgrower schemes?
– In what ways are labour regimes identified in the preceding questions gendered, racialized and/or defined by other sources of social difference?
– How does the study of these shifting labour dynamics inform understandings of the long-term trajectories of agrarian change?

Interested participants are asked to submit a 250 word abstract to both and by October 1st. Early bird registration for the AAG ends on October 23.

15. Mixed Methods and Hybrid Epistemologies in Climate Change Research

Organizers:  Jeff Popke (East Carolina University) and Morey Burnham (Utah State University)

A wide range of commentators are now suggesting that global climate change is best examined as a multiple or hybrid entity, characterized at once by environmental and biophysical materialities and sociocultural knowledge, affect and practice. Climate change has been described as a ‘cosmopolitan’ condition (Hulme 2010), which brings together human and nonhuman entities (Cupples 2012), diverse ways of knowing (Murphy 2011), variable spatialities (Blok 2010) and multiple temporalities (Head et al. 2011).

To develop an account of climate’s hybrid nature, climate change researchers are increasingly bringing together ‘hybrid research collectives’ (Gibson-Graham and Roelvink 2010) and deploying newmethodological frameworks that can account for climate’s ‘ontological multiplicity’ (Lavau 2013; also Lorimer 2013).

In this session, we wish to continue a conversation started in a series of sessions at least year’s AAG, about the ethical and epistemic undertaking of coming to grips with climate change (Jasanoff 2010; Roelvink and Zolkos 2011). We seek contributions examining, from theoretical or empirical perspectives, the opportunities, challenges, and dynamics of approaching climate change from multiple or hybrid epistemological frameworks and/or the use of novel or mixed-methods research design in climate change fieldwork.

Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

* Integrating scientific and post-positivist methodologies in climate change fieldwork

* Mixed methods approaches to climate change vulnerability, adaptation or assessment

* Climate change perception versus the climate record

* Participatory methodology in climate research

* Inter- or trans-disciplinary approaches to climate change

* Variable or mobile cultures of climate change research and policy

* Power/knowledge in climate change communication

* Climate change as a hybrid assemblage or constellation of actor-networks

* Epistemologies of climate change governance or biopolitics

* Climate science and modeling as forms of epistemic power

* Uses of lay climate knowledge or ethnographies of climate change experience

Please send expressions of interest or abstracts to Jeff Popke ( and Morey Burnham ( by Friday, October 18.

There may also be an opportunity for papers to be included in a planned edited collection based around the themes of the session, with draft manuscripts due sometime in the Spring. If you are interested in contributing to this project but are not attending the AAG, please get in touch.


Blok, A. 2010. Topologies of climate change: actor-network theory, relational-scalar analytics, and carbon-market overflows. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28: 896-912.

Cupples, J. 2012. Wild globalization: the biopolitics of climate change and global capitalism on Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast. Antipode 44(1): 10-30.

Gibson-Graham, J. K. and Roelvink, G. 2009. An economic ethics for the Anthropocene. Antipode 41, supplement 1, 320-346.

Head, L., Atchison, J., Gates, A. and Muir, P. 2011. s. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(5): 1089-1108.

Hulme, M. 2010. Cosmopolitan climates. Theory, Culture and Society 27(2-3): 267-276.

Jasanoff, S. 2010. A new climate for society. Theory, Culture and Society 27(2-3): 233-353.

Lavau, S. 2013. Going with the flow: sustainable water management as ontological cleaving. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31: 416-433.

Lorimer, J. 2012. Mulinatural geographies for the Anthropocene. Progress in Human Geography 36(5): 593-612.

Murphy, B. 2011. From interdisciplinary to inter-epistemological approaches: confronting the challenges of intergrated climate change research. The Canadian Geographer 55(4): 490-509.

Roelvink, G. and Zolkos, M. 2011. Climate change as experience of affect. Angelaki 16(4): 43-57.

16. Political Ecology and Race

Session organizers: Richard Milligan and Levi Van Sant (University of Georgia)

This session explores the growing attention among political ecologists to the analysis of race. Though political ecologists have perhaps been slow in taking up the topic, there is now widespread recognition that thinking through questions of race and the environment must not be left to scholars of cultural politics and environmental justice. The politics of nature, as others have argued, are inseparable from the politics of race. This call for papers seeks research taking up the position that race cannot remain a marginal or merely occasional topic in the work of political ecologists. Efforts to develop political ecologies of race have drawn from a wealth of theoretical and disciplinary traditions, and this session invites contributions from the entire range. We welcome proposals for more abstract and theoretical pieces as well as those more grounded in empirical analysis. Possible themes include, but are by no means limited to:

·         Intersections and tensions between environmental justice studies and political ecology

·         Environmental governance as racial formation

·         Biopolitics of resource management and conservation

·         Engaging the racial state through political ecology

·         Materialities of race and environment

·         Identity and difference in environmental struggles

·         Race, nature, and the politics of difference

·         Identity, difference, and their intersection with environmental knowledge

·         Colonialism, race, and environment

·         Whiteness in environmental governance, activism, and scholarship

We are very excited that Laura Pulido and Julie Guthman have agreed to act as discussants. This session is sponsored by the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to both Richard Milligan ( and Levi Van Sant ( by November 1st. Send abstracts by October 15th if you plan to take advantage of early-bird registration, which ends October 23rd.
17. Climate change and uncertainty at the livelihood-landscape nexus in Africa
Organizer: Kim Medley (Miami, OH)
This paper session is being organized by the Africa Specialty Group to compliment the“Geographies of Climate Change” theme proposed for the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.  For the African continent, climate predictions mostly clearly confirm an increase in inter-annual variability and project adaptations to more extreme events that occur with uncertain regularity.  Paper presentations are invited that document climate trends and explore their relationships with landscape resources and the adaptive strategies of human populations at different spatial and temporal scales in Africa.Please contact Kim Medley ( by October 16 if you are interested in participating in this planned paper session.

18. Critical Approaches to Urban Water Governance

Organizers: Michael Finewood (Chatham University) and Ryan Holifield (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
As urban regions grow and transform, water systems present a unique set of challenges to stakeholders. Municipalities often struggle to pay for and maintain aging infrastructure. Strictly engineered (grey infrastructure) approaches, which have historically dominated urban water systems, have come under increasing scrutiny. And as managers face stricter regulations, socio-ecological fragmentation, and a changing climate, they must develop governance systems that are more adaptable and sustainable in the face of uncertainty. Additionally, recent movements to create ‘greener’ and more ‘liveable’ cities (and attract ‘creative class’ demographics) have strongly influenced urban water governance, with demands for more integrated approaches that recreate urban spaces.
This session will provide an opportunity to interrogate recent efforts to govern the urban hydro-social cycle. We seek participants who can bring a critical geographic lens to the evolving desires and strategies for managing water in the city. Our goal is to expand and strengthen our collective knowledge of urban hydrology, how it is managed, and the how we assess the social/material outcomes. We are particularly interested in presentations that stimulate conversations across a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.
Suggested topics/themes include, but are not limited to:
• Justice in the city
• Waste management and treatment
• Stormwater management
• Water quality
• Conflicts over competing visions of urban nature
• Flooding risk and vulnerability
• Green infrastructure perception and utilization
• Sustainable Cities Movement
• Integrated Management
• Environmental History
If you are interested in participating, please send a 250-300 word abstract to Michael Finewood ( by November 8, 2013. Feel free to contact either organizer with questions.
19. Trees in the city: 3rd annual AAG session on urban forest research

Shawn Landry (University of South Florida) and Tenley M. Conway (University of Toronto, Mississauga)

Trees and urban forests are integral components of the urban social and ecological systems of the city. Urban forests provide important environmental, social and economic benefits to local and global communities. 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. Monitoring and management of trees and green spaces has become an important object for government policy, business strategy and academic research. Trees in the city is an AAG session(s) for papers that can be categorized within the very broad subject area of urban forest research.   We invite presentations addressing geographical issues in urban forestry.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Methods for monitoring and mapping trees and the urban forest
  • Analysis of ecological, social, or economic services provided by urban forests
  • Urban forest governance or management strategies
  • Drivers of change and the spatial and temporal dynamics of trees in the city
  • Relationships between people and residential landscapes

If you would like to participate in this session, please notify us (  or of your interest and tentative title by October 15, 2013 (to give us an idea of the topics). The deadline for early bird registration is October 23rd. All abstracts are due by December 3rd.

