CfP: Entangled Neoliberal Natures

Entangled Neoliberal Natures:

Payments for Ecosystem Services as Sites of Contestation, Hybridization and Transformation


Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)

New Orleans, Louisiana

April 10-14, 2018


Session Organizers: Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza (Duke University), Gert Van Hecken (University of Antwerp), Pamela McElwee (Rutgers University), and Esteve Corbera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The concept of payments for ecosystem services (PES), through which financial incentives are provided to landowners for management practices thought to produce environmental benefits (i.e. carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, or cleaner and/or greater quantities of water downstream), initially emerged in the late 1980s and have since become a ubiquitous approach to environmental conservation. As a market-based environmental approach based on a neoclassical economic model intended to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental initiatives through voluntary, direct, market-like agreements between users and providers of environmental services (Wunder 2005), the PES approach matched well with and was bolstered by the neoliberal ideology that was then on the ascendency (Engel et al., 2008; Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2010, Norgaard 2010).

Accordingly, much of the critical scholarship on PES has been based on the framework of “neoliberal natures” (Heynen et al. 2007), with claims that imposing the structure of market logics and capitalist rationales on the conservation of nature is akin to allowing the lion to guard the lamb (Sullivan 2009; Norgaard 2010; McAfee 2012; Fletcher and Buscher 2017). However, although the original neoclassical economic model of PES largely continues to be upheld as the ideal by those who promote and fund PES, from multilateral lending institutions to international environmental NGOs, few if any initiatives conform to its constructs (Muradian et al. 2010; Kolinjivadi et al., 2017; Kosoy and Corbera 2010; Vatn 2010; Pirard 2012; Singh 2015; Van Hecken et al. 2015a). However, more recent, empirically grounded studies that both build on and push back against this body of critique, have explored these initiatives as “actually-existing neoliberalisms” (Bakker 2010, p 720), describing the nuanced processes through which the structure of neoliberal ideology at the foundation of PES is contested, transformed and hybridized through the agency of actors in the sites of implementation, from states, to social movements, to agrarian smallholders (McElwee 2012; Mahanty et al. 2012; Milne 2012; Shapiro-Garza 2013a; Shapiro-Garza 2013b; McElwee et al. 2014; Bétrisey and Mager 2015; Van Hecken et al. 2015b; vonHedeman and Osborne 2016; Kolinjivadi et al. 2016; Almeida-Leñero et al. 2017; Osborne and Shapiro-Garza 2017).

We are interested bringing together a collection of empirically grounded, theoretically informed presentations that explore the many ways in which the neoclassicial economic assumptions of a model of PES are or are not contested, hybridized and/or transformed by the grounded political, economic, socio-cultural dynamics of the sites of implementation. Some of the themes we are interested in exploring include the ways in which the following factors work to entangle the neoliberal logics of these initiatives to, successfully or not, through:

●      Historical trajectories in the sites of implementation that run counter to neoliberal constructs;

●      Alternative values held for the socio-natural systems;

●      Dynamics of power and inequality;

●      Institutional structures and constructs.

We are also interested in papers that include a more explicit discussion of the methods or theoretical frameworks that allow for the study of these processes.

Please send a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words by October 20, 2018 to Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza (elizabeth[dot]shapiro[at] Feel free to contact us in advance with preliminary interests, ideas and questions about these sessions.



Almeida-Leñero, L., Revollo-Fernández, D., Caro-Borrero, A., Ruiz-Mallén, I., Corbera, E., Mazari-Hiriart, M. And Figueroa, F., 2017. Not the same for everyone: Community views of Mexico’s payment for environmental services programmes. Environmental Conservation, pp.1-11.

Bétrisey F., Mager, C., 2015. Les paiements pour services environnementaux de la Fondation Natura Bolivia entre logiques réciprocitaires, redistributives et marchandes. Revue Française de Socio-Economie 2015/1(15), 39-58.

Fletcher, R., Büscher, B., 2017. The PES Conceit: Revisiting the Relationship between Payments for Environmental Services and Neoliberal Conservation. Ecological Economics 132, 224-23

Heynen, N., McCarthy, J., Robbins, P., Prudham, S. (Eds.), 2007. Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences. Routledge, New York.

Kolinjivadi, V., Charré, S., Adamowski, J., Kosoy, N., 2016. Economic Experiments for Collective Action in the Kyrgyz Republic: Lessons for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Ecological Economics.

