PhD Course: Debating (Rural) Development and the Environment across the global North and South

*** Extended deadline to apply for the following course: August 15 (but please let us know ASAP if you are interested to attend)

Ph.D. course, Debating (Rural) Development and the Environment across the global North and South (5 credits) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. The entire course period will be August 19 – September 6 with half day classes to be held from September 2– 6 in Uppsala, Sweden. The rest of the time is for reading and writing on your own. The course will  

  • Discuss key debates on development in the global North and South, with particular attention to issues relating to the environment.
  • Through a comparative north-south approach, the course will focus on how rural development practice has evolved over the past half century and the conceptual underpinnings of these shifts, while providing students tools to undertake a critical analysis of how rural development functions in practice.
  • We will discuss theories and trajectories of development. The issues discussed include modernization and the will to improve, the role of the state, civil society and development organizations, governmentality, the institutional turn and the turn to markets, finance, management and good governance, global development regimes and feminist critiques.

 An important part of the course is for you to be able to develop your thinking in your area of study and to be able to discuss that with the lecturers. In order to facilitate that, and to tailor the course to you as participants, you need to send a one pager description of your work/research and a few lines on what you would like to get from the course. To apply, please email this to Harry Fischer ( and copy Seema Arora Jonsson (  Deadline to register is August 15.  Course organiser and teacher: Seema Arora Jonsson, Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Teachers: Harry Fischer, Adam Pain

Call for papers: Slow Violence and Environment at the International Sociological Association forum conference in Porto Allegre- Brazil in 14-18 July 2020

Session organiser: Saad Amira, University of Basel, Urban Studies Department

The forum’s overarching theme is : Challenges of the 21st Century: Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Internationality. This session is titles Eco-Politics of Israeli Settler Colonialism, Palestinian Neo-Patrimonial Politics of Corruption and Every Day Forms of Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank and falls under the following theme: Human Rights and Global Justice. Kindly note that any abstracts of relevance to the field of Slow Violence and Environment, which might tackle other settings than Palestine are welcomed. 

Abstracts due: 30th of September 2019

Kindly check the link below for more information on the content of the session :
The Slow Violence of Israeli Settler-Colonialism and the Political Ecology of Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank

This research uses the concept of ‘slow violence ‘ in a Palestinian village to explore the political ecology of the Israeli settlers-colonial paradigm, and its relationship to the politics of corruption of a curtailed neo-patrimonial entity, namely the  Palestinian Authority. Slow violence is violence that manifests gradually and often invisibly, in contrast to spectacular violence that more frequently garners media and political attention. My research explores and maps out the structure of slow violence in Palestine, where the “de-development” politics of the Palestinian National Authority and the Israeli settler-colonial enterprise converge. It addresses a significant scholarly gap in that attention to these issues focus almost exclusively on violence as a spectacle, overlooking the centrality of nature as a productive political and developmental space in settler colonial discourse and practice. Here I focus on three aspects of the slow violence of settler colonialism and its relationship to political ecology: the unleashing of wild boars into Palestinian villages; the uprooting of olive trees and continuous destruction of other crops; and the relocation of Israeli toxic waste industries to the West Bank, which includes the dumping of settlement waste onto Palestinian villages. All these practices transform the meanings of security and stability for Palestinians,  as notions of Patriarchal (de)development reduce Palestinian politics of liberation into politics of corruption, perpetuating it as the only paradigm of Palestinian Political agency .

Call for papers: “The Future of Forever Chemicals? Citizen Participation and Rising Awareness of PFAS and Related Contamination in a Time of Deregulation”

Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting

March 17 – 21 2020 in Albuquerque, NM

There has recently been a great rise in public awareness over the health effects of exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – often called “Forever Chemicals” because they do not degrade in the environment and persistently remain and accumulate in the human body. Nearly five thousand of these industrial chemicals have been used for decades in the production of a vast range of products. Exposure to these toxins has been potentially linked to kidney and liver disease, certain cancers, and numerous other serious conditions. There is much concern over PFAS in drinking water systems and, more recently, in our food supply.

