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.

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

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.



Call for chapter contributions: An Eastern European Political Ecology of Environment-State Relations

*** Call for chapter contributions to An Eastern European Political Ecology of Environment-State Relations ***

We are seeking a couple more chapters for our edited volume that seeks to survey the current state of social inquiry into environment-state relations in Central and Eastern Europe. The volume engages with ‘political ecology’ as a particular way of thinking and analysing, and as an employed, applied framework to issues concerning contemporary relationships between people, the environment and knowledge-production in Europe.The proposed book will be structured around three main themes, namely:      

I.        Knowledge production and its place in EE: the emergence (or not) of ‘native’ critical social science inquiry in the Eastern European (EE) region, including an overview of the current position and attacks on academic freedoms and institutions in EE, with attention to the consequences for critical social science and its forms. For this section, we are looking for book chapters around transformations in the lives of ‘knowledge producers’ through universities and research institutions as these institutions themselves are transformed (from public to private, or as they come under ‘research supervision’ or outright attack); the public role and limitations of social inquiry outputs; research in EE relative to and dependent on EU sources; trends and realities of research funding in the social-environmental sphere; the forms critical social science research takes today, and contextual opportunities for its uptake.    

II.        ethnographically-rich, grounded contributions on the shifting relations between the state, its resources & people in the conservation and environment sectors in this increasingly populist political moment. Official ‘development’ in EE occurs primarily through state- and EU- led investment. Investment and new legal structures drastically change opportunities of access and reward, where political ecologists may offer the tools of engagement to document and critically analyse in whose primary interests laws and investments are made and changed. The emergence and consolidation of new elites, with the legal tools and aids of the state, transform the use and value of EE countrysides and their possibilities, which has enormous ramifications for the workability of the European/EU project.For this section, potential chapters may focus on the geopolitical nature of conservation and extractivism in EEurope; changing legal frameworks for access to land and associated resources; forms and consequences of land privatisation and land grabbing; the impacts of green and other farm subsidies; the political economy of conservation; the realisation of the EU’s rural development programmes and financing in EE.   

III.        Geographies of hope, contestation and responsibility: While rural areas are typically depicted as socio-economically disadvantaged and ‘backward’, questions around rural agency, contemporary livelihoods and opportunity are central to understanding rural development and the needs of extractive investment and management, and changing perceptions and values towards nature and the role of the state in EE societies. Potential chapters are welcome around scholar/activist/rural entrepreneur collaborations and experiments; experiments in (local) democracy, alternative business/livelihoods, in the maintenance of ‘traditional’ cultural land use practices; the manifestations and sources of political hope and humour; and reflections on the rural nature of these ‘experiments’.

We encourage authors to draw from domestic, non-English sources of philosophy, theory, politics to enrich their accounts, and welcome strongly grounded, ethnographically rich contributions.

A few words underlying the philosophy of this collection: the idea for the volume has been largely motivated due to the fragmentation of researchers living and working in Eastern Europe, and the recognition that it is becoming increasingly difficult to persist with critical lines of social inquiry in our work. Our publication plans for the volume are to reflect the funding difficulties and realities of EE, and we plan to approach the Cambridge-based Open Book Publishers ( once we have a confirmed chapter outline. An important priority is to make our work accessible and affordable to the people with whom we work and regions that we are actively engaged with.

We will also invite all contributing authors to a two-day workshop in Budapest in November 2019, where travel and accommodation expenses will be covered. 

At this stage, we ask interested contributors to submit a max. 300 word abstract of their proposed chapter contributions, stating which book section the contribution would aim to fit within. The deadline for abstracts is 22 July. Abstracts will be reviewed as soon as possible, and upon acceptance we ask authors to submit a draft version of their chapter by 31stOctober 2019, so that these may be shared and circulated amongst your co-collaborators before our November workshop. Final chapters will need to be submitted by February 2020 (and will be max. 5000 words). 

If you would like any further information, or have any questions, please get in touch with Eszter Kovacs at

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

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

 (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section “Human Geography and Social Sustainability“. An online version of this call can be found here

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor Dr. Michael L. Dougherty
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4660, USA 
Website | E-Mail 
Interests: environmental sociology; rural development; extractive industries; environmental conflicts; global commodity industries; agrarian change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Human Geography and Social Sustainability section of the international scholarly journal Sustainability invites contributions for a Special Issue entitled: “Global Resource Industries and Environmental Conflicts: Disciplinary Approaches, Methods, Literature, and Comparative Insights”.

Over the past twenty years, investment in primary resource production has grown dramatically across the globe. This has been the case with the production of precious and semi-precious metals as well as industrial metals. We have also seen booms in rare earth mineral production and novel forms of energy development. Few regions of the world have been spared the experience of this global scramble for resources. Scholarship of resource conflicts has followed suit, and we know quite a bit now about the factors that drive these conflicts and the character of collective movements to challenge these industries; however, there are three challenges to this body of scholarship that this Special Issue aims to take up.

First, the extant literature has been somewhat contained within disciplinary boundaries with little cross-talk among disciplines. This Special Issue is particularly interested in manuscripts that bring disciplinary/conceptual/methodological and literature-specific themes to the fore to begin to think through how scholars might harness the strengths of the variegated approaches to these issues. Topics within this rubric might include:

  • Case studies/reflections on methodological approaches to studying resources industries and conflicts;
  • Reviews of the literature within certain disciplinary or cross-disciplinary parameters;
  • Conceptual and theoretical approaches to thinking through resource industries and conflicts.

Second, the extant literature has also made relatively few efforts to conceptualize specific resource conflicts within global webs of geopolitical contests in the context of climate change, resurgent nationalist populism, mass migrations, and late fossil capitalism. To this end, this Special Issue seeks papers that aim to link site-specific cases (be these mines, conflicts, or countries) within such global webs. These papers could take the form of:

  • Commodity chain/production network analyses of particular primary commodities;
  • Global geopolitical strategy and competition in land grabs and resource production;
  • Global flows of finance/financialization of the ground/underground;
  • Competition, embedded fossil energy, and the future of energy production;
  • Linking energy and mineral production with expulsions and migrant flows.

Finally, the extant literature would benefit from more comparative work. Intraregional and cross-regional comparative analyses highlight points of convergence and divergence in ways that make compelling stories with salient conclusions. This Special Issue is keen to include comparative analyses including but not limited to any of the following:

  • Comparing state engagement with extractive industry across countries;
  • Comparing collective movements to challenge resource industries;
  • Comparing industry social and environmental engagement across commodities;
  • Comparing development impacts of extraction in various countries or world regions.

Dr. Michael L. Dougherty
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • China
  • Energy
  • Rare earths
  • Fracking
  • Renewable energy
  • Gold
  • Extractive industries
  • Environmental conflicts
  • Global commodity chains
  • Political ecology
  • Extractivism