Kolinjivadi, V., Van Hecken, G., Vela Almeida, D., Kosoy, N., Dupras, J., 2017. Neoliberal performatives and the “making” of payments for ecosystem services (PES). forthcoming in Progress in Human Geography.

Mahanty, S., Milne, S., Dressler, W., Filer, C., 2012. The social life of forest carbon: property and politics in the production of a new commodity. Human Ecology 40(5), 661-664.

McAfee, K., 2012. The Contradictory Logic of Global Ecosystem Services Markets. Development and Change 43, 105-131.

McElwee, P.D., 2012. Payments for environmental services as neoliberal market-based forest conservation in Vietnam: Panacea or problem?. Geoforum, 43(3), pp.412-426.

McElwee, P., Nghiem, T., Le, H., Vu, H., Tran, N., 2014. Payments for environmental services and contested neoliberalisation in developing countries: A case study from Vietnam. Journal of Rural Studies 36, 423-440.

Milne, S., Adams, W.M., 2012. Market masquerades: uncoveing the politics of community-level payments for environmental services in Cambodia. Development and Change 43, 133–158.

Muradian, R., Corbera, E., Pascual, U., Kosoy, N., May, P.H., 2010. Reconciling theory and practice: An alternative conceptual framework for understanding payments for environmental services. Ecological Economics 69, 1202-1208.

Osborne, T., Shapiro-Garza, E., 2017. Embedding carbon markets: Complicating commodification of ecosystem services in Mexico’s forests. Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

Pirard, R., 2012. Market-based instruments for biodiversity and ecosystem services: A lexicon. Environmental Science and Policy 19-20, 59-68.

Shapiro-Garza, E., 2013a. Contesting the market-based nature of Mexico’s national payments for ecosystem services programs: Four sites of articulation and hybridization. Geoforum 46, 5-15.

Shapiro-Garza, E., 2013b. Contesting market-based conservation: Payments for ecosystem services as a surface of engagement for rural social movements in Mexico. Human Geography 6(1), 134-150.

Singh, N.M., 2015. Payments for ecosystem services and the gift paradigm: Sharing the burden and joy of environmental care. Ecological Economics 117, 53-61.

Tacconi, L., 2012. Redefining payments for environmental services. Ecological Economics 73, 29-36.

Van Hecken, G., Bastiaensen, J., Windey, C., 2015a. Towards a power-sensitive and socially-informed analysis of payments for ecosystem services (PES): Addressing the gaps in the current debate. Ecological Economics 120, 117-125.

Van Hecken, G., Bastiaensen, J., Huybrechs, F., 2015b. What’s in a name? Epistemic perspectives and Payments for Ecosystem Services policies in Nicaragua. Geoforum 63, 55-66.

Vatn, A., 2010. An institutional analysis of payments for environmental services. Ecological Econimics 69 (6), 1245–1252.

vonHedemann, N. and Osborne, T. 2016. State Forestry Incentives and Community Stewardship: A Political Ecology of Payments and Compensation for Ecosystem Services in Guatemala’s Highlands. Journal of Latin American Geography, 15(1), 83-110.

Wunder, S., 2005. Payments for environmental services: some nuts and bolts, Occasional Paper No. 42. Bogor, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

CfP: New and Changing Geographies of Wildlife Crime

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, April 10
14, 2018, New Orleans
New and Changing Geographies of Wildlife Crime

Organizers: Francis Massé (Dept. of Geography, York University), Jared Margulies (Department
of Politics, University of Sheffield)
Discussant: Bram Büscher (Wageningen University)

From extralegal rhino and elephant hunting, to illegal timber harvesting, to illegal, unregulated,
and underreported fishing (IUU), and the sourcing and trade of birds and reptiles, wildlife crime
and the responses to it are gaining increasing scholarly and policy attention. The International
Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) defines wildlife as “all fauna and flora”
(CITES, 2017). It defines crime as “acts committed contrary to national laws and regulations
intended to protect natural resources and to administer their management and use” (Ibid). At the
same time, wildlife crime is also transnational in scope, as the transport and sale of illicitly
harvested or otherwise protected species of fauna and flora make up the growing illegal wildlife
trade (IWT), a multi-billion dollar a year industry (UNDP, 2015).