A growing number of states are moving to enact strict standards limiting PFAS contamination. In response to pressure, the EPA and the FDA have taken steps to address the widespread presence of PFAS in drinking water and food. The CDC and other agencies are working to better understand health risks. This summer has seen a proliferation of news stories on PFAS contamination and community responses to protect themselves.

This session will consider the significance of the growing concern over contamination from PFAS and related toxic chemicals:  How is this public awareness being translated into action? How are applied anthropologists participating in these efforts?

Two of the papers will discuss public response and environmental activism in eastern North Carolina after revelations two years ago that a Chemours (Dupont) plant had been releasing GenX fluoroethers into the Cape Fear River for at least a decade. The river is the source of drinking water for more 300,000 people. 

We seek 3 or 4 papers from researchers working in similar settings where communities are confronting chemical contamination in their water and food supply through activism, citizen science, lawsuits, and/or media campaigns. Questions the papers might address include:

What strategies are organizers using to raise public awareness and form effective coalitions and partnerships?

How are they engaging policy-makers and state agencies to hold polluting industries accountable? 

What challenges do groups face in this period of deregulation of environmental protection and science denial?

What are the “environmental justice” dimensions of race, socioeconomic status, and other structural factors in the political ecology of chemical contamination?

How are medical and environmental testing results perceived and challenged by effected communities?

How does the ubiquitous presence of “forever chemicals” in the products of daily life influence risk perception? 

Does this moment of PFAS awareness have broader implications in the public and political discourse on environmental protection? 

Organizer:  Dr. William L. Alexander, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Anthropology Department Chair, University of North Carolina Wilmington

For consideration, please send a 100-word paper abstract and short bio to

All preliminary inquiries are welcome. 

Political ecology fieldwork with a toddler: a personal account

Dr Jessica Hope, University of Bristol

Jessica Hope is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and Chair of the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG) of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Her research spans human geography, development studies and political ecology and addresses questions of socio-environmental change in response to climate change. Her current project, funded by an RGS Environment & Sustainability Grant, investigates reiterations of sustainable development in Bolivia, as promoted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Momentum is gathering behind bids to make academia more diverse and equal. Part of this is about better recognising care responsibilities, which for me personally is about childcare. Since having my two year old, I have been increasingly involved in work to better recognise the challenges facing academics with children, for example how to negotiate career breaks or do fieldwork. In this blog, however, I want to write a personal and positive account of how good fieldwork with children can be, when well supported. I hope that this offers some support and encouragement for those wondering what they can manage or ask for and that it contributes to widening conversations about academic lives. 

I have now been to Bolivia twice with my child. First, during my maternity leave when she was 9 months old (for 2 months) and secondly, in April when she was two (for a month). Both trips were great and I would deem them a success, both in terms of collecting data and as family time. In this brief blog, I’ll focus on the most recent trip and write about three key things – being supported economically; the practicalities of travel with a toddler; and the positives for my child. 

This recent trip with my duaghter was much more relaxed than the first, in terms of feeling able to spend my funding on childcare costs. I have a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship at the University of Bristol and these come with £5,000 research funds per year. This money is for my project and I secured approval to use some of it to pay for my daughters travel costs and those of my sister, who left her life in Berlin for a month to help me with Evie. Following conversations at the RGS and within DARG, this time around I felt much more justified in asking for (and spending) money on Bella and my daughters trip. The first important part of this was that I could choose the best care arrangements for my child. Bolivian childcare infrastructure is not ideal for an English-speaking foreigner, especially one moving between three fieldsites whilst there. Settling young children into nurseries is also no small thing wherever you are and the thought of putting Evie in a new nursery each week filled me with dread (I will, however, put her into a nursery when I go on fieldwork to Canada later in the year). Instead, the worries about having my toddler with me in Bolivia (and leaving her whilst I worked) was greatly reduced because she was with my sister – someone we both know and love. The second important part of being supported economically stems from uprooting Bella and my daughters lives for a month. It was a big deal for them to come to Bolivia for me but what helped make this a positive and happy time for us, and not just a productive time for me, was that I had the funding to cover our costs and live securely and happily whilst there. 