20. Putting the Sacrifice in Sacrifice Zones
Organizers: Alec Brownlow (DePaul University) and Harold Perkins (Ohio University)

Sacrifice zones are increasingly well-documented, yet persistently under-theorized. Typical accounts of sacrifice zones include industrial, extractive, or military activities that render certain locations dangerous for communities who do not reap the rewards of those damaging activities. Occupants made to suffer are predominantly ethnic and racial minorities, though increasingly there is awareness in environmental justice studies that sacrifice zones are also correlated with lower class white communities, too. While the primary scale at which sacrifice is documented is the region, areas as small as individual urban neighborhoods are also considered sacrificed. Thus sacrifice as a spatial concept includes everything on a scalar continuum from something as large and nebulous as Appalachia to something as small and specific as the Manchester neighborhood in Houston, Texas. A common narrative throughout these varying accounts is the idea that human health and environmental quality in individualized contexts are ‘given up’ for the betterment of some much larger whole, often society or the economy broadly defined. Examples include energy production, jobs, economic expansion, and militarization. These are but a few of the reasons why a ‘few people in some far flung location’ are harmed in the name of ‘progress for everyone’. Certainly these kinds of accounts of sacrifice zones have been crucial to the success of the environmental justice movement and have provided those who study environmental justice in academia much to consider. However, in this paper session we seek to build on these contributions to expand our understanding of the geographies of sacrifice.
Specifically, we are keen to include papers in this session that further theorize the notion of sacrifice in relation to the spatiality of sacrifice zones. Rather than a flat ontology of sacrifice zones as bounded/discreet regions, this session is aimed at elaborating how sacrifice is produced, legitimated, contested, and even de-centered discursively and materially through space and time. In other words, how is sacrifice made spatially explicit through the everyday and extraordinary events that unfold and make up our lives in a predominantly capitalist world. In keeping, we seek papers that push beyond the commonly understood spatialities of sacrifice and in so doing elucidate how the notion of sacrifice pervades our existence and how its specter is imbued in commonsense notions of our world and our place in it. By extension we are interested in papers that explore how the notion of sacrifice is constitutive of, and potentially subversive to, hegemonic socio-political formations under capitalism. Theoretically innovative topics are especially welcome.
Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:
1. Sacrifice and the (laboring, sick, gendered) bodily/family scale
2. Sacrifice and its role in the formation of capitalist hegemony; and/or sacrifice and the struggle toward non-capitalist counter-hegemonies
3. Sacrifice and (social, political, cultural) identity
4. Considerations of sacrifice as a multi-scalar process of production and consumption
5. Labor politics in relation to the concept of sacrifice.
6. The ‘everyday’ in relation to sacrifice/ living in a sacrifice zone
7.  Sacrifice and the exercise of state power (military, economic expansion, etc)
8. Collective versus individualized notions of sacrifice and their political import.
9. Sacrifice in relation to various forms of environmental governance.
10. Sacrifice, sovereignty, and bare life

If you are interested in participating in this session, please notify us ( or of your interest and tentative title as soon as possible, and send an abstract by October 31st. Accepted participants will then be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by to November 15th, 2014 so there is sufficient time to register the session

21.The Place of Sacrifice in Security Discourse and Geography

Organizers: Alec Brownlow (DePaul University) and Harold Perkins (Ohio University)

Sacrifice – of people, places, and things – is part and parcel to security geopolitics. Indeed, to a great degree, we in the west have come to expect security, widely conceptualized, to come with attendant costs. This is, a sacrifice whose destruction or loss, though perhaps publicly bemoaned, is ultimately and tacitly consented to by that same public as appropriate or necessary for the survival or perpetuation of some normatively derived, culturally identifiable and hegemonic “greater good”. Consider, for example, the nuclear ‘sacrifice’ of the U.S. inter-desert west and southwest – its communities, its resources, its landscapes, its social and ecological history – during the Cold War. The destruction by the state of this interior region – identified, labeled, and packaged as a ‘national sacrifice zone’ by the U.S. Department of Defense – was marketed by the state and consented to by a fearful and anxious public as a necessary and acceptable cost to keep the external threats of the Soviet Union and global nuclear holocaust at bay. Security seems, thus, a powerful political and ideological discourse; one that not only can demand and justify sacrifice, loss, and destruction (often at a tremendous spatial scale, human and environmental cost) but, indeed, conditions a culture of consent among the wider public; a consent, that is, to the sacrifice of others if not necessarily a consent to be sacrificed one’s self. Security is a discourse that is both enabled by and dependent upon the exploitation of an imagined community that is itself socially constructed around and motivated by some perceived shared mutual interest or identity (e.g., nationalism, lifestyle, ideology); the consent to sacrifice largely stems from a fear that this interest or identity is vulnerable – a fear fomented by security narratives directly. Insofar as security narratives have multiplied and become increasingly diverse since the end of the Cold War and the global spread of a neoliberal political economy, an exploration into the geopolitics of security and the geographies and spaces of sacrifice is both timely and urgent.
The purpose of this paper session is to more deeply explore and develop theory around the apparent relationship between security and sacrifice and its growing influence over social, political, economic, and environmental geographies at all scales. Our goal is not simply to identify examples of security through sacrifice, but to explore their dialectical tendencies at multiple scales, in diverse contexts, and in all of its socio-spatial complexity. For example:
•       What are the scalar implications for sacrifice under different security narratives and regimes? How, for example, do security discourses at national, global, regional, or urban scales translate into or correspond with the scale of any accompanying or proposed sacrifice?
•       How do security and sacrifice work dialectically to construct scale?
•       What are the nature and the geography of consent to sacrifice? How are these constructed? How are they resisted?
•       How is the security-sacrifice relationship taking shape and/or manifesting itself under different security regimes and narratives – for example, climate security, energy security, environmental security, border security, identity security, etc.?
•       What is the contingent nature of the security-sacrifice relationship across space and over time?
•       How has the security-sacrifice relationship transformed under neoliberalism?
•       What is the institutional structure and identity of respective security discourses and how do these influence the politics and identities of sacrifice?
•       Among different security discourses, how is sacrifice enabled and made legitimate? What identities, communities, and/or sensibilities are appealed to?
•       How are ‘the sacrificed’ determined, framed, and justified? How are they ‘othered’ as appropriate and/or normative sacrificial subjects under different security discourses and regimes?
•       How are the ‘spared’ determined, framed, and justified? How are they positioned, and how do they position themselves, vis-à-vis ‘the sacrificed’?
•       What, who, and where are the normative sacrificial subjects under different security regimes?

If you are interested in participating in this session, please notify us ( or of your interest and tentative title as soon as possible, and send an abstract by October 31st. Accepted participants will then be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by to November 15th, 2014 so there is sufficient time to register the session.

