CfP POLLEN2022: Intersections of Political Ecology and STS: New Perspectives, Potentials, Limitations

Co-conveners:
Ekin Kurtiç – Brandeis University, Crown Center for Middle East Studies
Aybike Alkan – TU Berlin, Institut für Philosophie, Literatur-, Wissenschafts- & Technikgeschichte
Maral Erol – Işık University, Humanities and Social Sciences Department

Session background:

In the last decade, scholarship at the intersection of political ecology and science and technology studies (STS) has been on the rise. The intellectual alignment of these fields of study has materialized as a result of particular shifts in each field, making the overlaps and differences between these fields more visible. While political ecologists have paid increased attention to questions of knowledge production concerning the environment, STS scholars have shown a growing interest in considering the political entanglements of environmental scientific knowledge (Goldman and Turner 2011: 5) and in deepening the incorporation of political economic and geopolitical analyses in their works (Kaşdoğan 2016). Moreover, political ecologists’ expanding interest in the materiality of ecological life has led to a novel interest in concepts and methodologies of STS (Robbins 2011: 76).

This panel discussion aims to revisit the new perspectives, potentials, and limitations revealed through this cross-fertilization at a time of intensifying ecological destruction and resulting injustices and struggles, as well as of expanding attacks on environmental science, especially considering that STS has been blamed for having contributed to the post-truth era and to the suspicions around issues of climate change (Fuller 2016). We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions addressing how the insights of political ecology and STS can inform each other.

The guiding questions include but are not limited to:
● Combining STS and political ecology perspectives, how do we reach a more robust and complex analytical and theoretical approach in understanding environmental change?
● What kind of new perspectives do social studies of scientists and technical experts provide in political ecological inquiries?
● How and to what extent do STS concepts and methodologies engage with ecological justice, equity, and rights – issues that have long been at the center of political ecology?
● How can the political ecology perspective open or foreclose new ways of understanding the politics of and around environmental knowledge production and circulation, particularly regarding climate change?
● What are the potentials and/or limitations of the intersection of political ecology and STS in exploring and contributing to radical, decolonial, and emancipatory ecologies?
● Which socio-ecological themes and topics lend themselves well to and would benefit from a political ecological analysis informed by STS (and vice versa)?

We invite panel presentations that reflect on these questions or any related ones based on empirical research or conceptual reflection. If you want to join our panel session, please send your abstract (max. 250 words) to ekinkurtic@brandeis.edu, maralerol@gmail.com, and aalkan@ku.edu.tr no later than January 26th, 2022. Please include the presentation title, 4-5 keywords, affiliation (if applicable), and contact information in your abstract.

References

Fuller, S. (2016) “Embrace the inner fox: Post-truth as the STS symmetry principle universalized.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. Available at: https://socialepistemology.com/2016/12/25/embrace-the-inner-fox-post-truth-as-the-sts-symmetry-principleuniversalized-steve-fuller/#comments.

Goldman, M. J. and Turner, M. D (2011) “Introduction,” In Knowing nature: conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Goldman, M. J., Nadasdy, P., & Turner, M. D. (Eds.). (2011).. University of Chicago Press.

Kaşdoğan, D. (2016) “In-Between Political Ecology and STS: A Methodological Provocation.” ENTITLE Blog Post: https://entitleblog.org/2016/12/07/in-between-politicalecology-and-sts-a-methodological-provocation/

Robbins, P. (2019). Political ecology: A critical introduction. John Wiley & Sons.

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