Studying wildlife crime and the responses to it thus requires multiscalar research including the
spaces and sites of extraction, transit, and consumption of wildlife, to the connections and flows
in-between that span the local to the global. This includes spaces of conservation, the open seas,
surrounding communities, ports of entry and exit, global meetings, and (il)legal sites of purchase
and consumption both online and offline (Hansen et al., 2012; Hübschle, 2016a, 2016b; White,
2016). Efforts to combat wildlife crime similarly take us from local areas of sourcing, such as
protected areas (Lemieux, 2014; Lunstrum, 2014), to international forums and regional policing
agreements (White, 2016), and demand-reduction campaigns (TRAFFIC, 2017). Such efforts
involve communities (Massé et al., 2017; Roe et al., 2015) and increasingly more-thanconservation
actors, both state and non-state (Nurse, 2013). Put simply, wildlife crime and the
ways in which it is responded to are not relegated to a certain scale or political-ecological space.

Moreover, while much of the above might reflect or embody familiar geographical, politicalecological,
and socio-ecological dynamics, we are also seeing new and changing dynamics and
spatialities concerning wildlife crime and efforts to combat it (Büscher, Forthcoming). These
dynamics are shaped by a variety of factors including the very labelling of the illicit harvesting
of wildlife as “crime” and those who engage with harvesting as “criminals.” Wildlife crime is
also increasingly framed as a crisis, “war”, or a security issue connected to organized crime and
terrorism that enfold wildlife crime in geopolitical dynamics that are shaping responses to it and
where such responses take place (Büscher, Forthcoming; Duffy, 2014, 2016; Marijnen, 2017).

The result is that wildlife crime, responses to wildlife crime, and the studying of each is taking
place in new spaces and at new scales prompting an engagement with what might be termed
more-than-conservation spaces, actors, and interests. It is these changing geographies and related
political-/socio-ecological dynamics that this session is primarily interested in. Drawing on the
above, there are three key areas of focus for this session:

1. The spaces (and places) of wildlife crime and responses to it;
2. The ways in which the political-ecological and socio-ecological dynamics of wildlife crime
intersect with the geopolitical and political-geographic;
3. How these changes might influence or necessitate new approaches to studying wildlife crime.
Of particular interest are presentations that bring light to novel developments and/or changes to
each with a view to why such changes are occurring and what the implications might be.

Specific topics might include, but are not limited to:
• The changing spatialities and geographies of wildlife crime and the responses to it.
• Legal geographies related to the illicit harvesting of wildlife and the production of
“crime” and “criminals.”
• New understandings and problematizations of what might be considered “wildlife crime”
and wildlife law enforcement.
• The multi-scalar nature of wildlife crime and the connections between local and global
ecologies and political-dynamics.
• Shifting and new geopolitics and political-geographies of wildlife crime and responses.
• The intersection of wildlife crime and related enforcement measures with other sectors
and geopolitical, political-geographical, and political-ecological dynamics.
• Theoretical and conceptual approaches to studying wildlife crime.
• Innovative ways to study wildlife crime and responses to it.

Please e-mail abstracts of up to 250 words to Francis Massé ( and Jared
Margulies ( by October 20th. Successful applicants will be
contacted no later than October 22nd and will need to submit their abstract online to the AAG
portal thereafter.

Francis Massé, Ph.D. Candidate, York University
Jared Margulies, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Sheffield


Büscher, B. (Forthcoming). From Biopower to Ontopower? Violent Responses to Wildlife Crime
and the New Geographies of Conservation. Conservation and Society.
CITES. (2017). Wildlife Crime. from
Duffy, R. (2014). Waging a war to save biodiversity: the rise of militarized conservation.
International Affairs, 90(4), 819-834.
Duffy, R. (2016). War, by conservation. Geoforum, 69, 238-248.
Hansen, A. L. S., Li, A., Joly, D., Mekaru, S., & Brownstein, J. S. (2012). Digital surveillance: a
novel approach to monitoring the illegal wildlife trade. PLoS One, 7(12), e51156.
Hübschle, A. (2016a). Security coordination in an illegal market: the transnational trade in
rhinoceros horn. Politikon, 1-22.
Hübschle, A. (2016b). The social economy of rhino poaching: Of economic freedom fighters,
professional hunters and marginalized local people. Current Sociology,
Lemieux, A. M. (2014). Situational prevention of poaching: Routledge.
Lunstrum, E. (2014). Green Militarization: Anti-Poaching Efforts and the Spatial Contours of
Kruger National Park. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(4), 816-
Marijnen, E. (2017). The ‘green militarisation’of development aid: the European Commission
and the Virunga National Park, DR Congo. Third World Quarterly, 1-17.
Massé, F., Gardiner, A., Lubilo, R., & Themba, M. (2017). Inclusive Anti-poaching? Exploring
the Potential and Challenges of Community-based Anti-Poaching. South Africa Crime
Quarterly, 60, 19-27.
Nurse, A. (2013). Privatising the green police: the role of NGOs in wildlife law enforcement.
Crime, law and social change, 59(3), 305-318.
Roe, D., Cooney, R., Dublin, H. T., Challender, D. W., Biggs, D., Skinner, D., et al. (2015).
Beyond enforcement: engaging communities in tackling wildlife crime: International
Institute for Environment and Development
TRAFFIC. (2017). Consumer Behaviour Change leading to Demand Reduction. Retrieved Sept.
1, 2017, from
UNDP. (2015). Combating poaching and wildlife trafficking: A priority for UNDP.
White, R. (2016). Building NESTs to combat environmental crime networks. Trends in
Organized Crime, 1-18.