22. (Re)imagining Territory as Political Ecological Process

Organizers: Joel Correia and Eric Lovell (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Territory is the basis for the political-juridical organization of the international state system.  It is one of the fundamental concepts upon which state sovereignty operates and is closely related to the control and management of natural resources, populations, and economic activities.  Yet, territory is also understood as the bundle of meanings, relationships, and histories of social groups to land and place (Rocheleau 2011).  Nevertheless, territory is dynamic and processes of re- and de- territorialization are constantly influencing the dynamics of natural resource management, social action, and economies.  Territory is fundamentally enmeshed in social, political, economic, and environmental relations between diverse human and non-human actors, epistemologies, and space(s).

As a concept and analytic, debates around the formation, salience, and effects of “territory” are again emerging within geography (cf. Agnew 2013, Bryan 2012, Elden 2013, and Murphy 2013).  Much of the debate, however, is taking place in the realm of political geography and is closely tied to the state as the central scalar unit of analysis.  This panel seeks to explore concepts of territory beyond the bounds of the state through critical political ecology.  Political ecology has focused largely on power relations that cross scales, from the international and state level to, local social groups at risk of exclusion, eviction, and conflict, in addition to popular resistance in the form of social movements (cf. Forsyth 2003, Peet, Robbins, and Watts 2010).  While “the state” remains an essential component of the political ecology framework, a broader analysis of ecological processes and local communities distributes the focus beyond the bounds of the state, positioning it as one of many actors involved in social and ecological change.  Paradoxically, political ecologists have largely overlooked “territory.”

Following Rocheleau (2011), this panel suggests that territory as a concept and analytic is underdeveloped within the field of political ecology.  Rather than directly engaging the concept of territory, many works in political ecology employ it as a given category or backdrop and write about the territory(ies) of resource conflicts, social movements, power struggles, and political economy.  What happens when we bring political ecology to bear on territory?  How can we understand and think with territory (as opposed to thinking about territory) as a central component of analyses in political ecology?  What does political ecology have to offer to the analysis and critique of territory, or vice versa?  How can a political ecological approach to territory change our understanding of territory as a process?  What does territory “do” in regards to political ecology?  This panel will explore these questions to critically assess how territory and political ecology “work” together.  We seek papers that engage, but are not limited to, these questions and the possible topics below through empirical case studies or from more theoretical approaches.  Ultimately we seek to start a conversation about (re)imagining territory as political ecological process.  Possible paper topics include:

  • Ecologies of territorial expansion and/or compression
  • Militarism, territory, and ecological processes
  • Epistemological and ontological ‘states’ of territory
  • Protest, trouble-making, and culture-jamming in reclaiming urban territory and ecology
  • Indigenous rights and territory
  • Development and de-/re-territorialization
  • Processes of claiming territory via: conservation; social movements; legal, illegal, and/or extra-legal actions; extending the state and institutions into “marginal” or peripheral spaces
  • Tools of (re)territorialization (mapping, participatory methodologies, etc.)
If you are interested in participating, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to Joel Correia ( or Eric Lovell ( by 12 November 2013.  The discounted registration for the conference ends on 23 October 2013, although conference registration is open until 3 December 2013.  For more information please see

 Agnew, J. A. 2013. Territory, politics, governance. Territory, Politics, Governance, 1, no. 1: 1-4.

Bryan, J. 2012. Rethinking territory: Social justice and neoliberalism in Latin America’s territorial turn. Geography Compass, 6, no. 4: 215-226.  

Elden, S. 2013.  The birth of territory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Forsyth, T. 2003. Critical political ecology: The politics of environmental science. London: Routledge.

Murphy, A. B. 2013. Territory’s continuing allure. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103, no. 5:1212-1226.

Peet, R. and Watts, M. 2004. Liberation ecologies: Environment, development, social movements. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Rocheleau, D. 2011. Rooted networks, webs of relation, and the power of situated science: Bringing the models back down to earth in Zmbrana. In Knowing nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. ed. Mara J. Goldman, Paul Nadasdy, and Matthew D. Turner. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

23. Historical Political Ecology: New Approaches to Resource Conflicts and Coordination in Past Landscapes with Implications for the Present

Organizers: Martha Bell and Karl Zimmerer (Penn St. University)

Historical political ecology has evolved as a powerful framework with significant potential for understanding how environments, resources, and landscapes have intersected with a variety of social, political, economic, cultural, and demographic issues in the past, as well as the implications these intersections have for current-day environmental and resource management.  Two paper sessions and one panel discussion are being organized that explore the historical political ecology approach, broadly defined.

Papers are sought that present case study applications addressing such topics as land, water, and mineral grabs; social-ecological change (e.g., degradation, conservation); climate change; resource use (e.g., conflict, coordination, and re-territorialization); human health; agricultural and food security issues; technological innovations; spatial-cartographic and environmental knowledges; and more.  Papers that examine theoretical or methodological issues of new and recent historical political ecology, including discussion of trends, opportunities, overlap, potential crossover, and/or incongruity with related approaches (e.g., environmental history, historical ecology, historical geography, cultural ecology, etc.) are also welcome.  The sessions seek to explore diverse periods ranging from the (pre)colonial to more recent times, as well as a range of geographic contexts.

Panelists who can comment on historical approaches and methods to the land and resource use issues indicated above will be invited.  Panelists who can discuss the potential implications of historical work for current-day environment/resource management decisions are also being sought.

Please send your paper abstracts of 250 words or less to Martha Bell ( and Karl Zimmerer ( by October 20th, 2013.

24. Urban natures: Infrastructure, ecology, and the ‘resilient’ city

Organizers: Joshua Cousins (University of Michigan), Joshua Newell (University of Michigan), Gregory Simon (U of Colorado-Denver)

As urban regions grow or decline they transform and re-work the nature of cities.  Competing visions, theories and perspectives attempt to characterize the changing nature of cities and how they are assembled and disassembled. Yet, despite the growing interest in urban ecologies little work has empirically brought together diverse and at times competing theories to understand the changing socio-natural landscape of the city.

For this paper session, we encourage diverse perspectives on recent efforts to build resilient citiesgovern urban natures, and re-work urban infrastructures and metabolisms.  We are interested in presentations that stimulate dialogue across a spectrum of theoretical and methodological approaches to the changing nature of cities.  Our goal is to better understand the implications that multiple approaches and perspectives have on our collective knowledge of dynamic urban socio-natures. What is gained and what is lost by embracing epistemological and methodological pluralism as we seek to grasp the changing nature of cities? Following the papers, we will have a discussant reflect on the implications of the varied approaches.

Suggested topics and themes include, but are not limited to:

·         Emergent ‘waves’ of urban political ecology

·         Conceptualizing urban metabolism, metabolic rift, and circulation

·         Theorizing and modeling urban-rural linkages

·         Conflicts over competing visions of urban nature

·         Infrastructure ecology

·         Green infrastructure theory and practice

·         Urban environmental governance

·         Urbanization and global environmental change

·         Resilient and sustainable cities

·         Urban ecology and landscape urbanism

·         Urban systems and ecosystem services

·         Emerging forms and practices of urban agriculture

·         Urban techno-natures

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Joshua Cousins ( or Joshua Newell ( by Friday, November 8, 2013. Earlier is better to ensure a paper presentation slot!

