Calls: Conferences, meetings, publications
Book Reviews & Notes
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Signing off from the editor
After five years at the helm, I have decided to step down from the helm of the CAPE Newsletter. The proximate reason is that I am moving to the University of Melbourne in Australia, and distance from North America will make keeping in touch with the pulse of the Group, and attendance at the annual meetings, more difficult.
I always enjoyed receiving the Newsletter when I was a graduate student at Clark. I started editing it while teaching geography at Brunel University in Britain (a fine Department, now faced with closure as the result of the university restructuring typical of British universities), before moving to the London School of Economics and teaching some dauntingly talented graduate students on the Masters in Environment and Development for a couple of years. Distance from America seemed to make little difference since the LSE was a hub for all sorts of networks - Group members that showed up in London included Harold Brookfield (who actually did his PhD at LSE, well before I was born!), Susanne Freidberg, David Carr, Piers Blaikie, Bill Adams, Tony Bebbington, Larry Grossman, Nayna Jhaveri, Doug Johnson, Ben Wisner and Paul Robbins. Many of my LSE students are now embedded in international NGOs and the UN system, practicing their craft. I moved to a more permanent job at the University of Arizona in 2001 - political ecology at the LSE lives on since Tim Forsyth continues to teach the Masters and Ben Wisner is a visiting fellow. At the University of Arizona I discovered a fascinating range of new research topics, and a node of political ecology - the work of Tom Sheridan in anthropology, Diana Liverman in geography, human ecologist Steve Lansing, and colleagues Jim Greenberg and Tad Park, with whom I now edit the Journal of Political Ecology. To teach a graduate seminar in political ecology was a natural step. We were surrounded by threatened desert ecosystems, artificial lawns, land wrested form local peoples, and all the trappings of Western power-politics. Yet key departures at UofA, the deadening hand of current US politics, and worries over my family's temporary visa status have prompted a further move (winning me the "Grass is Always Greener" award - highly appropriate if you know Tucson's environmental conditions - and a substantial roasting, at the Departmental dinner this year!). I am joining an emerging hub of activity in Melbourne, where there are groups of faculty and students at Monash, RMIT and U. Melbourne, good PhD and Masters possibilities, and a strong environmentalist presence.
One of my key points over the years as editor is that cultural and political ecology are truly international (see previous issues of this Newsletter, and the Centennial plenary session commentaries to be published here soon). So Australia is not that far. While many of us conduct research overseas, our audiences are firmly at home in our universities and journals. Yet our field has always operated with a series of "nodes" in places like southern California and London, where the quotient of nature-society geographers is above average and a seminar series draws a crowd, with more isolated researchers spread out mainly in North American universities. Or so it seems. The message I have tried to impart in the Newsletter is that the nodes and networks are far more widespread, multi-lingual, and exist in cognate fields. Since ours is the only group in geography devoted to the field, internationalization is something CAPE needs to promote - there are no comparable specialty groups in other countries. Thus, the role of academic networks like ours is not only to reach out, but also to absorb, read, and network with the work of international scholars.
In my case, the field has been attractive not only because of its analytical power - to explain everything from West African drought management to international development failures - but also because it signals the importance of environmental concerns and "loss" in a fast-changing world. It can make empirically justifiable arguments about land use change, environmental quality, and sustainability that result from the pace of globalization, development, prolifigate resource use and everyday activity, both here in the USA and internationally. I see fast-changing human-environment relationships everywhere I travel - perhaps an unhealthy geographical obsession! Cultural and political ecology, for me, is more than a set of analytical techniques, and is not constrained to the academic environment in North America. I think some of our Award winners, and Group members, share this ecumenical view - at least I hope so.
The Newsletter has moved with me, and it has had three different web addresses over the last five years. It has certainly kept me busy, and I have enjoyed receiving your information, and appropriating more from disparate sources - obscure web sites and conference gossip have certainly played a role. There is something rather satisfying about being your own editor, and circulating information within minutes of its arrival - this, really, is one of the major advantages of the web. I hope the Newsletter will flourish as Eric Perramond takes over web editing duties this summer.
Best wishes and thanks for reading. Keep in touch.