For this short tip, I went to 3 field sites and carefully planned for heat, mosquitos and altitude. In terms of practicalities, my big take home point from doing fieldwork with Evie is book an apartment. Being stuck in a tiny hotel room made our first trip stressful and strange upon arrival. However, this time we had space. We could keep to my daughters routines, we could cook and, most importantly, we had a lovely home environment in each place. We could put my daughter to bed and have time to ourselves before going to sleep (20 minutes later) and our apartments offered some breathing space from all the newness and work (for everyone). Finally, I want it in print that I got strong. Really strong. I took one big hold-all for me and my child. I had a dictaphone, a tripod, my phone, some notepads and about 2 outfits. The rest of the bag was filled with stickers, books, soft toys and the clothes she needed for both the heat of the lowlands and the cold of La Paz. The bag was akin to a small garden shed. In addition to carrying a shed, I had a buggy and, ofcourse, a toddler. She was amazing during the trip but often wanted carried when in a bus station or busy airport at night. I couldn’t refuse and so would find myself carrying a huge bag and a toddler, up and down the Andes. In case my sister reads this, I should also come clean that option two was that I had the child and a smaller bag, whilst Bella carried everything else and pushed the buggy (thanks Bella). 

I want to end by saying that this trip has scored high, in terms of lovely time spent with my sister and child. Some of our evenings together were magic – playing games, making masks or (endlessly) sticking stickers. I loved our breakfasts – sat together eating porridge before heading out on our separate adventures. My daughter missed her Dad (and he missed her terribly) but apart from that, I think it was a really positive experience for her. She experienced new places and worlds, she realised more about different languages and sounds. She tried new foods. She is definitely more confident as a result (not so good when she’s happy to run off at a busy market) but, most importantly, as the trip went on all that was different became less strange and more normal for her and it feels like her world has widened. 

The concerns of the young protesters are justified: A statement by Scientists for Future concerning the protests for more climate protection

The full text can be found here. In March 2019, German-speaking scientists and scholars calling themselves Scientists for Future, published a statement in support of the youth protesters in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Fridays for Future, Klimastreik/Climate Strike), verifying the scientific evidence that the youth protestors refer to. In this article, they provide the full text of the statement, including the list of supporting facts (in both English and German) as well as an analysis of the results and impacts of the statement. Furthermore, they reflect on the challenges for scientists and scholars who feel a dual responsibility: on the one hand, to remain independent and politically neutral, and, on the other hand, to inform and warn societies of the dangers that lie ahead.

POLLEN newsletter: July/August

Dear POLLEN members and friends (with apologies for X-posting),

Greetings and welcome to a new POLLEN update. A mid-summer newsletter for some, and a mid-winter newsletter for others! We are happy to have received such a great number of interesting new publications and opportunities, which have been inspiring for us to read. We hope everyone enjoys reading this month’s newsletter and we thank everyone who sent us contributions.

A pdf version of the newsletter can be found here.


The organizing committee of the Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) will soon be circulating a call for proposals for organized sessions, workshops and exhibitions for next POLLEN conference (#POLLEN20). The conference, titled Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration, will be held in Brighton, UK on 24-26 June 2020, hosted by the ESRC STEPS Centre (IDS/SPRU, University of Sussex) and The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Secretariat, and Radical Futures at the University of Brighton, with support from the BIOSEC project and SIID at the University of Sheffield. For inquiries about co-hosting or getting involved, please email


Eco(in)movilismo. Movilidad urbana e inmovilismo cultural. By Massimo Paolini

Why no change? Sustainable development, extractivism and the environment in Bolivia by Jessica Hope

From our friends at Entitle:

Pupils at the forefront: the school-work interchange on climate change between university and high school in Naples by Maria Federica Palestino, Simona Quagliano and Elena Vetromile

Why ‘Game of Thrones’ was about ecomodernism by Chris Giotitsas & Vasilis Kostakis

What is “good practice” in academia? By Bregje van Veelen, Richard Lane & Laura Tozer

Open letter to the President of Colombia denouncing threats and murder of social leaders // Carta abierta al Presidente de Colombia denunciando amenazas y asesinatos a lideres sociales

From PERC in New Zealand (where it is mid-winter) is a blog post detailing Dr. Trisia Farrelly’s time at the UNWRAPPED conference in the US, which bought together top researchers in ecotoxicology and food packaging with leaders of international advocacy groups to discuss the latest findings on food and beverage contamination from plastic packaging:


Andreucci, D. and Engel-Di Mauro, S., 2019. Capitalism, Socialism and the Challenge of Degrowth: Introduction to the Symposium. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 30(2), pp.176-188.

The rest of this special section of Capitalism Nature Socialism labelled “Symposium on Socialism and Degrowth” can be found here:

Belcher, Oliver, Patrick Bigger, Ben Neimark, and Cara Kennelly. (2019) “Hidden carbon costs of the “everywhere war”: Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot‐print of the US military.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Bluwstein, J., 2019. Resisting Legibility: State and Conservation Boundaries, Pastoralism, and the Risk of Dispossession through Geospatial Surveys in Tanzania. Rural Landscapes: Society, Environment, History, 6(1).

Brown, B. and Spiegel, S.J., 2019. Coal, Climate Justice, and the Cultural Politics of Energy Transition. Global Environmental Politics, 19(2), pp.149-168.

Clement, F., Harcourt, W.J., Joshi, D. and Sato, C., 2019. Feminist political ecologies of the commons and commoning. International Journal of the Commons, 13(1). Editorial to a Special Feature which can be found here: Feminist political ecologies of the commons and commoning

Dunlap, Alexander. (2019) Renewing Destruction: Wind Energy Development, Conflict and Resistance in a Latin American Context, London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Dunlap A. (2019) Book Review: Jaume Franquesa. Power Struggles: Dignity, Value, and The Renewable Energy Frontier in Spain. Interface: a journal for and about social movements 11: 228-231.

Harris, M.L. and Carter, E.D. 2019. Muddying the waters: A political ecology of mosquito-borne disease in coastal Ecuador. Health & Place, 57: 330-338. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.05.010

Hennings, A., 2019. From Bullets to Banners and Back Again? The Ambivalent Role of Ex-combatants in Contested Land Deals in Sierra Leone. Africa Spectrum, 54(1), pp.22-43.

Onur İnal (University of Vienna) and Ethemcan Turhan (KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory) edited a volume titled “Transforming Socio-Natures in Turkey: Landscapes, State and Environmental Movements” out from Routledge Environmental Humanities Series on 26 July 2019. The volume brings together contributions from an emerging cohort of environmental history and political ecology scholars.

Kolinjivadi, V., 2019. Avoiding dualisms in ecological economics: Towards a dialectically-informed understanding of co-produced socionatures. Ecological Economics, 163, pp.32-41.

Vijay Kolinjivadi. 6 Jun 2019. Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable. Aljazeera.

Koot, S. and Büscher, B. (2019). Giving land (back)? Dwelling, indigeneity and the ontological politics of the South Kalahari Bushmen land claim in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies: 2019 – Koot and Buscher – Giving Land (Back)

Koot, S. Film review of When lambs become lions (2019). Kasbe, J. (dir.). 2018. 79 minute documentary film. USA: Kasbe Films / The Documentary Group. Journal of Political Ecology 26 (1): 2019 – Koot – When lambs become lions (film review)

Koot, S. Hitchcock, R. and Gressier, C. (2019). Belonging, Indigeneity, Land and Nature in Southern Africa under Neoliberal Capitalism: An Overview. Journal of Southern African Studies: 2019 – Koot, Hitchcock, Gressier – Belonging, Indigeneity, Land and Nature (editorial)

Lai, H.L., 2019. Situating community energy in development history: Place-making and identity politics in the Taromak 100% green energy tribe initiative, Taiwan. Geoforum, 100, pp.176-187.

Lund, J.F., Amanzi, N., Baral, S., Basnyat, B., Chhetri, B., Eilenberg, M., Hansen, C., Lund, C., Mbeyale, G., Meilby, H. and Ngaga, Y., 2019. Towards Participatory Forestry: Policy Briefs-Copenhagen Centre for Development Research, University of Copenhagen. Policy Brief, 1(May).

Neimark, Benjamin,  Address the roots of environmental crimeScience  12 Apr 2019:Vol. 364, Issue 6436, pp. 139

Benjamin Neimark, Oliver Belcher, Patrick Bigger. 24 June 2019. US military is a bigger polluter than as many as 140 countries – shrinking this war machine is a must. The Conversation

Nightingale, A.J., Eriksen, S., Taylor, M., Forsyth, T., Pelling, M., Newsham, A., Boyd, E., Brown, K., Harvey, B., Jones, L. and Bezner Kerr, R., 2019. Beyond Technical Fixes: climate solutions and the great derangement. Climate and Development, pp.1-10

Ramcilovik-Suominen, S., 2019. REDD+ as a tool for state territorialization: managing forests and people in Laos. Journal of Political Ecology, 26(1), pp.263-281.

Ramcilovic-Suominen, S., Lovric, M., Mustalahti, I. 2019. Mapping policy actor networks and their interests in the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Lao PDR. World Development 118: 128-148.

Spiegel, S.J., 2019. Visual Storytelling and Socioenvironmental Change: Images, Photographic Encounters, and Knowledge Construction in Resource Frontiers. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, pp.1-25.

Scott E, Kallis G, Zografos C (2019) Why environmentalists eat meat. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219607.

Sullivan, S. 2019Reading ‘Earth Incorporated’ through Caliban and the Witch, pp. 119-134 in Barbagallo, C., Beuret, N. and Harvie, D. (eds.) Commoning with Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis. London: Pluto Press.

Tănăsescu, M., 2019. Restorative ecological practice: The case of the European Bison in the Southern Carpathians, Romania. Geoforum.

Vaccaro, I. and Beltran, O., 2019. What Do We Mean by “the Commons?” An Examination of Conceptual Blurring Over Time. Human Ecology, pp.1-10.

Van der Wulp, C. and Koot, S. (2019). Immaterial Indigenous Modernities in the Struggle against Illegal Fencing in the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy, Namibia: Genealogical Ancestry and ‘San-ness’ in a ‘Traditional Community’. Journal of Southern African Studies: 2019 – Van der Wulp and Koot – Immaterial Indigenous Modernities

Judith Verweijen and Saidi Kubuya Batundi. July 5th, 2019. Virunga National Park: rethinking ‘law and order’ in conservation. LSE blog:

Judith Verweijen, Esther Marijnen and Janvier Murair. 5 June 2019. Why more women should be included in the leadership of Virunga National Park (commentary). Mongabay:

Special issue of Geoforum on the theme of The New Politics and Geographies of Scarcity:

  1. Mehta, L., Huff, A., & Allouche, J. (2019). The new politics and geographies of scarcity. Geoforum, 101, 222-230.
  2. Scoones, I., Smalley, R., Hall, R., & Tsikata, D. (2019). Narratives of scarcity: Framing the global land rush. Geoforum, 101, 231-241.
  3. D’Souza, R. (2019). Environmentalism and the Politics of Pre-emption: reconsidering South Asia’s environmental history in the epoch of the Anthropocene. Geoforum, 101, 242-249.
  4. Hendrixson, A., & Hartmann, B. (2019). Threats and burdens: Challenging scarcity-driven narratives of “overpopulation”. Geoforum, 101, 250-259.
  5. Selby, J. (2019). Climate change and the Syrian civil war, part II: the Jazira’s agrarian crisis. Geoforum, 101, 260-274.
  6. Witter, R., & Satterfield, T. (2019). Rhino poaching and the “slow violence” of conservation-related resettlement in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. Geoforum, 101, 275-284.
  7. Bharucha, Z. P. (2019). This is what Nature has become: Tracing climate and water narratives in India’s rainfed drylands. Geoforum, 101, 285-293.
  8. Hildyard, N. (2019). Scarcity,‘polite society’and activism. Geoforum, 101, 294-298.


Call for chapter contributions: An Eastern European Political Ecology of Environment-State Relations. Deadline 22 July!

Call for papers: Special Issue “Global Resource Industries and Environmental Conflicts: Disciplinary Approaches, Methods, Literatures and Comparative Insights”

Call for Papers: Special issue on “Putting Culture back into Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES): Case Studies on CES and Conservation from the Global South”


Dear colleagues and friends,

I hope you might be interested in the international conference STREAMS. Transformative Environmental Humanities we are organizing at the Environmental Humanities Laboratory in Stockholm (5-8 August 2020).

You can find the call for Contributions through this link. Please feel free to spread the call among your contacts. I hope to see many of you in Stockholm next year!

Marco Armiero

Upcoming conference: Political Ecology in Asia 2019: Plural Knowledge and Contested Development in a More-Than-Human World

On 10-11 October 2019, a conference on Political Ecology in Asia will be held in the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Keynotes for the conference are Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies, UK) and Thanes Wongyannava (Thammasart University, Thailand). Themes to be covered by the conference range from: hydrosocial rivers and their politics; to interspecies cohabitations in Asia; to reshaping governance and justice in conservation.

The conference is co-organized between the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS), Chulalongkorn University; the Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC); the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD); the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP); and IRN-SustainAsia; and in collaboration with POLLEN.

Further details on the conference can be found here: There are a limited number of spaces remaining for self-funded participants to join the conference either as a paper presenter or participant. For further information, please contact

Simon Batterbury (University of Melbourne/Lancaster University) has won Melbourne’s prize for excellence in post-graduate student supervision (2019). The US$7,000 award will enable collaboration and publication with former and present political ecology students.

Leah Horowitz, professor of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin was interviewed in a recent (7/4/19) podcast from the Women’s Liberation Radio News that discusses climate change’s impacts on women, and their responses (excerpts from the interview with Leah Horowitz are included about halfway through):

Job opportunity: tenure-track position in ‘Indigenous Resurgence and Development’ at Queen’s University, Canada

Job opportunity: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Indian School of Business

Job opportunity: Lecturer in Political Ecology

Assistant Professor (tenure track) in Societal Challenges of Climate Change Impacts – The University of Lausanne

Vacancy: Associate Professor Forest and Nature Conservation Policy at Wageningen University & Research

Assistant Director of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

NEW NODES – Welcome to POLLEN!

Best wishes,

Marleen Schutter, Ben Neimark, John Childs, Simon Batterbury, Patrick Bigger, James Fraser, Giovanni Bettini, Katharine Howell

POLLEN secretariat, Lancaster University


Pupils at the forefront: the school-work interchange on climate change between university and high school in Naples

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

by Maria Federica Palestino, Simona Quagliano and Elena Vetromile

In the wake of the Fridays for Future movement, students are taking the lead in stirring change towards climate change adaptation & mitigation. This is a short account of a project in Naples that put students’ aspirations, questions and demands at center stage. 

View original post 1,156 more words