25. Science, Politics and Conflict in Aquatic Environments: From Restoration to Intervention?

Organizers: Chris Sneddon (Department of Geography/Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College), Frank Magilligan (Department of Geography, Dartmouth College), and Coleen Fox (Department of Geography, Dartmouth College)

As government agencies and environmental organizations, in the United States and elsewhere, have moved ahead with efforts to repair or restore altered and degraded aquatic environments over the past several decades, these initiatives have met with a perhaps surprising degree of conflict emanating from a variety of community-based social actors. These conflicts over “restoration” of aquatic environments raise a host of interrelated questions ranging from the ontological and epistemological (e.g., what counts as “nature” and who gets to define it) to the political and economic (e.g., who pays for restoration and whose voices are heard in the process). Meanwhile, such questions are also reflected in recent debates within the ecological sciences over the continuing efficacy of conventional approaches to restoration ecology and conservation biology., and have fueled growing interest in intervention ecology. Proponents of this “new ecology” recognize the salience if not dominance of human drivers of ecological transformation—within a planetary time period increasingly characterized as the Anthropocene—and argue the need for a fundamental re-thinking of how science (typically construed as natural science) contributes to debates over human-environment relations. Conflicts over repair or restoration of (or intervention in) ecological systems also intersect with recent debates in geography over the politics of scale, the political ecology of the cultural landscape, and how to understand science-technology-nature dynamics.

We are particularly interested in theoretical- or empirically-driven papers dealing with the following themes related struggles over restoration/intervention in aquatic environments:

·      river/riparian restoration/intervention (including dam removals, wetland interventions and similar processes);

·      the role of scientific knowledge and technical expertise in generating, mitigating or exacerbating conflicts over restoration/intervention;

·      how place-based meanings and values influence these conflicts;

·      novel conceptual understandings of ecological conflicts and/or ecological restoration/intervention;

·      understanding the role that scale-making projects play within conflicts over restoration/intervention.

We are hoping for a wide theoretical and geographical range of submissions including (potentially) case studies from all parts of the world where the restoration of or interventions in wetlands, lakes, rivers and other water bodies is being contemplated, debated and carried out. Registration for the conference must be completed via the AAG Annual Meeting online submission portal by October 23, 2013 in order to receive the early bird discount on registration fees. Given this, please send us an abstract or paper idea—along with your registration PIN for the paper—by the latest on Monday, 21 February 2013 to We will extend the deadline in line with AAG registration deadlines if necessary.

26. Arendtian Geographies

Organizer: Daanish Mustafa (King’s College, London)

In this panel we consider the hitherto neglected application of Hannah Arendt’s political theory by human geography. Indeed, the potential of this theory—with its concern for togetherness and plurality—lies in its ability to unite discussions on space and spatiality around the imperative felt to produce and defend a public sphere as a site for humans’ communication, performance of politics and mutual understanding. In this sense the task at hand both takes cues and departs from critical geographical research oriented around a goal of human emancipation. As such, we argue that Arendtian theory suggests ongoing communication in the public sphere as a necessary precondition for realization of our full humanity in diversity. We apply this recognition to themes including geopolitics, terrorism and resistance to pathological state and non-state violence.

Organizer and Chair 

Daanish Mustafa
Reader in Politics and Environment
Department of Geography
King’s College, London

27. (Re)examining “regional” political ecologies: Theory, utility, and applications

Organizers: Colleen Hiner (Texas State) and  Innisfree McKinnon (Oregon)

In 1987 Blaikie and Brookfield theorized a regional political ecology approach, recognizing both the unique character of particular places as well as the larger scale processes which influence local context. While acknowledging the specificity of place, a regional political ecology approach allows for attention to and analysis of larger scale processes occurring in a given locale. As the field of political ecology developed, it both burgeoned and diversified. In response, Walker (2003), looking back to Blaikie and Brookfield, proposed that a regional approach to political ecology could provide a coherent framework for an increasingly fragmented field of study.

In addition to the first-world/third-world divide examined by Walker, the field has more recently developed an increasingly pervasive rural/urban split. These divides are not simply spatial, but also frequently reflect ontological and epistemological differences among scholars. Moreover, the field remains largely and resolutely focused on individual case studies, which can be difficult to generalize across. As a result, numerous scholars have taken up the call for a regional political ecology approach, recognizing that examining the role of global and regional pressures and influences enriches our understanding of the local and facilitates comparison across cases.

This session proposes to reexamine the potential for a regional political ecology framework, as suggested by Blaikie and Brookfield in 1987 and Walker in 2003. Although we are especially interested in how to move beyond deeply problematic binaries such as rural/urban and developing/developed world, the topical focus of our session(s) is open. Papers for this session might: take a regional political ecology approach and/or examine its utility; seek to define regions of study for a case or cases; address theoretical questions of scale or networks; or identify and trace global or regional processes as they play out at the local scale.

In addition, we anticipate paper sessions taking place in conjunction with a panel session wherein we will discuss questions such as: What constitutes a regional approach? How does such a regional approach help us to make sense of individual cases? What progress has been made towards the development of regional political ecologies? Is a regional approach useful given recent theoretical work questioning the conceptual utility of concepts such as region and scale?

If you would like to participate in a paper session (or in the panel discussion), please send an abstract of 250 words or less to Colleen Hiner ( and Innisfree McKinnon ( byNovember 8, 2013. In your correspondence, please also include your PIN, which you will receive upon registering for the conference through the AAG Annual Meeting online portal.

28. Politics of Peri-urban Land

Session Organizers: Gerda Wekerle and Donald Leffers (York University)

Land use changes in peri-urban areas are dramatic and political processes that are often accompanied by conflict. These conflicts arise in the context of the changing role of governance and the state, hegemonic constructions of economic growth, tensions between use and exchange value, and diverse constructions of land, property, place, and nature. Although conflicts are often framed as specific siting issues (e.g. the location of wind farms, landfills, energy projects, quarries, etc.), they can also be understood more broadly as contestations over transformations of land use. In peri-urban areas, land use conflicts often emerge in response to resource-based project proposals and nature conservation initiatives. They challenge housing and infrastructure development, water takings and wind farm sitings.

Proposals for land use change are increasingly contested by citizen activists and social movements at various scales. New regulatory and governance frameworks seek to address alternate claims. Competing discursive strategies vie to shape the form and content of policies. In some places, this has resulted in alternative and innovative policy processes and policy implementation. There is new attention to land development, property, and property developers and owners.

We are anticipating sessions that aim to develop a broader understanding and critical reflection that moves beyond site-specific or sectoral case study analyses to address cross-cutting theoretical and policy frameworks that connect land use conflicts in per-urban areas. We encourage participants to focus on the politics of land in the peri-urban from a range of theoretical perspectives, including political ecology and political economy, institutionalism, interpretive policy analysis, social movements, strategic stakeholder negotiation, and governance and planning. Within the above frameworks, specific emphases of presentations may focus on the politics of planning and governance, developers, development and housing, property, social movement mobilization, First Nations’ land claims, politics of extractive industries and land, land grabs, and the politics of farmland preservation.

Please submit a 250 word abstract by October 28, 2013 to Gerda Wekerle (, Faculty of Environmental Studies, and Donald Leffers (, Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, Canada.