CfP: Coastal Restoration, Remediation and (Re)Development

Local, national, and supranational governments fund coastal restoration and remediation for a multitude of reasons. As local and regional economies restructure, and communities seek alternative futures for coastal areas, actors orchestrate new futures in a variety of ways. In recent years, technological changes have made it possible for coastal regions to formulate and experience richer paths of socio-economic transition, including industries beyond those based upon tourism, resource extraction, and shipping.

Comprehensively several of these new sectors have been incorporated by regional and supra-national policies, such as the EU Blue Growth Strategy, and new necessities to accommodate multiple views, needs, and stakeholders through new planning and policy approaches (e.g. Marine spatial Planning).

The emergence of these new themes has created the need to reframe, and to investigate how to implement and regulate sustainable transition process in coastal regions, with the inclusion of remediation and place-making approaches.

We welcome place-based papers examining the interrelationship between restoration/remediation, economic, and land use change in international or inland waters. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

-riparian zone placemaking;
-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding;
-the political ecology of second home development;
-environmental economic geography of marine areas;
-shoreland restoration land use policies and programs;
-heritage placemaking strategies in areas of coastal industry;
-scales of governance and actors’ politics of cooperation; and
-EU Blue Growth Strategy.

Deadline:  Please send your abstract and PIN to Marcello Graziano (, Matthew Liesch (, or Patrick Heidkamp ( by 5:00pm on Friday, October 25th.

CfP: Geographies of Climate Change Mitigation: Marketization, Financialization, and Decarbonization

Session: Geographies of Climate Change Mitigation: Marketization, Financialization, and Decarbonization

Organizers: Mark Cooper (Lund University / University of California, Davis); Wim Carton (Lund University); John Chung-En Liu (Occidental College)

Discussants: Jennifer Rice (University of Georgia); [second discussant t.b.a.]

The ratification of the Paris Agreement marked a new direction for climate governance. In contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement employs a bottom-up approach centered on coordinated, cooperative, multi-scalar activities. The Paris climate regime is not only likely to encourage an assortment of strategies for governing greenhouse gas emissions, but will implicate a new set of sites, scales, and actors in the mitigation of climate change. These emerging forms of emissions governance offer the potential for new forms of collaboration and social change, but will also bring new tensions and conflicts.

This growing diversity of strategies, sites, scales, and actors in climate mitigation necessitates that we diversify our theoretical, empirical, and analytical approaches, but also that we build new analyses and explanations that cohere across cases, places, and processes. Drawing inspiration from Bridge et al.’s (2013) analysis of energy transitions, the geographies of climate change mitigation can be said to entail: activities within or across specific territories and economies, the structural and contextual processes that condition mitigation activities, and the generation of new – and uneven – geographies through these activities.

By examining the geographies of climate governance we hope to engage some of the most pressing issues around climate change and society: What form does mitigation take in particular places, and how can we make sense of the development and effect of particular mitigation activities? What roles do different actors and governance structures play in these activities? How do the priorities of different actors align or conflict at different scales? What new geographical trends for mitigation are emerging within the Paris regime?

