CAPE Student Paper Award

Deadline: March 1st, 2021


The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group sponsors an annual award to recognize distinguished student research. Candidates may be undergraduates, graduate students, or a recent Ph.D. within a year of their dissertation defense. The student must be a member of AAG-CAPE and the sole author.

Judging criteria include the soundness and creativity of the research design and methodology; validity of conclusions; and writing quality. The paper should not exceed 8,000 words including all components: references, footnotes, abstract, illustrations, tables and any other text. This is a common length required by journals where CAPE members commonly publish. Papers exceeding 8,000 words will not be considered for the award.

A prize of $250 will be awarded for the best paper. Previous awardees have found that the prestige attached to this award has made it easier to attract further funding and scholarly attention. The award will be announced in the Cultural & Political Ecology and AAG newsletters.

A copy of the paper must be submitted by the announced date – typically one month prior to the Annual Conference. Please send the paper as an attachment (PDF format preferred) to the CAPE Vice-Chair. The results will be announced in the Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group Business Meeting at the AAG Annual Conference.

Please contact the CAPE Vice-Chair, Kelly Kay ( with submissions or questions.


2018, Ashley Fent, University of California, Los Angeles Overflow: The Oppositional Life of an Environmental Impact Study in Senegalese Mining Negotiations.

2017, Willie Jamal Wright, University of North Carolina, As Above, So Below: Anti-Black Violence and Environmental Racism.

2016, Lily House-Peters, University of Arizona, Social-Ecological Transformations and Riparian Enclosure: The Production of Spaces of Exclusion and the Uneven Development of Resilience in the Sonoran Borderlands.

2015, Emma Gaalaas Mullaney, Departments of Geography and Women’s Studies, Penn State University Maiz, Desmadre: Social Difference, Biodiversity, and the Creolization of the Anthropocene

2014, Katherine MacDonald, Department of Geography, York University Rupununi Hauntings: Impacts of the Cattle Industry and Road Development in the Guyanese Amazon

2013, Cedar Louis, Department of Geography, University of Hawai’i- Manoa “We plant only cotton to maximize our earnings”: The paradox of food sovereignty in rural Telengana, India

2012, Tim Baird, Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Conservation, Disturbance and Livelihood Diversification in Northern Tanzania

2011, Julian S. Yates, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia Institutional Complexity in Governing the Scalar Politics of Livelihood Adaptation in Rural Nepal

2011, Ellie Andrews, Department of Geography, Penn State University     Landowner Coalitions in the Marcellus Shale: A Political Ecology Perspective

2010, Andrew Roberts, PhD Program in Biology, City University of New York Graduate Center/New York Botanical Garden
The Hillock Depression Complex: illegible landscapes and land use in spatio-temporal context on the Tonle Sap floodplain, Cambodia

2009, Matthew Himley, Department of Geography, Syracuse University
On Method and Metric: The Politics of Assessing Mining’s Environmental Impacts in Andean Peru

2008, Clark L. Gray, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Environment, Land and Rural Out-Migration in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes

2007, Arielle Levine, University of California – Berkeley
Staying Afloat: State Agencies, Local Communities, and International Involvement in Marine Protected Area Management in Zanzibar, Tanzania

2006, Ryan Galt, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Export Farmers’ Responses to U.S. Pesticide Residue Regulations: The Political Ecology of Regulatory Risk, Caution, and Local Interpretations in Costa Rica

2005, Claudia Radel, Clark University
Converging Conservation and Women’s Gender Interests in the Southern Yucatan

2004, Farhana Sultana, University of Minnesota
Water Water Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink: Analyzing the Drinking Water Crisis in Bangladesh

2003, Lydia Breunig, Arizona
Landscapes of Work to Landscapes of Leisure: Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas in the Context of Neoliberalism

2002, David Carr, University of North Carolina
The Event Ecology of Deforestation on the Agricultural Frontier: the Sierra de Lacandón National Park, Guatemala

2001, Paul Laris, Clark University
Fire Dynamics in Mali

2001, Bradley Walters (runner-up), Rutgers University
Human Ecology, Philippine Mangroves

2000, William Moseley, University of Georgia
Globalization, Cotton Production and Poverty-environment Interactions in Mali

2000, Elizabeth Olson, University of Colorado
NGOs in Peru

1999, Thomas Perreault, University of Colorado
Indigenous Organizations and Identity Construction in Ecuadorian Amazonia

1998, Dan Klooster, University of California-Los Angeles
Community Forestry in Mexico

1998, Bjorn Sletto,Kansas
Political Ecology of the Nariva Swamp, Trinidad

1997, Douglas E. Deur, Louisiana State University

1996, Simon Batterbury, Clark University
Planners, or Performers? Agricultural Knowledge in Burkina Faso and Niger

1996, Chris Coggins (runner-up), Louisiana State University
Cultural Ecology, Landscape Ecology, and Nature Conservation in the Southeastern Chinese Uplands

1995, Annmarie Terraciano, University of Wisconsin
Contesting Terrains: Tenure Reform and the Social Dimensions of Land Conflict

1995  Juanita Sundberg (runner-up), University of Texas
NGO Landscapes, Conservation in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Peten, Guatemala

1991 Robert Kuhlken, Louisiana State University
Settin’ the Woods on Fire: The Cultural Ecology of Rural Incendiarism

1990 Karl Zimmerer, University of North Carolina
Common Field Agriculture in the Central Andes: Struggles Over Production, Space and Ecology in the 16th – 20th Centuries

1990 Tom Whitmore (runner-up), Clark University
Dynamic Systems Modeling in Cultural Ecology