29. Place as Material-Semiotic Phenomenon

Organizer: Benjamin Haywood (University of South Carolina)

Celebrated writer and environmentalist Rachel Carson once noted that phenomenological interactions with the natural environment  provide the foundation for our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors about nature, however defined. Even earlier,  Aldo Leopold championed the notion that places must be experienced via sensory connection in order to fully understand them. Within the field of geography, the phenomenological geographers Edward Relph and Yi-Fu Tuan first inspired a tradition of multi-sensory ‘place-based’ scholarship that has since expanded into multiple geographic sub-fields and other allied disciplines. Tuan asserts that more particular than space, place is linked to life histories, social processes, and individual experiences grounded in networks of place-based sensations. Such interactions between humans and the physical landscape in which they engage are deeply phenomenological, informed by individual background and experiences, multi-scalar socio-political processes, as well as the unique character of the landscapes and non-human actors that assemble within space. This paper session will bring together scholars who explore the formation and evolution of place as a material-semiotic phenomena as well as the socio-ecological impacts that ‘sense of place’ has on material structures, social networks and systems, and individual attitudes and behaviors.  Scholars who focus on the cognitive, conative, or affective aspects of place are welcome, as well as those that utilize a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives to explore the topic. Potential themes may include:

  • everyday “lived experiences” of place
  • place attachment and meaning
  • place as actor-network or relational assemblage
  • place as resource and in resource geographies
  • sense of place and intersections with the nonhuman and animal words
  • sense of place and concepts of nature, environmental attitudes and behaviors, and environmental justice
  • Interconnections among sense of place and aspects of religion and spirituality, identity, culture, race, gender, and sexuality.

This paper session is sponsored by the Cultural Geography, Environmental Perception and Behavior Geography, and Animal Geography specialty groups. Those interested in participating should send paper title, author name/s and contact information, and a 250-word abstract to Benjamin Haywood ( by Monday Nov. 11th.  Submissions accepted for the session will be notified shortly after Nov. 11th and will be expected to register and submit respective abstracts by the registration and submission deadline of December 3rd. 

30. Networks of environmental governance

Organizers: Anita Milman (UMASS) and Deborah Cheng (UCLA)

Environmental governance is marked by the participation of a constellation of actors — including various levels of the state, communities, businesses, and NGOs — in the production of knowledge, decision making, and outcomes (Lemos and Agrawal, 2006). With the rise of the network society (Castells, 2000), environmental governance has transcended traditional boundaries and divides. For instance, social media tools such as Google Crisis Response are now being used to create a post-disaster infrastructure of relief. At the same time, more conventional forms of governance are deeply rooted in history and continue to persist, sometimes evolving into more complex and entangled beings. The ways in which socio-environmental actors are networked and institutionalized have critical implications for policy and action.
This session aims to bring together theoretical, empirical, and methodological work on the networks that constitute various modes of environmental governance. Topics may include but are not limited to the following:
  • New and old architectures of environmental networks (e.g. transnational, hierarchical, decentralized, polycentric, multi-scalar)
  • Historical legacies and the evolution of environmental networks
  • Methods for disentangling complex environmental systems
  • Inter-network interactions, or the lack thereof (connections and silos)
  • Formal and informal networks, and modes of institutionalization
  • The implications of complex systems of environmental management on policy, action, justice, and citizenship

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Anita Milman ( and Deborah Cheng ( by November 15th.

31. Race, Biopolitics, and the Future

Session organizers: Pavithra Vasudevan and Sara Smith (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
How does racism function in our biopolitical times? This session invites reflection upon the future of race through the framework of biopolitics. What is the role of anticipatory thinking in the biopolitics of white supremacy? How can futurity, and the “tropes of uncertainty, Utopia, apocalypse, prophesy, hope, fear, possibility and potentiality,” push forward our understanding of the work of race-biopolitics (Baldwin 2012: 172)? Predictions of a non-white majority in the United States by 2043 have instigated conversations in the popular and social media that reflect deep-seated racial anxieties with headlines proclaiming “Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States” (Morello and Mellnik 2012). Biological theories of racism are gaining newfound credence in scientific and corporate discourses resonant with longer eugenic histories (Roberts 2011). While emergent research in epigenetics holds the potential for explaining biological difference as an effect, rather than a cause of racism (Kuzawa and Sweet 2009; Guthman 2012), applications of this ‘new’ understanding of biology may serve to reify structural racism by embodying race as inherent to bodies of color (Mansfield 2012).
Underlying these structural and discursive shifts are anticipations and anxieties about the future, raising the political stakes and moral imperative to prepare, respond and hope (Adams et al. 2009; Braun 2007; Cole and Durham 2008; Edelman 2004; Gilmore 2007; Kobayashi 2004; Pulido 2012). How are life and death managed in a fast-changing scientific and technological world? How do biopolitical re-articulations complicate the conflicting and ongoing conversations about race as a social construction or biological reality? What ruptures and disarticulations may be leveraged for political possibility? Are these changes in fact reinstituting and reproducing existing structures and processes of racism, through new scientific-eugenic programs or structures of risk management (eg. Hayes 2012 on ‘techno-eugenics arms race’ or Mitchell 2010 on pre-Black futures)? What theories are helpful to think through race & biopolitics? What are their limits?
We hope to explore these questions and themes in an interactive format. We invite creative, theoretical and empirical papers inspired by (not limited to) any of the following:
– environmental justice and toxicity
– demography and population
– children and youth
– (social) reproduction
– afrofuturism
– cartographic imaginaries
– new technologies and biosciences
– ecocriticism
– queer studies
– biological citizenship
– fantasy and speculative fiction
– agency, resistance and social movements
– popular and social media
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Sara Smith ( and Pavithra Vasudevan ( by Oct 20, 2013. Feel free to contact us with questions about the session.
Adams, Vincanne, Michelle Murphy, and Adele E. Clarke. 2009. “Anticipation: Technoscience, life, affect, temporality.” Subjectivity 28: 246-265.
Baldwin, Andrew. 2012. “Whiteness and futurity: Towards a research agenda.” Progress in Human Geography 36(2): 172-187.
Braun, Bruce. 2007. “Biopolitics and the molecularization of life.” Cultural Geographies 14:6-28.
Cole, Jennifer and Deborah Durham. 2008. Figuring the future: globalization and the temporalities of children and youth. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.
Edelman, Lee. 2004. No future: Queer theory and the death drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2007. “What is to be done.” Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley: University of California. 241-248.
Guthman, Julie. 2012. “Doing justice to bodies? Reflections on food justice, race, and biology.” Antipode. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01017.x
Hayes, Richard. 2012. “Our biopolitical future: Four scenarios,” in Ahmed S. Khan (Ed). Nanotechnology: Ethical and Social Implications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 207-220.
Kobayashi, Audrey, 2004. “Anti-racist feminism in geography: an agenda for social action.” In Lise Nelson and Joni Seager (eds) The Companion to Feminist Geography, New York: Routledge. Pp. 32-40.
Kuzawa, Christopher W., and Elizabeth Sweet. 2009. “Epigenetics and the embodiment of race: developmental origins of US racial disparities in cardiovascular health.” American Journal of Human Biology 21:2-15.
Mansfield, Becky. 2012. “Race and the new epigenetic biopolitics of environmental health.” BioSocieties7: 352-372.
Mitchell, Katharyne. 2010. “Pre-Black Futures.” Antipode 41: 239-261.
Morello, Carol and Ted Mellnik. 2012. “Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States.”Washington Post. May 17.
Pulido, Laura. 2012. “The future is now: Climate change and environmental justice.” Social Text: Periscope. January 27.
 Roberts, Dorothy. 2011. Fatal invention: how science, politics, and big business re-create race in the twenty-first century. The New Press.
32. Cultivating Bodies: Learning, Feeling, Doing

