CfP POLLEN22: Cultivating Critical Reflexivity in Conservation

*Please note that the conference organisers are yet to determine the conference format, whether it be in person, virtual, or hybrid – they will make a determination early in 2022, given the prevailing COVID-19 situation in South Africa and the national, provincial, and University of KwaZulu-Natal guidelines and protocols at that time.


Sam Staddon and Omar Saif (University of Edinburgh), Fleur Nash (University of Cambridge), and Timur Jack-Kadioglu (Fauna & Flora International)


Critical reflexivity can be thought of as “an embodiment – a personal and internal and constant consciousness. It is deeply embedded in the process towards a decolonial future and understood as the ability to reflect, learn, unlearn, and dismantle overt and subtle legacies of oppression in the process of knowledge production and practice…Critical reflexivity should make us hyper-sensitive to the multiple ways of knowing, being in and understanding the world” (Idahosa and Bradbury 2020, p.33). Compared to reflexivity, critical reflexivity thus aims to move us towards emancipatory goals of social and epistemic justice for marginalised peoples and world views. This session engages with the concept, practice and potential of critical reflexivity in conservation; it asks what cultivates critical reflexivity in conservation practice and research, and what the consequences and contributions of critical reflexivity may be for a more socially and epistemologically just conservation.  

Conservation has long been a focus for political ecologists interested in exposing social injustices associated with protected areas and in the knowledge politics of interventions to manage biodiversity. Calls for inclusive conservation practices that better account for the values, needs and demands of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are increasingly heard amongst practitioners and researchers, as is the need to acknowledge and engage with the colonial histories and continuities of conservation, particularly in light of the 30×30 campaign and wider decolonial agendas in development and environmental governance. It is not just conservation as a sector but the practices of individual conservationists and conservation organisations that are being questioned, along intersectional lines of race, ethnicity, class, gender and nationality, and again with an abiding concern for social and epistemological justice. The identities and positions of those who research conservation, either working with conservation organisations or IPLCs, are also worthy of scrutiny, given the methodological demands and ethical imperatives of research, particularly from Westernised and neoliberal academic institutions.    

This session engages with these debates on conservation and conservation research through an explicit focus on critical reflexivity. It will explore whether critical reflexivity can enable conservation practitioners and researchers to ‘reflect, learn, unlearn’ and whether through this it is possible to ‘dismantle overt and subtle legacies of oppression’ associated with processes of knowledge production and practice in conservation. We invite papers from conservation practitioners and researchers from the Global South, North and beyond, and from those of diverse intersectional positionalities, that address questions such as:

  • Who is/should be engaging in critical reflexivity? Critical reflexivity amongst practitioners, researchers, others 
  • What can/should be critically reflected upon? Positionalities and power relations, structures of oppression within/through conservation, ‘failures’ and/or past practices, conservation aims and agendas, the contexts and histories of conservation, understanding of nature and other beings, etc.  
  • How does critical reflexivity take place? Formal/structured mechanisms, facilitated approaches or experiments, spontaneous/sub-conscious practices, through spoken word or writing or other forms of expression, over what time-frames, in groups or organisations and/or as individuals, etc. 
  • What are the consequences of critical reflexivity? Intended and unintended consequences, social and personal change, disruption of power dynamics within institutions, unsettling ideas of conservation as a needed intervention, potential negative unintended consequences e.g. punishment/repression or feelings of being over-whelmed/paralysis, etc. 
  • How can critical reflexivity be cultivated and understood? How do contexts for critical reflexivity affect practices, what is the role of emotions and care in cultivating critical reflexivity, what theories help us understand processes of critical reflexivity, etc.

If you would like to present a paper in this session, please email us with yourName, affiliation, presentation title (maximum 20 words), abstract (maximum 250 words), and 3 keywords. As we are interested in hearing from a diversity of speakers from the Global South/North/Beyond and along intersectional lines, we encourage you to include some information on your positionality, as you deem appropriate.

Please email: 

Deadline: 8th December (we will let you know of the outcome by 15th December, which is the deadline for session proposals to the conference organisers) 


Idahosa, G.E. & Bradbury, V. (2020) Challenging the way we know the world: overcoming paralysis and utilising discomfort through critical reflexive thought. Acta Academia, 52(1), 31-53. 

CfP POLLEN22: Political ecology of memory: Memories of violence and socio-environmental struggles


Esther Marijnen (Wageningen University and Research), David Mwambari (Kings College, London), Emmanuel Akampurira (Ghent University)

For this panel, we are looking for contributions that aim to make connections between political ecology and memory studies. To date, political ecologists have only spent sparse attention to the politics of memory related to ecologies and different types of landscapes, with notable exceptions (Osterhoudt, 2018, Mathevet et al. 2015, Moore, 1993; Baird and le Billon, 2012), while research in environmental history and environmental anthropology have probed the importance of how memories of violence become written on the land, and continue to influence politics of belonging and inform contemporary political contestations (Ranger, 1999; Katto, 2014; Poole, 2009). Osterhoudt (2018) is the first to explicitly introduce a “political ecology of memory” approach to history, “Examining how memories of extra-local political histories become embodied and articulated through personal stories of local ecologies” (2018). As Osterhoudt integrated political ecology and environmental anthropology to study the political ecology of memory, we aim to further this line of inquiry by integrating methodologies, theories, and concepts from memory studies.