At the Philadelphia AAG meeting, a new slate of Officers were elected. The new Chair is Brad Jokisch of Ohio University. Details here
Winners of 2004 Netting and Blaut awards
The winner of the 2004 Robert McC. Netting Award - in recognition of distinguished research and professional activities that bridge geography and anthropology - is Prof. Lawrence Grossman of Virginia Tech. A testimonial by Phil Porter is posted.
Winner of the 2003 James M. Blaut Award in recognition of innovative scholarship in cultural and political ecology, as demonstrated by publication of Colonialism and Landscape (2002, Rowman & Littlefield) is Andrew Sluyter of Louisiana State University.
Winner of the 2004 Student Awards
outgoing CAPE executive committee is pleased to announce the 2004 recipients of
the CAPE student awards.
The 2004 Cultural and Political Ecology Student Paper Award, with its cash prize of $100, goes to Farhana Sultana, University of Minnesota, for her paper, "Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: Analyzing the drinking water crisis in Bangladesh"
The 2004 Cultural and Political Ecology Student Field Study Award, worth $500, goes to Clark Gray, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, for his proposed project addressing transnational migration and environmental change.
The winners were the best among many excellent entries in both categories. We therefore congratulate all of the student entrants for representing the strong work being proposed and completed by students in the field. Paul Robbins
Member's survey 2004
A members survey was launched a few months ago to canvas views on 1) "Which are the three works (articles, books, documentaries, etc.) in the field of cultural/political ecology that have been most influential for you, your work, and/or your way of thinking?" and 2) "What are the most pressing questions to which research in the field should be turned?". Younger faculty members and graduate students were most numerous among the respondents. The result and discussion are reported here.
Minutes from 2004 AAG Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group Meeting, Philadelphia, 18 March 2004
i. Bill Moseley (Macalaster; Central Councilor)—approved unanimously
ii. James McCarthy (PSU; Eastern Councilor)—approved unanimously
iii. Dereka Rushbrook (Arizona; Western Councilor)—approved unanimously. It was noted that Dereka is ABD, but PhD conferral is considered imminent.
iv. Student Representative(s): There were three nominees for this position: Michael Goodman (UCSC), Gabriela Valdivia (U Minnesota), and Deb Sinha (Clark). Each candidate introduced themselves and briefly described their work. Rather than voting to elect a single student Rep, the Chair proposed that CAPE rules be amended to accept up to three student Reps, reflecting as much as possible the three regions used to elect Councilors. The motion was approved; the three nominees were then approved.
Recorded by Susannah McCandless and Kendra McSweeney; submitted to CAPE Chair by K. McSweeney 20 April 2004.
Environment, Development and Sustainability: a multidisciplinary approach to the theory and practice of Sustainable Development is a journal that has been going since 1999. Although occasionally publishing some doom-watcher articles about long term sustainability and population-environment relationships, it looks to be a good outlet.
The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies is a free web journal published by Roskilde University in Denmark. Watch it evolve.The people at Roskilde are great - and include geographers, environmental scientists, and international development specialists.
Environmental justice scholars have traditionally been concerned with urban and industrial settings and the disproportionate burden of hazardous wastes and noxious land uses borne by poor communities and communities of color in advanced capitalist countries. Recent contributions to this literature have, however, sought to extend this mode of analysis to geographical settings within the global south. They have also expanded the field’s scope of inquiry beyond questions related to distributive justice (equality of benefits/burdens) to embrace civil rights (environmental racism), public participation (democratic decision-making), social justice (political-economic, social and cultural power relations), and ecological sustainability (inter-generational ethics). The proposed conference has been organized to explore both these new concepts and their application by scholars and activists in new global contexts.
Conference organizers: Richard Schroeder, 732/445-4019; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kevin St. Martin, 732/445-7394; Email: email@example.com, Bradley Wilson, PhD Candidate Ph: 732/729-1468; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference organizers invite participation by critical human geographers, anthropologists, environmental sociologists and others whose work makes an original contribution to this growing field of inquiry, perhaps by addressing one or more of the following themes. Papers adopting explicit north/south comparative frameworks are especially welcome:
Justice concepts embedded in diverse legal systems
Justice and rights discourse
Property, tenure and resource access
Indigeneity and sovereignty
Private/public property disputes
EJ movements abroad
Transnational movement linkages
Eminent domain and the state
Scales of justice
Regulation and resistance
International environmental racism
Class-based environmental injustice
Justice and market dynamics
Trees, Rain and Politics in Africa. The dynamics and politics of climatic and environmental change. St Anthony's College, University of Oxford, UK, 29th September - 1st October 2004. An interdisciplinary symposium on diverse aspects of the science, social science and politics of environmental change in Africa. Hosts: William Beinart, St Anthony's College, Oxford. Dan Brockington, SoGE, University of Oxford. Wendy James, University of Oxford. Paul Lane, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi. Michael Sheridan, University of Vermont. Enquiries to: Dan Brockington, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Mansfield Rd, Oxford, OX1 3TB, UK. email@example.com Further details on the conference are provided online. Preliminary session headings are:
1. Climate Change.
2. Palaeoecology and Archaeology.
3. Recent Environmental Histories.
4. Histories and Social Studies of Science.
5. Vegetation change, remote sensing and resource use.
6. The winners and losers of degradation and regeneration.
7. Environmental change and political discourse in states and villages.
The Sahara: Past, Present & Future. The University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. 22-24 June, 2004. UEA Saharan Studies Programme & ESRC as part of the ESRC's Social Science Week. The Conference will be divided, very broadly, into three
main fields: Archaeology and prehistory, The Physical environment, Recent History & Contemporary Social & Political Issues. The Journal of North African Studies will be publishing at least one Special Issue of selected conference papers.
The Conference is therefore keen to attract papers from geographers, social and political scientists, historians, economists, archaeologists, as well as all other researchers working on Saharan/North Africa issues. Note that
the Conference includes the Sahelian zones of Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan. For details regarding conference programme, submission of papers, registration fee, accommodation and travel arrangements,
see: www.uea.ac.uk/sahara. Jeremy Keenan firstname.lastname@example.org
International Symposium on Energy Production with Agricultural Carbon Utilization. June 10-11, 2004 Athens, GA USA. Topics Discussed Terra Preta Soils - Sustainable Agriculture - Renewable Energy - Sustainable Energy - Greenhouse Gas Stabilization - Soil Fertility - Crop Productivity - Energy Crop Viability - Carbon Credits - Viability of World Carbon Targets. For more information and to register: Visit the conference web site at http://www.georgiaitp.org/carbon [includes talks by Denevan, Hecht, Erickson, Woods!]
The University of Manchester, UK, has formed a School of Environment and Development as part of a university merger with nearby UMIST. The title alone is appealing to cultural and political ecologists. The new School, directed by physical geographer Prof. Clive Agnew, comprises the Institute for Development Policy and Management, and the Departments of Geography, Architecture and Planning. Prominent School members include Prof. Tony Bebbington of IDPM, and Noel Castree in Geography. Both Geography and IDPM offer a range of study opportunities to graduates. The new merger creates one of the largest universities in Britain.
Members' (or those who should be..) News
Phil Porter (emeritus, University of Minnesota) has been awarded 2004 Lifetime Achievement Honors from the AAG, for his contributions to human and physical geography. Phil was also the first winner of the CPESG Netting Award in 1996.
Susanne Freidberg (Dartmouth College) has been promoted to tenure - the first geographer working in our field to obtain tenure in the ivy league universities for some years (Dartmouth is the last remaining geography department in an ivy league university)!
Bill Adams (Cambridge University) has received the 2004 Busk Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (UK) for his interdisciplinary reearch on "conservation and sustainable development in Africa".
Michael Watts (Berkeley) has received the 2004 Victoria Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (UK) for his research on "political economy, culture and power".
Jeffrey Sasha Davis (PhD student, Penn State University) was appointed assistant professor of geography, University of Vermont, in fall 2003.
Jude L Fernando (visiting assistant professor, University of Arizona) has been appointed assistant professor, Dept. of International Development, Community and Environment, Clark University from Aug 2004.
Brian King (PhD student, University of Colorado) has been appointed assistant professor, Department of Geography, University of Texas, Austin, from August 2004.
Kathy McAfee (assistant professor, Yale University) has been appointed Executive Director of Food First - The Institute For Food and Development Policy, CA, from May 2004.
Firooza Pavri (assistant professor, Emporia State University , Ph.D. Ohio State) has been appointed assistant professor, University of Southern Maine, from August 2004.
John Unruh (associate professor, Indiana University) has been appointed associate professor, McGill University, Canada, from August 2004.
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