Organizers: Ursula Lang (University of Minnesota) & Dr. Rebecca Sandover (University of Exeter)
‘There is no such thing as a natural body. Bodies are cultivated all the way through. There is no such thing as nature, there is cultivation.’ – Annemarie Mol (2013)
Mol argues practices of cultivation are central in the formation of bodies. Despite its power as a universal, ‘the body’ is always situated somewhere, and always cultivated. These perspectives resonate with recent work in geography, adding to conceptions of both cultivation and bodies with long and rich histories. Cultivation has often been conceived in terms of agriculture and vegetation, understood as the activities of raising crops, preparing soil, sowing seeds – altering land in the service of production. Cultivation has also been centrally bound up with hegemonic drives to civilize, tame, dominate, master. A focus on the intersection of cultivation and bodies allows for an exploration of how subjectivities are formed, taking into account situated geographies. The incorporation and affects on bodies (both human and nonhuman) of these cultivating practices raise questions about the possibilities and constraints embedded within encounters of matters. By investigating the processes of bodily cultivation, the barriers between matters may be reconfigured through concepts of assemblage, encounter, rhythm and relational flow.
In this session, we seek papers exploring the intersection of cultivation and bodies, each broadly conceived. How do these intersections take particular shapes and formations? What are the implications for thinking about material politics?
We welcome a wide range of projects, whether the emphasis is on empirical findings and/or conceptually-oriented explorations.
Possible themes and lines of inquiry might include:
– Processes of learning through human/nonhuman encounter
– Exterior-interior traversing of matters through bodies
– Everyday spaces of cultivation
– Empowerment through bodily learning
– Gardening bodies
– Cultivating particular socialities
– Cultivating temporalities / Temporal cultivations
– Feeling bodies / Feeding bodies
– Eating bodies
– Growing bodies
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Ursula Lang ( and Rebecca Sandover ( Nov. 8th. If you are interested in participating as discussant, please be in touch.
33. Geographies of Comic Books and Graphic NovelsOrganizers: Kacy McKinney (Middlebury College) and Courtney Donovan (San Francisco State University)The graphic novels and comics are an increasingly popular genres combining art and written work, which are used by journalists, fiction and nonfiction writers, artists, and academics. These genres present new and exciting ways of understanding and representing space, place, and scale. Across many sub-disciplines geographers have begun to examine and use comics and graphic novels as important cultural artefacts in their everyday practice. In this respect, geographers have turned to comics and graphic novels as pedagogical and methodological tools. In addition, geographers have also used these genres, known generally as sequential art, to capture field and other intimate experiences. Researchers’ use of comics and graphic novels cuts across a number of geographic areas, including political geography, cultural geography, geography and gender, and health geography. The broad application of this medium attests to it being an inherently spatial medium. Yet the interrogation of comics and graphic novels as the crux of critical analysis has been limited.We seek presenters who draw from comics and graphic novels in their work. Through this session, we seek to open up an extended discussion about how sequential art can be used in geographic practice.Topics include, but are not limited to:Pedagogy and sequential art
Methodology and sequential art
Graphic memoir
Innovative uses of sequential art
Theorizing sequential art
Visualization and sequential art
Stories of field research and academic reflexivityPlease contact either Kacy McKinney ( or Courtney Donovan ( by November 15 if you are interested in being part of the session, have any questions for us, or would like more information generally about the session(s).

34. Tracing Asian Green Urbanism in a Global ContextOrganizers: I-Chun Catherine Chang (University of Minnesota, US) and Sofia Shwayri (Seoul National University, South Korea)The past two decades have seen an explosion of green urban projects, large and small across the globe. While rooted in North American and Western European traditions, green urban initiatives are now mushrooming in Asia. These initiatives and practices are diverse, encompassing community-based eco-towns in Japan; government-led national programs of building new green cities in China, South Korea and United Arabic Emirates; and smart city and housing innovations in Singapore, as well as a budding sustainable city movement in India. They span spatial scales, encompassing smaller initiatives like roof gardening and community recycling to larger scale undertakings such as retrofitting aging urban districts or building entire cities from scratch, involving public and private actors, local and non-local agencies, in all forms of partnerships. Particularly intriguing are Asian green projects that have entered the broader knowledge circuits of different planning traditions, flagged as sustainable urban developments across different geographical regions. Chief among them are Singapore’s green urban projects, China’s Sino-Singapore Tianjin eco-city, Japan’s Kitakyushu Smart Community Project and South Korea’s Songdo ubiquitous eco-city. Through their domestic and international circulation, Asian green urban practices challenge existing Western paradigms of urban sustainability.However, scholarly understanding of the circulation of Asian green urban practices across different geographical locales and scales remains limited, as are the studies that focus on micro-practices of sustainability that expose particular histories and geographies of contexts within which these ideas emerge, flourish and take root, shaping the immediate and distant. Much effort has been directed towards researching transnational circuits of urban knowledge and planning models for economic development, housing and infrastructure projects, and much less on studying the mobility of green urbanism and sustainability ideas, policies and projects of the global South and East, both within the region and beyond. Deserving further examination are questions exploring the contexts, means and agents of inter-referencing of Asian green projects or studies that attempt to understand Asian cities as incubators for sustainable projects and nodes where green urbanism practices mutate.Inspired by the recent IJURR symposium (vol 37, issue 5, 2013) on planning histories and practices of circulating urban knowledge, we would like to invite papers that critically reflect on the travel of green urbanism ideas, policies and practice within Asia and beyond. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:1. Green urbanism ideas, projects and practices that either ‘traveled’ from elsewhere to or originate in Asia, and are shaped by specific local contexts;2. Tracing ‘traveled’ histories of particular concepts, actors and institutions that facilitate the transference;

3. Micro-histories and contemporary circulation of green urbanism projects that shed light on urban development processes and modes of governance;

4. Histories of failed transfers of ideas, practices and projects;

5. Convergence, contestation, integration or re-assembling between Asia’s emerging green urbanism paradigms and those developed in the Western World;

6. Relocalization of Asian green urban ideas and practices in new places.

Interested participants are invited to submit their paper title, abstract (no more than 250 words) and Presenter Identification Number (PIN) to session organizers at I-Chun Catherine Chang ( and Sofia Shwayri ( ) by November 27th. Authors need to submit paper abstract first through the AAG website to obtain the PIN. Guidelines for preparing abstracts are available at:

Please be reminded that although AAG has an early-bird registration deadline on October 23rd, participants can register for the annual meeting until December 3th.

35. Institutional Governance of Climate Change AdaptationOrganizers: Samuel Tang (King’s College London, UK) and James Porter (University of Leeds, UK)Better science, better decisions, right? Billions has been spent on climate science improving its resolution, complexity and predictive power under that assumption. But do businesses (and decision-makers) always put science before profit, continuity or regulatory requirements? Apply it without pushing an agenda? Or even use it at all? Recent work reveals how science, and its use, are institutionally shaped and situated (Demeritt & Nobert 2011; Porter & Demeritt 2012). That is, focusing too narrowly on the technical merits of climate tools (Rayner et al 2005) or efforts to foster interaction (Lemos et al 2012), ignores the social, political and economic realities faced by those working in the public and private sector when making decisions. Adhering to regulatory standards (Charlton & Arnell 2011), yielding to consumer demands (Hoffman & Woody 2008), or responding to competition from rivals, are just a few of the reasons businesses and stakeholders adapt. Where “evidence” fits into this process is unclear, especially given the uncertain and controversial nature of climate science (Beck 2012). Yet these institutional drivers often get overshadowed, despite explaining why particular sources of climate information get prioritised, and in turn, how they come to be used.This session seeks a critical engagement with the institutional governance of climate change adaptation by focusing on how adaptation policies are shaped, framed and ultimately implemented. Specifically, what conceptual approaches and governance mechanisms are most influential and why; what challenges/benefits do different scales of governance present; and how, or to what extent, is climate science used as decision support. Experiences and challenges faced by different actors, working under different regulatory regimes, in different countries, will be showcased to understand how climate change adaptation is being governed. Accepting that changes to our climate are unavoidable, and adaptation is needed now to create a “climate-ready society” (Defra 2013); points to the crucial role of geographers, STS scholars, and political scientists in uncovering how the governance of climate change adaptation (policies, tools, decisions) has developed thus far and where we are heading next. We therefore invite papers interested in (though not limited to) the following topics:1. Trace how the institutional governance of climate adaptation is theorized and applied (e.g., resistance, resilience, risk management, greenwashing and branding). Are actors concerned about the risk of climate change or its reputational repercussions?2. Explore what role climate science, climate information, and/or climate services play (or not) in adaptation planning, investment and contingency decisions?3. Provide evidence of the role different mechanisms of governance have in encouraging adaptation to climate change (e.g., mandatory versus voluntary instruments, market-based mechanisms).4. Discuss how adaptation has developed in different geographical contexts, such as timescale, level and domain (e.g., short- versus long-term planning horizons, local versus regional versus national versus global, private versus public sector).