Traditionally memory studies have focused extensively on World War I and II (Nora, 1989; Assmann and Czaplicka, 1995), yet with the transcultural debate research on the politics of memory increasingly looks beyond the ‘Global north’ (Bond and Rapson 2014), and beyond ‘the nation-state as the main agent of memory’ (Erll,2011), recognizing that memory is dynamic, multidirectional and is not site-bound (Rothberg, 2010). As such, there is an increasing body of literature focussing on the politics of memory in post-genocide and post-conflict societies globally (Longman, 2017; Jessee, 2017, Purdekova, 2017; Coundouriotis, 2006; Otele, 2021; Oyola, 2021). Focusing on what is remembered and/or forgotten in these memory processes, and how they shape societies in aftermath of violence (Buckley-Zistel, 2009; Rosoux, 2007; Eastmond and Selimovic, 2021). Debates have also explored relationships between both official and unofficial means of remembering (Mwambari, 2021); and interdisciplinary connections with forced displacement (Creet and Kitzmann, 2011).

We see ample opportunities to bring political ecology research together with memory studies, by not only asking how the politics of memory shape societies in the aftermath of violence, but also how they shape socio-environmental relations, struggles and landscapes in conjunction with each other.

Papers might focus on the following subjects/questions:
– How are people’s memories of violence attached to certain rivers, forests, mountains, and lakes, and how does this continue to influence their relationship with these landscapes?
– How do memories of past forms of violence, continue to inform current contestations around the control, ownership, and access to nature, and certain landscapes?
– How do memories of forced displacement, for example, continue to inform people’s practices and claims on certain landscapes, in, but also, beyond protected areas?
– How does the political ecology of memory help us to understand contemporary conservation conflicts?
– How are different environmental struggles impacted by memories of a violent past?
– How do environmental NGOs and interventions take into account people’s memories of violence within the landscapes, they aim to protect, restore or conserve?
– Critical reflection of the “cultural value approach” to conservation, where conservation NGOs ask people to relive their past cultural lives for conservation or tourism in areas where their ancestors were displaced.

Paper proposals are due 8 December 2021. We will let you know the result by the 10th of December.

Final submission to the conference organizers is on 15 December. Please send a 250-300 word abstract and title to,, and


Assmann, J., & Czaplicka, J. (1995). Collective memory and cultural identity. New german critique, (65), 125-133.

Baird, I. G., & Le Billon, P. (2012). Landscapes of political memories: War legacies and land negotiations in Laos. Political Geography, 31(5), 290-300.

Bond, L., & Rapson, J. (Eds.). (2014). The transcultural turn: Interrogating memory between and beyond borders (Vol. 15). Walter de Gruyter.

Coundouriotis, E. (2006). The” Contemporaneous Local” in Time: Problems of History in Shalini Puri’s The Caribbean Postcolonial. small axe, 10(1), 198-205.

Creet, J., & Kitzmann, A. (Eds.). (2014). Memory and migration: Multidisciplinary approaches to Memory Studies. University of Toronto Press.

Eastmond, M., & Selimovic, J. M. (2012). Silence as possibility in postwar everyday life. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 6(3), 502-524.

Jessee, E. (2017). The danger of a single story: Iconic stories in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Memory Studies, 10(2), 144-163.

Katto, J. (2014). Landscapes of belonging: Female ex-combatants remembering the liberation struggle in urban Maputo. Journal of Southern African Studies, 40(3), 539-557.

Longman, T. (2017). Memory and justice in post-genocide Rwanda. Cambridge University Press.

Mathevet, R., Peluso, N. L., Couespel, A., & Robbins, P. (2015). Using historical political ecology to understand the present: water, reeds, and biodiversity in the Camargue Biosphere Reserve, southern France. Ecology and Society, 20(4).

Moore, D. S. (1993). Contesting terrain in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands: political ecology, ethnography, and peasant resource struggles. Economic Geography, 69(4), 380-401.

Mwambari, D. (2021). Agaciro, vernacular memory, and the politics of memory in post-genocide Rwanda. African Affairs, 120(481), 611-628.

Nora, P. (1989). Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire. representations, 26, 7-24.

Osterhoudt, S. (2016). Written with seed: the political ecology of memory in Madagascar. Journal of Political Ecology, 23(1), 263-278.

Otele, O. (2021). Mourning in reluctant sites of memory: from Afrophobia to cultural productivity. In PostConflict Memorialization (pp. 35-54). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Oyola, S. M. R. (2021). Restoring the Human Dignity of Absent Bodies in Colombia. In Post-Conflict Memorialization (pp. 195-212). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Poole, A. (2009). Landscape and memory in peasant–state relations in Eritrea. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 36(4), 783-803.

Purdeková, A. (2017). Displacements of memory: struggles against the erosion and dislocation of the material record of violence in Burundi. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 11(2), 339-358.