We aim to organize one or more sessions that bring together critical perspectives on climate change mitigation and the role of markets, finance, and regulation in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize economies. Our aim is for these sessions to bring together perspectives on both the Global North and Global South, to highlight the intertwined character of geographically differentiated processes, and to explore new ways of analyzing and theorizing climate change mitigation. Paper topics could include, but are not limited to:
– Compliance-based policy instruments such as carbon taxes and cap-and-trade
– Programs that encourage the economization of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of low-carbon economies
– Non-state governance programs including private standards and sector initiatives
– Carbon offsetting and offset programs such as CDM and REDD+
– Climate finance and investment in low-carbon development
– The role of economists, policy advisors, private sector actors, and NGOs in the development, implementation, function, or contestation of mitigation programs
– The political economy and politics of greenhouse gas mitigation and decarbonization within particular territories or sectors
– Perspectives on climate justice and responsibility for mitigation post-Paris, and processes of uneven development in the implementation of mitigation programs.

To aid the discussants for this session, presenters will be asked to submit a written paper several weeks before the conference.
Please email abstracts (up to 250 words) to Mark Cooper ( by October 21st. We will confirm participation by October 23rd.

CfP: The Geopolitics of Digital Media

The Geopolitics of Digital Media
paper session
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
(New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018)

Organizer: Paul C. Adams, Department of Geography and the Environment,
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

Digital media are reshaping geopolitics in complicated ways, from the
cooperation of Wikileaks with Russian hackers, to the colonization of
Facebook by Russian troll farms, to Donald Trump’s use of Twitter to
broadcast insulting nicknames, to alt-right news sites created by
Macedonian teenagers, to the efforts by repressive states to curtail
and control flows of digital information.

The intersections between geopolitics and digital media are most
evident when one observes flows of digital code that carry explicitly
geopolitical messages and imagery. However, data flows that are not
initially relevant to geopolitics also get drawn into geopolitical
processes through psychometric profiling and the targeting of
political messages as communications that would not have been
considered “political” are drawn into political processes such as
elections and referendums through the convergence of social media,
digital surveillance, and the proliferation of databases. These
processes operate within state borders but also cross borders in
slippery ways, blending mediatized politics with mediatized

This paper session will bring together various perspectives on digital
media and geopolitics. Any paper is suitable that brings together
digital media and geopolitics, whether emphasizing popular
geopolitics, formal geopolitics, or practical geopolitics, and
regardless of the type of digital communication under consideration.

Anyone interested in participating should send an abstract conforming
to the requirements of the AAG (see by
October 21 to Paul Adams (

CfP: Politics of State-Change: Matter and Transition

Politics of State-Change: Matter and Transition

Call for papers: AAG New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018

Dr Ingrid A. Medby (Oxford Brookes University) and Prof. Jason Dittmer (UCL)

Central to the politics of recent months have been concerns with the materialization of particular versions of the past in the present, with Confederate monuments serving as a flashpoint for protest, counter-protest, and bloodshed. The removal of the statues in question (and the white supremacy they materialize) is seen by both sides as a potential existential threshold that will tip the polity into a new state of being.

At the same time, debate continues to rage about climate change and our political responsibilities in the Anthropocene, not least as the US plans to withdraw from global mitigation efforts. Here, the concern is with matter in transition; it is disappearing, appearing, or reappearing precisely due to our lack of action.

Uniting these examples is the politics of presence and absence, of the material and immaterial; and at its core, the politics of matter and its transformation. Political geographers have produced rich bodies of work on both memorializations and materialities, on symbolism, affect, and the more-than-human. What we seek to interrogate in this session, however, is neither the physical absence nor presence per se, neither the solid nor the fluid. Instead, we wish to consider the state-change itself: the political effects of the processual transformation, whatever the cause or matter. From absent to present, or vice versa; from immaterial to material; from land to water to gas, solid, liquid, and air. What do these changes themselves ‘do’ to politics? How can we think of matter in its multiplicity? What are the consequences of something lost, forgotten, backgrounded, or absent reappearing – or vice versa? How are, should and can such change be responded to politically, and/or academically by political geographers? What does it do to our academic work to truly take into account the event of change itself?

We invite papers that consider these broad conceptual issues, with the aim of fostering interesting discussions.  Researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts that relate to topics broadly engaging with the above.

Please email your abstract of no more than 250 words (and/or any questions) to Ingrid A. Medby ( Please include institutional affiliation, contact details, etc. Successful participants will have to pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website before October 25, 2017.