Abstracts of no more than 250 words must be sent to both Samuel Tang ( and James Porter ( byFriday 15th November 2013. For conference information, see:


Beck, S. (2012). Between tribalism and trust: The IPCC under the “public microscope”, Nature and Culture, 7(2), pp. 151-173.

Charlton, M. B., and Arnell, N. W. (2011). Adapting to climate change impacts on water resources in England – an assessment of draft Water Resources Management plans. Global Environmental Change, 21 (1). pp. 238-248.

Demeritt, D., and Nobert, S. (2011). Responding to early flood warning in the European Union. In C.O. Meyer & C. De Franco (eds.) Forecasting, Warning, and Transnational Risks: Is Prevention Possible? London: Palgrave, pp. 127-147.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). (2013). The National Adaptation Programme: Making the country resilient to a changing climate. Available from: Date accessed: 20th September 2013.

Lemos, M. C., Kirchhoff, C., and Ramparasad, V. (2012). Narrowing the Climate Information Usability Gap. Nature Climate Change, 2, 11, pp 789-794.

Porter, J., and Demeritt, D. (2012). Flood risk management, mapping and planning: the institutional politics of decision-support in England. Environment and Planning A, 44, pp. 2359-2378.

Rayner, S., Lach, D., and Ingram, H., (2005) Weather forecasts are for wimps: Why water resource managers do not use climate forecasts. Climatic Change, 69, pp. 197-227.

36. American Rurals

Organizer: Cheryl Morse (University of Vermont)

The ‘rural’ has been approached from many directions in recent decades: as construction, performance, identity, and everyday lived experience.  While  scholarly work has highlighted the diversity of ‘rurals’, North American popular culture-through reality television shows, films, and country music, especially-portrays a homogenous  rural culture stretching from the bayous of Louisiana to maritime Canada and the mountains of Alaska.  As the North American population urbanizes, pop culture seems to have a growing fascination with rurality.  This session seeks to interrogate contemporary imaginations of the rural and survey how they are expressed, contested, or co-opted by communities located across rural North America.  In the process, we may recuperate sensitivity to regional diversity, and identify social, environmental or cultural processes that thread through American rural experience.

Paper topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Rural performance
  • Identity production and the rural
  • Rural landscape use, perception, and production
  • New cultural expressions in rural places
  • Rural ideals(s) and rural anti-ideal(s)
  • Race, ethnicity, class, age and gender and rurality
  • New migration, back-to-the-land, and outmigration processes
  • Material studies of the countryside
  • Tourism, environment, rural narratives, and experience

Please send abstracts (250 words maximum) to Cheryl Morse ( by November 1, 2013.  Paper selection will be confirmed by November 4.

37. Economies of Death: Economic logics of killable life and grievable death

Organizers: Patricia Lopez and Kathryn Gillespie (Geography, University of Washington)

How and why are certain lives and bodies made killable and certain deaths made grievable? What does a close analysis of death in various contexts uncover about political economic processes and the violence or erasures involved in these social relations? What can particular case studies of death in the framework of grievability and killability contribute to a theory of economies of death? This paper session is interested in taking “economies of death” beyond death studies as encompassed by hospice care, tissues economies, organ markets, and bereavement, toward a broader conceptualization of how the valuations of bodies and places are written through an economic logic. How does this economic logic make certain lives and deaths matter more than others? How can conversations across sub-disciplines within geography and beyond illuminate insights that respond to these kinds of questions?

Judith Butler’s work aims to disentangle “what counts as a livable life and a grievable death” (2004, xv) in relation to American foreign policy as she asks us to think about the way different lives are valued or devalued. Donna Haraway observes that certain lives (animal lives, in particular) are ‘made killable’ by their positioning in social hierarchies of dominance (e.g., Haraway 2007). In this vein, we start with the premise that grievability and killability are governed closely by the economic logics that work to obscure important moral frameworks and ethical social relations.  As geographers, we are in a unique position to uncover the nuanced ways in which these processes of making grievable and killable are repetitive and knowable, even as they are particular in their contextualization. In this, we seek papers that explore the possible pathways opened by thinking through economies of death, beyond legally codified relations and political ends into a social ontology that “demand[s] and enable[s] response, not bare calculation or ranking” (Haraway 2009, 116). Thus, we are also interested in exploring a moral framework that confronts the hierarchy of lives and deaths and its embeddedness within political economic processes of production, consumption, extraction, foreign policy, etc.

We hope to bring together a wide range of case studies in this session to give a more grounded theory of economies of death uncovering how this theory does not exist in isolation – that it might be taken up, applied, and grounded across multiple boundaries (of location, ‘race,’ class, gender, species). By framing this session around such varied case studies, we are seeking to open up a conversation between sub-disciplines within geography (and beyond) to examine the ways that localized economies of death show a specificity that is politically and ethically engaged. And while we don’t want to lose the specificity of a close analysis of one place or entity, we do want to engage in a knowledge-making practice and the construction of a theoretical framework that can be taken up and understood in more varied contexts.

Topics may include (but are certainly not limited to):

The commodification of the body over the lifecourse – how this varies depending on ‘race,’ class, gender, location, species;

The politics of incarceration and capital punishment;

Transitional spaces of living and dying (e.g., immigration processing and detention centers, livestock auction yards, and refugee and IDP camps)

Technologies employed in spaces of war, occupation, and sanction which operate to calculate approximations of a perceived balance between ‘common good’ and ‘necessary evil’ (i.e., ‘collateral damage’)

The commodification of life which lends itself to such enactments (and subsequent erasures) of human and animal slavery, the slaughtering and rendering of animal bodies, the disappearances of women across the globe, etc.;

The death of ecological landscapes through processes of natural resource extraction and climate change;

The differential practices of the disposal of dead bodies – both animal and human;

The representation and sensationalization of death and (some) dead bodies in art, literature, and popular media (to include movies, social media, news, etc.)

Abstract submissions: Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words to Patricia Lopez ( and Kathryn Gillespie ( by November 4, 2013.

38. Engaged Scholarship in Critical Geography: Theory, Practice and Pedagogy

Session Organizers: Tracey Osborne (University of Arizona) and Benjamin Gardner (University of Washington Bothell)

Debates about the relevance, application, and radical nature of geography have been around since the late 1960s early 1970s. However, multiple and interconnected crises – financial, ecological, social – have compelled some critical geographers more recently to engage in various forms of public scholarship and practice. This represents a shift from engaging policy makers to engaging a broader public, and requires a new type of critical pedagogy and practice to train activist-scholars and public intellectuals. Such scholarship furthers critical analyses of geographical issues and aims to contribute to building a new and more equitable society. This work is often multi-sited, and aims to build relationships across the boundaries of the academy and society. We are interested in intellectual and scholar-activist projects that explicitly question the politics of participation and reciprocity.

