CfP POLLEN22: Political Ecologies of Zoonosis

Session organizers:

Francis Massé, Northumbria University (main contact)
Brock Bersaglio, University of Birmingham
Charis Enns, University of Manchester


An estimated 60% of known emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, resulting from multispecies interactions. While clearly a public health concern, zoonotic diseases are also intimately connected to socio-ecological change and multispecies interactions. State and non- state actors are increasingly looking to intervene in multispecies interactions – in sectors ranging from wildlife trade to forestry to livestock farming – to reduce zoonotic spillover risks. However, both before and after the immediate moment and site of transmission from nonhuman to human lies a web of political ecological relations that shape zoonotic disease dynamics, spillover risks, vulnerabilities and exposure to illness, and policy responses and interventions.

Political ecology fills a gap in the study of zoonoses by bringing political-economic and other structural dynamics into conversation with existing research on zoonoses, which has often been apolitical. More specifically, political ecology perspectives on zoonosis centre the importance of shifting human-nonhuman relations, broader processes of socio-ecological change and other socio-environmental inequalities in zoonotic disease dynamics, risks and outcomes.

This panel seeks papers that offer political ecologies of zoonosis, including papers that: (1) critically engage with questions concerning how various material and discursive processes drive socio-ecological change to shape zoonotic risk and spillover; (2) aim to understand the differential risks and impacts of zoonoses and responses to zoonoses from intersectional and more-than- human perspectives; and (3) examine how knowledge about zoonotic diseases is produced, implemented, transformed and resisted or ignored.

Contributions to the panel might engage with questions and themes such as the following:

  • What contributions have already been made within political ecology to understandings of zoonotic diseases? How might these be further developed moving forward?
  • How can political ecology add to understanding of the factors that shape exposure, risk and vulnerability to zoonoses? What insights and perspectives from other disciplines might help with this?
  • Are some ecologies, diseases, species and societal groups prioritised in public health responses compared to others during zoonotic outbreaks and what are the implications of this?
  • Who produces knowledge and practices for dealing with zoonotic disease? How are these knowledges taken up, transferred, transformed or ignored and with what implications?
  • How do political ecologies of zoonosis intersect with other public health and environmental justice concerns?
  • Conceptual and empirical examinations of the political-ecological effects of zoonotic outbreaks and/or related responses across species, racial, class, gendered, geographical and other line
  • In-depth case studies of specific diseases, species, processes of environmental change and related practices to further interrogate the politics and ecologies of zoonoses
  • Critical analyses of how the nonhuman is impacted by zoonoses and efforts to mitigate spillover, and also how the nonhuman is enrolled in the development of treatments to infectious disease
  • Political Ecologies of OneHealth

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with 3 keywords to Francis Massé (, Brock Bersaglio ( and Charis Enns ( by 21 January 2022.

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