Ranger, T. O. (1999). Voices from the Rocks: nature, culture & history in the Matopos Hills of Zimbabwe. Indiana University Press.

Rosoux, V. (2007). Rwanda: The Impossibility of a National Memory?. Ethnologie francaise, 37(3), 409-415. Rothberg, M. (2010). Introduction: Between memory and memory: From Lieux de mémoire to Noeuds de mémoire. Yale French Studies, (118/119), 3-12.hberg, 2010.

Buckley-Zistel, S. (2009). Nation, narration, unification? The politics of history teaching after the Rwandan genocide. Journal of Genocide Research, 11(1), 31-53.

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 December 8th 2021.

CfP POLLEN22: Anti-Caste Environmentalism: Marginal Perspectives around Political Ecology in India

Session Organizers:
Dr Prashant Ingole, PhD (Cultural Studies & Environmental Humanities): Postdoctoral Fellow, Humanities & Social sciences, IIT Gandhinagar
Camellia Biswas (Environmental Anthropology): Doctoral Candidate, Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Gandhinagar

Ever since the onset of discussion around environmental politics in India, anti-caste environmentalism and its relationship with nature/ecology is very different from the popular climate change and environmental conservation narrative which is often heard today ( Dalit narratives have particularly been sidelined from mainstream environmentalism due to power politics and caste politics in the co-production of knowledge and scholarship. One may find nature and caste as inextricably interwoven in India. Nature is considered universal and ubiquitous. In contrast, caste as a social construct wherein the Dalits have been subjected to untouchability, owing to their lowest positionality in the Indian caste system (Sharma, 2018). The interrelationship between Dalits and Nature is complex and conflict-ridden. In Political Ecology, environmental conflict as widely explained by Paul Robbins (2004)talks about increasing scarcities produced through an appropriation by state authorities, private firms or powerful sections of the society that accelerates conflict between groups of gender, class or ethnicity. Similarly, the environmental problem becomes “politicized” when local groups secure control of collective resources at the expense of others by leveraging management-administration intervention by development authorities, state agents or private firms. Several such examples can be seen projecting out as some pioneer examples of Dalit environmentalism like the Mahad Satyagraha to drink water from the Chavdar tank at Mahad, led by B.R. Ambedkar, the struggle which is seen as the foundational of the anti-caste movement, the right to access to common resources. However, for Dalits, the idea of common in itself is very exclusionary. While commons are attractive for IEP (since they are seen as collective, inclusive, and supportive), they tend to be null and void for Dalits as Dalits do not have access to them and often see commons as an embodiment of caste segregation, a reminder of pain and suffering. This further brings us back to those elemental questions of who has the access, control and ownership of the nature/environment and its related knowledge? And makes us ponder on whether these inquiries can increasingly make the stakeholders such as state agencies, private or international firms (who are usually operated by upper caste) or even the mainstream Indian Environmentalist scholars ‘not’ ignore the daily struggles of the Dalit and acknowledge the Dalit environmentalism.

Whether it’s Global North, Global South or Just India, Scholarship around the globe has deliberately missed the Dalit perspectives. Mukul Sharma’s (2017) seminal work has investigated the responses of Dalits to the dominant narrative. It foregrounded an alternative vision from the viewpoint of Dalits. They have remained at the margins of both ecological discourses and practices in India. Nevertheless, even in their totality, most empirical research has invisibilized the caste factor in environmental politics and failed to provide a complete picture of the environmental struggles in India. This session plans to open up discussion around the dialectical relationship between the Dalits, caste politics and environmental conflicts. The aim is to determine the reasons and consequences of subjugation and alienation of the Dalits from the discourse of political ecology.

The oppressive politics against the Dalits and the other marginal sections of the society operates through the power of caste order. The exclusionary processes like caste not just create a hurdle in making progress for the marginalized communities, but it closes the doors to the oppressed masses to raise their voices at social, political and cultural levels. Similarly, when it comes to the debate around anti-caste knowledge production and environmental justice there is a lacuna in mainstream academia in bringing anti-caste pedagogical approaches when it comes to environmental studies.As a reason, anti-caste voices and their reading of “environmental casteism” remains invisible.

We invite paper abstracts addressing the challenges and experiences through the perspectives from the margins. Please send your abstract with a short bio (not more than 100 words) that should include name, affiliation, presentation title, abstract (not more than 350 words), and 3-5 keywords.

Please send your abstract to and no later than December 1, 2021. We will submit our final proposal for the paper session, including selected presentations, in the POLLEN portal on December 10, 2021.

CfP POLLEN22: Decolonizing conservation: Strategies of local-to-global initiatives

Session organizers: Dr. Riccarda Flemmer (FU Berlin), Dr. Charlotte Schumann (FU Berlin)

The current redefinition of global initiatives to halt biodiversity loss and prevent climate change (COP 15 CBD; Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) calls into question the conventional measures to achieve reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the conservation of livelihoods. Especially, classical “fine-and-fence” or “fortress-conservation“ models are challenged by critique of traditional and indigenous peoples and scandals involving the denial of access to traditional land, displacement, persecution, and killing of these communities.

International actors, such as the World Food Organization (FAO), Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) as well as IUCN or WWF, increasingly acknowledge that indigenous peoples and local communities have proved to be more successful in sustaining ecosystems with their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), than the global system of protected areas (FAO and FILAC 2021; IPBES 2019). Further, civil society actors denounce that conservation projects violate rights to self-determination and Free, Prior and Informed consent as well as in many cases even rights to cultural and physical integrity. In this context, the panel aims to revise and discuss counter-strategies that offer models of local-to-global conservation, in which community driven strategies are at the heart of programs and implementation steps. In between these strategies, we identify for example the strategic use of (inter)national law (Rights of nature and indigenous guardianships); technical solutions (Earth Defender Toolkit); participation structures from below (ICCA Consortium); interventions in (inter)national conservation projects (grievance redress mechanisms); or international funding initiatives (GEF inclusive conservation initiative).

The aim of this panel is to present an overview about current strategies to oppose colonial conservation models as well as to exchange on success stories – what worked, why, and how? Thereby, the panel will contribute to the networking of a global initiative of local-to-global conservation activists and scientists.

We invite contributions on cases from the Global South and North by scholars, practitioners, and activists. If you are interested to join our panel, please send us your abstract (max 250 words) including the title of the paper and your affiliation until 5 December 2021.

Submit to and

CfP POLLEN22: Power, knowledge and multi-species perspectives in smallholder agriculture

Session organizers

Klara Fischer, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Maya Marshak, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town
Rachel Wynberg, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town

Farming is critical for livelihood security, particularly for smallholders in the Global South (Bezner Kerr, 2013; Fischer, 2021; Marshak et al., 2021), but also in the Global North (van der Ploeg, 2010; Davidova and Thomson, 2014). Multiple agricultural development initiatives target smallholder farming due to its importance for rural livelihoods, but these efforts are often not based on an appreciation of what smallholders want and need. Instead, knowledge is framed as universal and linear, with modernist, science-based knowledge typically characterising ‘successful’ farming (Hebinck et al., 2011; Chenais and Fischer, 2018). Empirical evidence, as well as research on knowledge production, repeatedly tells us that this is a far call from reality. Knowledge is social, contextual and situated; and smallholders’ knowledge production is entangled with their farming practices and the wider agroecological context (Richards, 1993; Chenais and Fischer, 2018).
Research within critical development and agrarian studies has highlighted the ideologies and wider relations of power that prevent agricultural development from being attuned to smallholder needs and priorities (Ferguson, 1990; Scott, 1998; McMichael, 2009; Patel, 2012; Clapp, 2014; Moseley et al., 2015), while participatory and ethnographic research has revealed approaches to understand smallholder farming priorities (Dawson et al., 2008; Mzamu, 2012; Chenais and Fischer, 2018; Lunt et al., 2018; Marshak et al., 2021). These are important contributions that deserve attention. Disentangling the material and ideological dynamics that keep development efforts from being useful for smallholders, and understanding the reasoning of farmers as to why they might adopt or reject new farming practices and technologies such as vaccines, pesticides, or ‘improved’ varieties of crops or livestock, are essential if agriculture development is to support the priorities and needs of smallholder farmers.

To date, this important field of research has mainly centred on humans and their relationships with each other, and less on the multi-species entanglements in which smallholders act. Because the farming practices and knowledge production of smallholders is intimately related with the environments in which they farm (Chambers et al., 1989; Richards, 1993; Chenais and Fischer, 2018), a wider, more holistic multi-species lens has the potential to add important dimensions to our understandings of how smallholders can be supported in meaningful ways, and with technologies that are appropriate and desirable. Within this context, this session seeks to draw attention to multi-species understandings of the relational agencies that shape smallholder farming; and of how entanglements between crops, livestock, insects and pathogens shape farmers’ practices and situated knowledges. Importantly, we seek efforts that engage in such multi-species perspectives without losing sight of wider systems of power and control.

The multispecies perspective on which this session builds is inspired by feminist science studies (Barad, 2007; Haraway, 2008), science and technology studies (STS) (Latour, 2005), the wider field of environmentally interested social sciences and humanities (Whatmore, 2006) and political ecology (Fischer, 2021; Karlsson, 2021; Sinha, 2021). Like much traditional political ecology, multispecies perspectives address the entanglements between nature and society and strive to shift our ontological standpoints away from modernist dualist places towards relational ways of being and relating. An important contribution of multispecies perspectives to political ecology is the heightened attention to the particular materialities of different plants and animals, in addition to wider ecologies. Although available studies in this growing field highlight the relevance of this perspective for understanding the role of agriculture in political-ecological challenges (Head and Atchison, 2016; Donati, 2019; Guthman, 2019; Fischer, 2021), multi-species social sciences have paid comparatively limited attention to agriculture (Galvin, 2018).

This session aims specifically to bring multi-species social sciences into dialogue with political ecology in an exploration of the relationship between non-human agency, smallholder knowledges and practices and wider systems of governance in agriculture. We invite paper presentations from empirical contexts in the Global South and North, that have a strong interest in smallholder farming and a firm political ecology base, but also have a clear interest in making use of a multi-species perspective for understanding and supporting smallholder agriculture. We will prioritize abstracts that fall within the scope of the session and are academically rigorous. We will also strive to construct a diverse session in terms of presenters and empirical cases presented across the Global South and North.

If you want to present a paper in our session, please send you abstract to no later than December 1, 2021. The abstract should be max 250 words (excluding title and author info).

We will submit our final proposal for a paper session, including selected presentations, in the POLLEN portal on December 10, 2021.


Barad, K., 2007. Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke university Press.

Bezner Kerr, R., 2013. Seed struggles and food sovereignty in northern Malawi. Journal of Peasant Studies 40, 867‐897.

Chambers, R., Pacey, A., Thrupp, L.A., 1989. Farmer first: farmer innovation and agricultural research. Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd. London.

Chenais, E., Fischer, K., 2018. Increasing the local relevance of epidemiological research: Situated knowledge of cattle disease among Basongora pastoralists in Uganda. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 5, 119.

Clapp, J., 2014. Financialization, distance and global food politics. The Journal of Peasant Studies 41, 797‐814.

Davidova, S., Thomson, K., 2014. Family Farming in Europe: Challenges and Prospects. European Union, Brussels.

Dawson, J.C., Murphy, K.M., Jones, S.S., 2008. Decentralized selection and participatory approaches in plant breeding for low‐input systems. Euphytica 160, 143‐154.

Donati, K., 2019. ‘Herding is his favourite thing in the world’: Convivial world‐making on a multispecies farm. Journal of Rural Studies 66, 119‐129.

Ferguson, J., 1990. The Anti‐Politics Machine: “Development”, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho. Cambridge University Press.

Fischer, K., 2021. Why Africa’s New Green Revolution is failing–Maize as a commodity and anti commodity in South Africa. Geoforum.

Galvin, S.S., 2018. Interspecies relations and agrarian worlds. Annual Review of Anthropology 47, 233‐249.

Guthman, J., 2019. Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry. University of California Press.

Haraway, D.J., 2008. When species meet. University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis and London.

Head, L., Atchison, J., 2016. Ingrained: a human bio‐geography of wheat. Routledge.

Hebinck, P., Fay, D., Kondlo, K., 2011. Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province: Caught by Continuities. Journal of Agrarian Change 11, 220‐240.

Karlsson, B.G., 2021. The imperial weight of tea: On the politics of plants, plantations and science. Geoforum.

Latour, B., 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor‐Network‐Theory. Oxford University Press, USA.

Lunt, T., Ellis‐Jones, J., Mekonnen, K., Schulz, S., Thorne, P., Schulte‐Geldermann, E., Sharma, K., 2018. Participatory community analysis: identifying and addressing challenges to Ethiopian smallholder livelihoods. Development in Practice 28, 208‐226.

Marshak, M., Wickson, F., Herrero, A., Wynberg, R., 2021. Losing practices, relationships and agency: ecological deskilling as a consequence of the uptake of modern seed varieties among South African Smallholders. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 1‐24.

McMichael, P., 2009. Banking on Agriculture: A Review of the World Development Report 2008. Journal of Agrarian Change 9, 235‐246.

Moseley, W., Schnurr, M., Bezner Kerr, R., 2015. Interrogating the technocratic (neoliberal) agenda for agricultural development and hunger alleviation in Africa. African Geographical Review 34, 1‐7.

Mzamu, J.J., 2012. The Ways of Maize: food, poverty, policy and the politics of meaning among the Chewa of Malawi. Social Anthropology University of Bergen Bergen.

Patel, R., 2012. The Long Green Revolution. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1‐63.

Richards, P., 1993. Cultivation: knowledge or performance? In: Hobart, M. (Ed.), An Anthropological Critique of Development: The Growth of Ignorance. Routledge, Oxon, 61‐78.

Scott, J.C., 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press New Haven and London.

Sinha, S., 2021. From cotton to paddy: Political crops in the India Punjab. Geoforum. van der Ploeg, J.D., 2010. The peasantries of the twenty‐first century: the commoditisation debate revisited. The Journal of Peasant Studies 37, 1‐30.

Whatmore, S., 2006. Materialist returns: practising cultural geography in and for a more‐than‐human world. Cultural geographies 13, 600‐609.

CfP POLLEN 2022: “From Overtourism to Undertourism…and Back Again? Confronting Post-Pandemic Tourism ‘Regrowth’ with Postcapitalist Pathways”

Organised by:
Asunción Blanco-Romero, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona:
Macià Blázquez-Salom, Universitat de les Illes Balears:
Robert Fletcher, Wageningen University:


The ongoing COVID pandemic has dramatically impacted tourism in nearly every destination worldwide. One of the most striking of these impacts can been the way it quickly and decisively ended growing complaints about “overtourism” in many popular destinations in the years prior to the pandemic, instead replacing these with newfound concerns about the
negative economic consequences of the resulting “undertourism” produced by pandemic travel restrictions. Most tourism planners are now strategizing to manage the tourism regrowth already beginning or projected to begin once the pandemic further recedes. Yet these responses take very different forms in different locations: while some places aim merely to restimulate tourism to pre-pandemic levels or beyond, even further liberalizing regulation to achieve this, others appear to be taking the pandemic as an opportunity to proactively manage or limit tourism regrowth to forestall a return of overtourism and its discontents. But a less analyzed option is degrowth, through a reorientation the activity in the Global North in favor of improvements in equity, justice and collective well-being. Starting from the basis that tourism does not have to be a capitalist activity, it is proposed that sustainable tourism requires the acceptance of limits based on the commons and promoting them through post-capitalist forms of production and exchange.

In this panel, we explore how a range of prominent tourism destinations previously experiencing overtourism are situated within this spectrum. Taking documentation of the preCOVID debates concerning overtourism as a baseline, we explore how these discussions and associated policy measures have transformed in the time since in preparation for a postpandemic future. We ask how new measures introduced or proposed promise to address the pre- or mid-pandemic tourism impacts to which they are directed and what the likely outcomes of such interventions will therefore be in years to come. We also explore more radical proposals to reform tourism more dramatically away from the growth-oriented model long dominating the global tourism industry. The purpose of this call for contributions is therefore, on the one hand, to diagnose re-growth trends and, on the other, to explore alternative ‘spaces of hope’ to develop a roadmap of pathways towards post-capitalist tourism.

The aim is to develop a programme comprising multiple sessions addressing these different yet interconnected themes, and then to use these discussions to develop, within the next year, two new proposals for journal special theme collections: one focused on current proposals to address post-pandemic regrowth in destinations previously experiencing overtourism; the other focused on possibilities (both conceptual and theoretical) for more dramatic postcapitalist transformation. So in responding to this call, please also indicate whether you are interested to have your contribution considered for either of these collections (and if so which).

Please send a title and abstract (max. 250 words) to, and by Friday 26 November.

We will let you know soon after whether we can include you in the programme for official submission before the 15 December deadline.

CfP POLLEN22: Deagrarianisation: what are the underlying reasons and effects with focus on livelihoods, poverty reduction and climate change

Session organizers:

Klara Fischer, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Sheona Shackleton, African Climate & Development Initiative, University of Cape Town
Flora Hajdu, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Across several parts of the world, there is evidence that smallholder farmers are ceasing farming (Hebinck, 2018, Bryceson, 2019, Bilewicz and Bukraba‐Rylska, 2021, Fibæk, 2021, Majumdar, 2020). For example, over half a million households in South Africa’s communal areas (former homelands) disengaged from farming between 2011 and 2016 (Statistics South Africa1); a loss of one in five crop farming households. Going beyond South Africa, deagrarianisation and depesantisation is seen across the Global North and South, stimulated by various drivers and with different consequences for farmers and societies (Hebinck, 2018, Majumdar, 2020, Bilewicz and Bukraba‐Rylska, 2021, Mamonova et al., 2020, Adaman et al., 2018). Abandonment of farming does not necessarily happen because better opportunities arise, nor necessarily because farming is not valued as important by those abandoning it. Deagrarianisation of South Africa’s former homelands is happening in a situation with high joblessness and widespread food insecurity (Hajdu et al., 2020, Fischer and Hajdu, 2015). At the same time, research shows that a currently unplanted field does not mean that it is abandoned or not valued by its owners (Ferguson, 2013).

A combination of ecological, political and economic drivers have been found to stimulate deagrarianisation. New risks associated with climate change are one disincentive for smallholder cropping. More erratic and extreme rainfall, floods, high temperatures and droughts, as well as changes in the start and end of rainy season makes cultivation more difficult (Terra et al., 2012, Brown et al., 2019, Moore et al., 2017). In South Africa, the trend of reduced cultivation has also been linked to many other drivers including access to appropriate and affordable seed, changing urban‐rural linkages,
reductions in the flow of remittances, lack of (or inappropriate) government support, the erosion of collective work parties, changes in livestock ownership and herding practices, soil fertility loss, lack of interest in farming from the younger generation, as well as lack of profitability and high risks farming (Hebinck et al., 2018, Fischer and Hajdu, 2015, Hajdu et al., 2020, Shackleton et al., 2019, Shackleton and Hebinck, 2018). Global trends of the upscaling of farming, concentration of the seed sector, land grabbing, and the supermarketisation of our food systems are other important drivers with impact within and beyond South Africa (van der Ploeg et al., 2015, McMichael, 2009, Hebinck, 2018, Fischer, 2021, Adaman et al., 2018, Mamonova et al., 2020).

In this session, we invite presentations from across the Global South and North to discuss how we might understand trends variously discussed as deagrarianisation and depesantisation, how and why trends differ across contexts, and what lessons we might learn from cross‐context comparison. We will present and discuss research and build new networks ‐ forging a better understanding of the reasons behind and the effects of deagrarianisation across contexts, as well as how smallholder agriculture might be revitalized and food security and sovereignty supported.

We invite paper presentations based on empirical studies of deagrarianisation and depesantisation across the Global South and North. If you want to present a paper in our session, please send your abstract to no later than December 1, 2021. The abstract should be max 250 words (excluding title and author info). If we have to make a selection amongst submitted abstracts we will select abstracts based on 1) the academic quality of the abstract, and 2) our aim of getting a diverse session in terms of presenters and empirical cases presented across the Global South and North. We will submit our final proposal for a paper session, including selected presentations, in the POLLEN portal on December 10, 2021.


ADAMAN, F., ARSEL, M. & AKBULUT, B. 2018. Neoliberal developmentalism, authoritarian populism, and extractivism in the countryside: the Soma mining disaster in Turkey. Critical Agrarian Studies, 154.

BILEWICZ, A. & BUKRABA‐RYLSKA, I. 2021. Deagrarianization in the making: The decline of family farming in central Poland, its roots and social consequences. Journal of Rural Studies.

BROWN, P. R., AFROZ, S., CHIALUE, L., CHIRANJEEVI, T., EL, S., GRÜNBÜHEL, C. M., KHAN, I., PITKIN, C., REDDY, V. R. & ROTH, C. H. 2019. Constraints to the capacity of smallholder farming households to adapt to climate change in South and Southeast Asia. Climate and Development, 11, 383‐400.

BRYCESON, D. F. 2019. Gender and generational patterns of African deagrarianization: Evolving labour and land allocation in smallholder peasant household farming, 1980–2015. World Development, 113, 60‐72.

FERGUSON, J. 2013. How to do things with land: A distributive perspective on rural livelihoods in Southern Africa. Journal of Agrarian Change, 13, 166‐174.

FIBÆK, M. M. 2021. Rural differentiation and rural change: Microlevel evidence from Kenya. Journal of Agrarian Change.

FISCHER, K. 2021. Why Africa’s New Green Revolution is failing–Maize as a commodity and anti‐commodity in South Africa. Geoforum.

FISCHER, K. & HAJDU, F. 2015. Does raising maize yields lead to poverty reduction? A case study of the Massive Food Production Programme in South Africa. Land Use Policy, 46, 304‐313.

HAJDU, F., NEVES, D. & GRANLUND, S. 2020. Changing Livelihoods in rural eastern cape, South Africa (2002–2016): diminishing employment and expanding social protection. Journal of Southern African Studies, 46, 743‐772.

HEBINCK, P. 2018. De‐/re‐agrarianisation: Global perspectives. Journal of Rural Studies, 61, 227‐235.

HEBINCK, P., MTATI, N. & SHACKLETON, C. 2018. More than just fields: Reframing deagrarianisation in landscapes and livelihoods. Journal of rural studies, 61, 323‐334.

MAJUMDAR, K. 2020. Rural Transformation in India: Deagrarianization and the Transition from a Farming to Non‐farming Economy. Journal of Developing Societies, 36, 182‐205.

MAMONOVA, N., FRANQUESA, J. & BROOKS, S. 2020. ‘Actually existing’right‐wing populism in rural Europe: insights from eastern Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. Critical Agrarian Studies, 420.

MCMICHAEL, P. 2009. A Food Regime Analysis of the ‘World Food Crisis’. Agriculture and Human Values, 26, 281‐295.

MOORE, F. C., BALDOS, U., HERTEL, T. & DIAZ, D. 2017. New science of climate change impacts on agriculture implies higher social cost of carbon. Nature Communications, 8, 1607.

CfP POLLEN22: Political Ecology and Film: Cutting Away from Dominant Understandings and Aesthetics

Satya Ambasta; Moving Images India, Srishti Films

Paromita Bathija; Independent Scholar

Sanjay Barnela; Moving Images India, Srishti Films

Nitin Rai; Independent Scholar

Session Format: Exhibition Session


We propose to organise an Exhibition Session at POLLEN2022 to screen and discuss films built around interdisciplinary engagements between political ecology and environmental documentary.

Political ecology has for long analysed the intersections between dominant understandings of the environment and structures such as capitalism, colonialism and discrimination. Political ecologists have explored how popular media around the environment, such as films, TV shows, social media and advertisements, (re)produce dominant narratives and make use of dominant aesthetics. Spectacularised representations in mass-media can consolidate ideas such as a wilderness that needs to be saved, charismatic species, environmental decline, violence and conflict. The viewer is invited into the gaze of the (outsider’s) camera, projected as the wild explorer reaching and surveying the most inaccessible parts of nature; simultaneously, the camera aesthetically distances traditional inhabitants from the screen and thus, the landscape (Cronon, 1996; Clark et al., 2020; Geal, 2021). For example, the film Serengeti Shall Not Die, through its visual and discursive approaches, encourages the audience to identify with a colonial and paternalistic agenda (Boes, 2013). Dissemination of such imagery and spectacle has come to permeate reality, mediating the relationships of people and nature and legitimising structural injustice (Debord, 1995; Igoe, 2017).

Political ecologies – of nature, water, the urban, consumption, health, COVID-19 and beyond – could inform, critique and upend dominant imagery and narratives. In order to do this, the discipline needs to move beyond the ivory tower and towards producing collaborative, accessible and critical written material and media. This session aims to bring together work that has emerged from reflexive collaborations across critical and affective mediums that can subvert dominant processes, visual productions, epistemologies and environmental practices.

In the proposed session, a set of films will be screened, each followed by a panel discussion where the team that made the film, and potentially other invited political ecologists or film theorists, will discuss their interdisciplinary process and intent. Through these discussions, the sessions will explore how alternative media endeavours that engage with critical frameworks can move beyond agenda-driven aesthetic tropes such as ‘saving people’ or ‘saving nature’ to embrace complexity and problematise dominant understandings. The session will similarly explore how political ecology, as a framework that engages with other mediums and practices, can contribute further to public discourse in

environmental practice. The themes that emerge from these discussions will result in articles in film and political ecology journals that move the two areas of enquiry and practice towards an interdisciplinary engagement.

For the proposed session at POLLEN2022, we invite short films and videos (10-35 minutes) that enter into active political (ecological) engagement with the subject as well as the medium of film. Contributors can include experienced and experimenting film practitioners or researchers engaging with documentary practice. Please submit the film/video with the following details – film title, names of team members, film duration, an HD screener copy through YouTube, Vimeo or online file transfer and a 250-word abstract that describes the piece. In addition, for us to curate the discussions around each piece and to understand how contributors are approaching this session, we encourage you to briefly describe your interdisciplinary process, along these lines:

– What were some challenges, questions or reflections that emerged from your process of making this film/video?

– What do you believe are the kinds of possibilities and work that can emerge through further active interdisciplinary engagement between political ecologists and filmmakers?

– What are the ways in which you think/plan for/expect this work and process to give back to the contexts they draw on?

All submissions need to be made by 5th December to A maximum of 5 contributions will be included in our final proposal to the conference. Contact persons for each submission will be informed about the selection latest by 12th December.

Keywords: interdisciplinarity, environmental films, accessibility


Boes, T. (2013). Political Animals: “Serengeti Shall Not Die” and the Cultural Heritage of Mankind. German Studies Review, 36(1), 41–59.

Clark, K., Hawkins, R., & Silver, J. J. (2020). Gender, nature and nation: Resource nationalism on primary sector reality TV. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 3(4), 1196–1214.

Cronon, W. (1996). The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. Environmental History, 1(1), 7–28.

Debord, G. (1994). The society of the spectacle. Zone Books.

Geal, R. (2021). Ecological film theory and psychoanalysis: Surviving the environmental apocalypse in cinema. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Igoe, J. (2017). The nature of spectacle: On images, money, and conserving capitalism. The University of Arizona Press.

CfP POLLEN22: Synergy or contrast? When political ecology theoretical claims meet practical transdisciplinary challenges in social-ecological research projects

Organizers: Fanny Frick-Trzebitzky1* (, Heide Kerber1 (, Markus Rauchecker1 (

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Hamburger Allee 45, 60486 Frankfurt am Main

* Contact organizer


Addressing crises in societal relations to nature involves co-creation of knowledge among multiple disciplines and practitioners. Research in transdisciplinary mode involves collaboration with key stakeholders from problem framing to deriving conclusions. At the same time, crises in societal relations to nature are tied to power imbalances, for instance in shaping discourse on ‘sustainability problems’. Addressing these in a transdisciplinary setting involves a series of practical questions, starting from the distribution of funding among the research and practice partners involved in a transdisciplinary research project, especially when conducted in North-South collaborations.

Political ecology offers an enriching conceptual framework for systematically illuminating power asymmetries and uneven distributions of environmental change causes and impacts. While critical analyses provide key insights on how power relations reproduce crises in societal relations to nature, solution-oriented conclusions are rarely drawn. Here linking a political ecology lens with transdisciplinary research appears promising, as the latter implies the ambition of developing specific solutions towards sustainable and just development. However, what happens when the research subject is concurrently research partner? How to analyse power structures through the critical lens of political ecology while at the same time jointly defining a common research object and seeking knowledge integration as a transdisciplinary researcher? Furthermore, tension evolves around normativity. Researchers in political ecology and transdisciplinary research are themselves embedded in a web of power relations, and often witness sensitive situations. They thus have to constantly reflect on being both, analytical observers and participants in social transformation processes.

Against this backdrop, the panel seeks to take stock of challenges evolving around seeming contradictions, e.g. when working with actors who are subject to criticism, and the thereby arising double roles of actors involved (research subject, partner, analytical observer, participant in transformation) within applied research processes. We furthermore seek to explore the ethics of linking political ecology and transdisciplinary research approaches, methodologically and theoretically. In short, the panel aims to elaborate synergies and contradictions of political ecology approaches in relation to transdisciplinary social-ecological research.

Keywords: actor involvement, social-ecological research, co-production, power asymmetries, transdisciplinarity

Format of session: Panel

Call for Papers

We invite paper abstracts addressing practical challenges and experiences with reference to the aspects outlined above. Please send your abstract and additional information as follows:

Name, affiliation, presentation title (maximum 20 words), abstract (maximum 250 words), and 3 keywords

Submission deadline: November 30, 2021

Invitation for contribution: December 15, 2021