We are organizing two paper sessions and one panel discussion on engaged (public) scholarship in critical geography. The paper sessions and panel seek to explore praxis, or theoretically-informed engagement as a strategy for justice and social change. The paper sessions will address (1) theoretically- informed practice, (2) critical pedagogy (including methods). The sessions will highlight various institutional efforts such as the Public Political Ecology Lab at the University of Arizona, the Certificate for Public Scholarship at the University of Washington, and various projects sponsored by the Antipode Foundation including their scholar-activist scholarship. The panel will offer a broader discussion of opportunities and challenges of public/engaged scholarship.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send abstracts to Tracey Osborne ( Benjamin Gardner (gardnerb@uw.eduby November 12th.

ReminderEarly bird registration has been extended until Dec 2.

37. The Role of Environment in and after the Arab Spring

Organizers: Nurcan Atalan Helicke, (Skidmore College, Environmental Studies Program) and Kyle Evered (Michigan State University, Department of Geography)

The Middle East and North Africa region has gone through series environmental and social changes. Its population has risen from below 50 million a century ago to over 325 million by the end of 2000s (Tolba and Saab 2008). Natural resources have dwindled, due to development patterns which were largely unsustainable. Besides issues that the region has traditionally faced, such as water quality and quantity, societies have started to face new environmental challenges, from air quality to waste, from urbanization to biosafety of biotechnology products. In most cases, policies were overwhelmingly sets of provisional short-term measures, meant to tackle momentary challenges rather than engage in long-term planning. Since the beginning of Arab Spring, scholars have discussed the role of the environment in the current social protests sweeping the region from Tunisia to Yemen, from Egypt to Turkey, analyzing the role of food security, water scarcity, pollution and urbanization to understand the tensions over land, water and food. Social movements such as the Arab Spring provide a physical and conceptual space for the voicing of collective traumas and alter the framework for addressing social and environmental injustice from a technical development-based perspective to a human-rights based approach. In this session, we aim to analyze five broad categories that lie at the heart of contemporary social movements in the Middle East and North Africa region:

1. How are environmental conditions in the region changing? What are the links between environmental conditions and social movements?

2. Why is environment a significant issue to the Middle East and North Africa region?

3. What is being done about it? How is society responding to the issues through public and private initiatives?

4. Are the measures taken to limit environmental degradation and deterioration of ecosystems enough?

5. How do the social, cultural and political factors affect environmental social movements in this region?

We welcome contributions from scholars who examine issues including, but not limited to, water quality, climate change, food safety, urbanization, waste management, biotechnology and conservation from the perspective of environmental education, environmental legislation, environmental impact of wars and conflict, environmental scientific research and financing of environmental programs.

We plan to organize two sessions followed by a panel discussion.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to by 22 November 2013.

38. Methodology Issues at Sites of Resource Booms
Organizers: Katherine MacDonald, Sara Jackson, Ryan Hackett (Department of Geography, York University)

Fieldwork involves a negotiation of complex relations, interests, situations, and logistics.  However, sites of resource booms often include the additional challenges of rapid socio-economic, environmental, and institutional changes, contributing to even more complicated, emotionally charged, and potentially dangerous research conditions.  The need to review the politics of knowledge and inquiry used by most research frameworks and their associated power imbalances has been repeatedly called for within geography literature (Katz, 1994; Kobayashi, 1994; de Leeuwet al., 2012; Koster et al., 2012).  We would like to narrow the focus of this call to focus upon the specific challenges of fieldwork methodology at sites of resource booms.

Key questions we invite panelists to consider include:

  1. How does the restructuring of social relationships at sites of resource booms affect researcher-community relations within resource communities?
  2. How do changing institutional policies create conflicting priorities between and within stakeholders, particularly in locations where institutional roles often overlap?
  3. How does researcher positionality (gender, ethnic background, language ability, advocacy positions) create challenges within sensitive research communities?
  4. How do power relations between researchers and research participants and even between research participants themselves create methodological issues?
  5. How do researchers overcome these challenges and how does this enrich debates on methodology issues related to working with vulnerable communities?
  6. How do researcher financial constraints impact studies, particularly those in remote or difficult to access areas where costs are often extremely high?

Suggestions include, but are not limited to issues such as:

  • Research fatigue (community or researcher)
  • Researcher positioning – relationships between research and politics, power issues, self-reflection
  • Research ethics and conflicts
  • Accountability – to whom? (especially for junior scholars – to the university for satisfaction of degree/employment/tenure requirements vs. to the community for advocacy needs)
  • Gendered risks of fieldwork
  • Indigenous perspectives
  • Researching corporate and state institutions in extractive economies

We look forward to organizing panelists interested in exploring these, and possibly other themes related to methodology issues at sites of resource booms at the Tampa Bay AAG meeting, April 8thto 12th, 2014.

We would like to have a paper session followed by a discussion panel.  If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send us your abstract. If you are interested in participating on the discussion panel, please send us a brief summary of what you would like to discuss.

Please register for the conference, upload your abstract if participating in the paper session, and send us a copy with your PIN for consideration by no later than November 30, 2013.

Please cc to, and


39. The Reconfigured Socio-Nature in Urban Sustainability Projects 

Organizers: Federico Cugurullo (King’s College London, UK) and I-Chun Catherine Chang (University of Minnesota, US)

Over the last couple of decades, the concept of sustainability has been increasingly integrated into urban planning theories and practices. Following visions of cities in harmony with nature, urban sustainability projects have been implemented into various forms across the world, ranging from large-scale master-planned eco-cities, green transportation systems and waste control facilities, to small-scale community gardens, green spaces and smart houses. Regardless of their varying construction scales, these projects all reconfigure the juxtaposition between natural environment and built environment, and our relationship with the urban nature.

While there is abundant research on the ideas, discourses and strategies underpinning contemporary sustainable urban projects, less effort has been devoted to the understanding of how these projects reconfigure nature-society relationships and with what environmental, social and economic effects. Much is unclear about how the reconfigured socio-nature works in the new spaces produced by sustainable urban projects. For example, what are the changes in hydrologic cycles, eco-systems, and thermal flows as a result of sustainable urban projects? And how do the projects connect to pre-existing socio-economic inequalities and create new winners and losers in sustainable development? Further investigation into the urban socio-natural landscapes of contemporary sustainability projects is much needed.

In this session, we would like to invite papers that critically engage with the interrelations between the natural environment and the built environment underlying contemporary urban sustainability projects, and/or with the socio-economic and environmental changes tied to such interrelations. Papers with substantial empirical research are particularly welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The imagination and realization of (urban) nature in the planning and architectural practices of urban sustainability projects;

2. The urban ecology of urban sustainability projects, particularly changes in the physical environments and eco-systems;

3. The interrelations between natural environment and built environment in contemporary urban sustainability projects;

4. The political ecology of such interrelations that produce, and are reproduced by, sustainable urban spaces.

Interested participants are invited to submit their paper title, abstract (no more than 250 words) and Presenter Identification Number (PIN) to session organizers at Federico Cugurullo ( and I-Chun Catherine Chang ( by December 1, 2013. Authors need to submit paper abstract first through the AAG website to obtain the PIN. Guidelines for preparing abstracts are available at: