CfP POLLEN 20 – Migration and conflict in the West African Sahel: political ecology under a changing sky

Session proposal
Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN 20)
Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration 
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Organizers: Tor A. Benjaminsen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences & Jesse Ribot, American University, Washington DC

Abstract: The West African Sahel has recently become a hotspot of international attention due to: increased armed conflicts such as the rise of so-called ‘jihadist’ groups; migration of, in particular, young men to North Africa and onward to Europe; and climate change which is often depicted in the media to cause drier conditions and desertification in spite of a greening trend since the 1980s.

Despite that the desertification narrative has been questioned in environmental research, including political ecology, over the last three decades, popular media and policy reports continue to present climate change and desertification as key drivers of migration and conflict in the Sahel. This panel will go beyond such simplistic explanations by delving into the micro- and macro-politics of local land governance in order to explain current trends in migration and conflict. To fully understand these trends the studies in this panel are based on a progressive contextualization that starts with a focus on moments of conflict or departure. By focusing on specific crises within their local political-economic context, particularly the political ecological context, and locating those crises and their determinants in a larger set of national and international political-economic forces, the causes of disaster can be discerned. We contend that by understanding these local and distal causes that a broader more-effective response might be developed.  

Contributions to our understanding of migration and/or conflict in any of the West African Sahelian countries is welcome.

Please submit abstracts of maximum 250 words to Tor A. Benjaminsen ( and Jesse Ribot ( by the 20th October.

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. 

CFP: Special Issue of Environment & Society on Pollution/Toxicity

Dear Colleagues,
Please find below the Call for Papers for the 2021 edition of Environment and Society: Advances in Research.  Please send along an abstract of no more than 250 words to Josh Fisher (, Mary Mostafanezhad ( and Sarah Wiebe ( by October 1, 2019.  Authors will be notified by November 1, 2019.  For those invited to contribute, completed drafts will be due to the SI editors by July 1, 2020.

Please remember that Environment and Society is an annual review journal.  The scholarship that it publishes each year in response to specific calls should combine original research with a strong literature review.  At the same time, we also encourage potential authors to contribute to the cause of de-canonizing the body of literature on pollution and toxicity by bringing to light heterodox theoretical frameworks or  underrepresented perspectives, or more generally by recovering approaches that have been lost and bringing them into current and future conversations.

Environment and Society: Advances in Research 
Call for Papers
Thematic Focus: Pollution/Toxicity
Editors: Josh Fisher, Mary Mostafanezhad, and Sarah Marie Wiebe
Forthcoming Volume 12 (2021)

The livable surface of earth is polluted.  Images abound of plastic bags riding the currents of the Pacific ocean and collecting in the Mariana Trench; stockpiles of nuclear waste pumped deep into earth’s outer crust; smoke and smog (a fusion of particulate matter and ozone) settling in above sprawling urban colonies, slowly killing its denizens; spent oxygen containers pockmarking the snows of Everest; and billions of pieces of space debris endlessly falling in Low Earth Orbit, just beyond a thin and rapidly changing breathable atmosphere.  So goes the narrative of the Anthropocene, a purportedly new geological epoch demarcated by the planetary effects of human activity.

The famed symbolic anthropologist Mary Douglas (1966) understood pollution as “matter out of place,” a kind of disorder that that necessarily prompts efforts to “organize” the environment.  Anthropology, geography, and allied fields have since pushed this conversation forward by inquiring into the materiality of pollution, the toxicity that manifests in situated encounters between bodies and environments, and the co-production of pollution/toxicity — two sides of the same coin, in our reading, one overflowing boundaries and the other seeping in — through those extended networks of physico-chemical, organic, and sociocultural life that constitute local and global political ecologies.  Yet, questions about the source and form of pollution and the nature of its toxicity remain: 

  • How is the materiality of pollution/toxicity smelled, tasted, felt, experienced, embodied, or symbolized, both in crisis and in  life?
  • How and by whom are its impacts — material, sociocultural, political, ethical, etc. — measured or otherwise accounted for in technoscientific or other socioculturally and historically particular terms?
  • How is it managed through policies, infrastructures, and everyday acts of care (sweeping, cleaning, planting, repairing)?
  • How its accounts give rise to  more overt political mobilizations? 
  • How does it come to reshape socio-political life?

This volume of Environment and Society explores current thinking about pollution and toxicity at the intersection of symbolic anthropology, political ecology, and science and technology studies.  We are interested in a broad range of scholarly perspectives, theoretical alliances, and methodological and epistemological approaches that contribute to historical and contemporary understandings of pollution and toxicity.  Our aim is to understand the discursive and material co-production of pollution and toxicity, as well as the stakes of such an analysis for diverse communities of human and nonhuman beings.

Environment and Society is a review journal that is published once per year.  Its papers are meant to communicate the substantial bodies of literature that inform an author’s perspectives.   As such, we expect that papers should be based in original scholarship, but we also require that they are explicitly conceived and written with a view toward articulating the ecologies of concepts and ideas that inform them.  Papers that draw upon original research as the basis for both summarizing and intervening in broader disciplinary and interdisciplinary conversations about pollution/toxicity are invited.

Possible topics for this issue could include but are not limited to: 

– The many biotic and abiotic forms that pollution/toxicity (or other pathogens) may take- The material and symbolic “poles” of pollution/toxicity
– The affective, sensory, and “felt” dimensions of pollution, including feelings of uncertainty surrounding exposure
– The embodiment and experience of pollution/toxicity, and the narratives that are formed through social discourse
– The political ecologies of pollution/toxicity and the stakes of analysis for different communities of humans/nonhumans
– The implications of policy, infrastructure, and other design elements in the propagation and/or mitigation of pollution/toxicity
– The technoscience of pollution/toxicity, including the measurement and abatement of polluting matter, the medicalization of its embodied effects, or the formation of policy and/or sociopolitical mobilizations
– The geographic and spatial politics of pollution/toxicity and their implications in terms of the local, national, and global scales of analysis
– The racialized, gendered, and colonial dimensions environmental in/justice as it pertains to pollution/toxicity
– The new social, economic, and ecological  milieus that are produced within the dynamic context of pollution/toxicity.

Key Dates
Abstracts due (250 words)  – October 1, 2019
Notifications for authors – November 1, 2019
Completed articles due for initial review – July 1, 2020
Articles published – Fall 2021

Chair/Reader in Political Ecology

Lancaster University

– Lancaster Environment Centre

Closes: 8th September 2019

Lancaster University wishes to appoint an exceptional interdisciplinary academic in Political Ecology (broadly defined) at the Chair/Reader level. You will work within the Political EcologyResearch Group and in close collaboration with the Critical Geographies Research Group. You are expected to continue the Lancaster Environment Centre’s contribution to this sub-field of political ecology as a distinct and vibrant research cluster in the UK.

We seek an outstanding candidate whose research, engagement and teaching interests are in areas that offer critical perspectives on human-environmental issues and change. We understand political ecology to coalesce around critiques of the relationship between culture, politics and nature. Reflecting political ecology’s multi-dimensionality, relevant themes addressed at Lancaster Environment Centre include, but are not limited to, food security, environmental justice, conservation, resource extraction, bioeconomy, water, urban natures, climate politics, science and technology, and the Anthropocene.

Candidates’ research backgrounds may be in geography, anthropology, development studies, environmental sociology or cognate disciplines. We encourage scholars from backgrounds under-represented in these fields. We also welcome novel approaches around de-colonial and critical feminist thinking, both in teaching and in research. Community building within the respective research groups and wider Environment Centre is highly encouraged.

Lancaster University has a reputation for delivering research and teaching with impact at the highest level across the social sciences. We work nationally and internationally with a host of academic, government, civil society and private sector partners. It is expected that applicants will have a strong record of income generation, a demonstrated interest in mentoring and collaborating with junior colleagues, and a clear vision and plan for developing and promoting Political Ecology at the Lancaster Environment Centre. You will work within the dynamic, diverse and interdisciplinary research groups and engage with other clusters of expertise across the University. You will build upon recent initiatives such as the Department’s first political ecology conference and the international Political Ecology Network – POLLEN. Teaching responsibilities will initially be modest to enable the development of a world-class research portfolio. In the future, there will be the opportunity to contribute to a forthcoming Master’s programme in Political Ecology currently under development.

LEC offers a highly inclusive and stimulating environment for career development. We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis, as well as the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in higher education and research.

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Professor Phil Barker (Head of Department), tel. 01524 510230, Dr Ben Neimark, Lancaster Environment Centre, tel. 01524 510592, or Dr John Childs, Lancaster Environment Centre, tel. 01524 510242,

POLLEN 2020: Call for session proposals

The Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN)
Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration

When: 24 – 26 June 2020
Where: Brighton, UK
Organized by: The ESRC STEPS Centre (IDS/SPRU, University of Sussex) and The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Secretariat (based at Lancaster University 2017 -2019; and moving to the University of Copenhagen 2019 – 2021). The conference is co-hosted by Radical Futures at the University of Brighton, with support from the BIOSEC project (European Research Council) and SIID at the University of Sheffield.
Session proposal submission deadline: 31 October 2019
Session proposal submission form:
Notification of accepted sessions: January 2020
Conference web site:

Call for session proposals

The POLLEN 20 organizing committee is pleased to announce a call for proposals for organized conference sessions. The deadline for submission of session proposals is 31 October 2019, and all proposals should be submitted via online form.

Conference theme

The contested notion of ‘nature’ is one of the central themes in political ecology, and the third biennial conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN), Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration, aims to explore plural natures and plural futures as sites of struggle and possibility whilst critically engaging with and ‘unpacking’ multiple and overlapping crises of our times.

As 2020 is the fifth anniversary of the POLLEN network, the organizers aim for the conference to be a time for taking stock and looking forward; for welcoming provocation and critique; questioning established notions of who is ‘the expert’ and associated epistemological hierarchies; exploring classic questions through novel concepts, lenses, imaginaries, (re)enchantments and embodied and decolonizing practices; and for finding inspiration in emerging debates and new alliances.

The conference will be structured to encourage critical reflection around the entanglements and encounters of political ecology with a variety of theories, approaches and philosophies, including but not limited to post-structuralist and Marxist to anarchist, feminist and queer perspectives within political ecology. As in previous meetings, POLLEN 2020 will combine the objectives of a traditional meeting with the collegiality and dynamism of a less structured, more participatory gathering.

To these ends, this call encourages proposals for themed sessions in a variety of both conventional and novel formats, aspiring to bring together perspectives and ways of sharing from across disciplines and geographic traditions, and welcoming contributions from within and outside the academy.

We particularly encourage transdisciplinary engagements and collaborations in political ecology (i.e. involving, for example, researchers in social sciences, natural / environmental sciences, environmental humanities and development studies; artists; journalists; practitioners; policy professionals; laypersons; activists; environmental justice campaigners and others).

Circulating calls, proposal preparation and submission

Information about the full conference theme, session formats and participation, guidance for preparing and submitting proposals for organized sessions and frequently asked questions are available on the POLLEN 20 conference web site. You will also find information of the conference venue, travel, accommodations, and accessibility that will be updated regularly in the coming months.

The conference committee and POLLEN secretariat can assist with posting calls to the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) web site and the conference web site. If you would like to post a call for papers or presenters, please send your call as an email attachment in .DOC format with proposed session title, session details / abstract and instructions for submitting potential contributions to session organizers to with ‘CfP POLLEN 20’ in the subject line. Make sure to include all relevant information for potential participants in your session.

Inquiries about the conference

Inquiries about the conference, co-hosting, or questions about contributions to the Solidarity Fund for travel bursaries can be sent to (please note that this is not the email address for the POLLEN secretariat).

A note on child care

We are exploring options for child care and compiling a list of local child care providers, but we need to gauge the level of interest. Please email by 1 September 2019 if you think you will need child care to attend the conference. In the email, please provide the number of days, age(s) of child/children and any special needs, including special dietary needs, and include ‘POLLEN 20 child care’ in the subject line.