CfP: Disrupting the Frontier/Homeland Binary: Practices of Local-Scale and Indigenous Development

Disrupting the Frontier/Homeland Binary: Practices of Local-Scale and Indigenous Development

American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting
New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018

Organizers: Mia Bennett (UCLA/University of Vienna) and Ingrid A. Medby (Oxford Brookes University)
Sponsors: Political Geography, Development Geographies, Indigenous Peoples, and Polar Geography Specialty Groups

In remote, ecologically vulnerable, and/or sparsely populated regions such as the Arctic and the Amazon, global capital and its associated mega-projects are often seen as synonymous with unsustainable, unrelenting growth. In contrast, local initiatives, particularly if directed by Indigenous populations, are often viewed as preferable: “If sustainable development is ever going to be achieved, it needs to begin with citizens at the grassroots level, whereby local success can be translated into national achievements” (Roseland 2012, xviii).

However, an uncritical preference for locally scaled policies and actions may at times be misguided, or at least in need of added nuance. A good deal of geographers and political ecologists assume that while political and economic processes take place at national and global scales, cultural and ecological processes happen at the local scale (Brown and Purcell, 2005). Yet, political and economic processes can and do arise from the local scale too, often running up against global-scale movements that seek, for instance, to conserve the environment. The Arctic offers one example, where entrepreneurial Indigenous groups, like Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in Alaska, champion offshore oil and gas, while Greenpeace continues its campaign to “Save the Arctic.” Local actors – many of them Indigenous – thus often seek the right to development (Gibbs, 2005; Salomon and Sengupta, 2003), at odds with outsiders’ expectations of specific, often romanticized, practices and performativities of both “Indigeneity” and local-scale identities. When Indigenous and local actors are in the race for global capital to fund industrial development on their land, this complicates any supposed binary between homeland and frontier, between passive dwelling and active usage. In a time when decolonizing geographical knowledges has been high on the agenda, questioning assumptions about so-called “rootedness” and “stewardship”, and about what kind of “development” is considered legitimate in accordance with assumed role-enactments, is needed.

This session seeks to explore Indigeneity in the 21st century, especially in so-called “frontier” regions: How it is expected to be performed, how it actually plays out in practice, and not least, how expectations are challenged and disrupted. Recognizing that there is no single Indigenous trajectory, let alone a homogenous “Fourth World,” we seek to stimulate cross-regional dialogues that bring different experiences to bear on one another.

While far from an exhaustive list, possible topics include:

  • Geographies of Indigeneity
  • Expectations and performances of Indigeneity
  • Tribal capitalism, Indigenous enterprise development, and Indigenous political economies
  • Practices and policies of Indigenous corporations
  • Consequences of land claims agreements on development
  • Indigenous resistance to and/or accommodation of the state and capital
  • Debates over the “right to development” in regions often perceived as “frontiers”
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledges (TEK), and particularly how they might be employed in and/or deployed against development

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, along with your institutional affiliation and contact details, to Mia Bennett ( and Ingrid A. Medby ( by October 23, 2017We will notify accepted applicants by October 24, 2017Successful participants will need to pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website before October 25, 2017.


Brown, J. C., & Purcell, M. (2005). There’s nothing inherent about scale: political ecology, the local trap, and the politics of development in the Brazilian Amazon. Geoforum36(5), 607-624.

Gibbs, M. (2005). The right to development and indigenous peoples: Lessons from New Zealand. World Development33(8), 1365-1378.

Roseland, M. (2012). Toward sustainable communities: Solutions for citizens and their governments (Vol. 6). Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

Salomon, M. E., & Sengupta, A. (2003). The right to development: Obligations of states and the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. London: Minority Rights Group International.

CfP: Violent Atmospheres and Weathered Livelihoods in Southeast Asia

Call for Papers AAG – New Orleans, 2018
Violent Atmospheres and Weathered Livelihoods in Southeast Asia
Wolfram Dressler, School of Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia
Mary Mostafanezhad, Department of Geography, University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa
Discussant: Jason Moore, Department of Sociology, Binghamton University, New York
Emerging work on the political ecology of environmental crises addresses the social and material production of crisis and its relation to changing modes of production, and new configurations of capital. Scholars’ framings of crises have drawn upon Marxist conceptualizations of crisis theory and the internal contradictions of capital accumulation. The “crisis as contradiction” has provided analytical fodder for social theorists who have used crisis as a way into critically engaging these internal contradictions (Harvey, 2011, 2015; Moore, 2011, 2015). Early on, Sahlins (1972), for instance, referred to disasters as “revelatory crises” involving processes by which the structural contradictions of the mode of production are revealed through interruptions to socio-economic life that cannot be ignored. A crisis of social reproduction can also result in the exposure of the structural contradictions of modes of production (Watts,1987; Watts, 2017). Yet, crises resulting from contradictions in modes of production do not always reveal more than they conceal. Crises have also been shown to further conceal the deteriorating conditions and relations of production by diverting attention to the branches of crisis itself rather than its structural roots (Soloway, 1994). In other cases, critical scholarship has increasingly interrogated how the moments and periods of ecological disaster can drive acute financial crises (Peet, Robbins & Watts, 2010). Capitalist brokers exploit and ‘overcome’ crises through the further extraction of value through spatial fixes by reorganizing, expanding and connecting ideas, capital and labour to create new markets and financing opportunities (Harvey, 2001, 23). Still others have pointed to the relation between environmental crises and the geographical patterns of metabolic rift produced in part through the division of labor between the “town and countryside”. These relations are seen as reflective of the socioecological contradictions internal to the development of capitalism and the development of environmental crisis itself (Moore, 2015). In Southeast Asia, theories of environmental crises are increasingly brought to bear on regional agrarian and livelihood transitions. Discourses of deforestation, for example, are often framed by urban dwellers as environmental crises that are widely blamed on the rural poor (Mostafanezhad et al., 2016; Montefrio and Dressler, 2016).
In this call for papers we aim to address how various forms of atmospheric crisis emerge, manifest and are represented in the context of capital over-accumulation and livelihood transitions in mainland and insular Southeast Asia. We seek papers that critically engage how violent atmospheric processes and events such as climate change, haze and air pollution intersect with and impact upon other socio-political, economic and environmental process in rural and urban spaces. Rightly or wrongly, violent atmospheres are attributed to a range of sources –small-scale farming, fuel wood burning, urbanization, agro-industrial expansion, and large-scale land conversion etc– that are entangled with livelihoods, emerging translocal struggles and conflicts, and dominant discourses of modernization.
The papers in this panel will address the ways in which blame and responsibility for the causes of environmental crises are represented in official and popular discourses, as well as how these discourses, in turn, mediate everyday practices of environmental governmentality that both challenge and enable livelihood practices. Livelihood transitions and related processes are driving changes in urban-rural land relations in Southeast Asia that often reproduce ethnic, class and urban-rural relations. When we dig to the core of debates over atmospheric crises, we often find historically layered and highly politicized livelihood struggles. In this way, livelihoods in crisis are intimately entangled in webs of meaning as well as modes of production. This panel seeks to integrate emerging scholarship on the political ecology of livelihoods with violent environments (Peluso & Watts, 2001), in order to push forward new understandings of how the material and discursive production of environmental crises mediate increasingly interrelated urban-rural livelihoods in Southeast Asia.
Papers may cover a range of themes and issues in Southeast Asia such as:
– the political economy of haze (and other atmospheric pollutants)
– agro-industrialization, livelihoods and micro-climates
– peasant resistance, social movements, and climate change
– indigenous perceptions of, and adaptation to, extreme weather events/ El Niño/ climate change
– livelihood change, migration and extreme weather (rural-urban nexus)
If you are interested in joining our panel, please send your title and abstract to Wolfram Dressler ( and Mary Mostafanezhad ( by October 20th.
Harvey, D. (2015). Crisis theory and the falling rate of profit. In Subasat, T. (Eds) The Great Financial Meltdown (pp. 37-54). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Harvey, D. (2011). The enigma of capital: and the crises of capitalism, London: Profile Books.
Moore, J. W. (2011). “Transcending the metabolic rift: a theory of crises in the capitalist world-ecology.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 38(1): 1-46.
Moore, J. W. (2015). Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. New York: Verso Books.
Montefrio, M. J. F., & Dressler, W. H. (2016). The green economy and constructions of the “idle” and “unproductive” uplands in the Philippines. World Development, 79,114-126.
Mostafanezhad, M., Norum, R., Shelton, and E., Thompson, A. (2016). Political Ecology of Tourism: Community, Power and the Environment. New York: Routledge.
Peet, R., Robbins, P., & Watts, M. (Eds.). (2010). Global Political Ecology. New York: Routledge.
Peluso, N. L., & Watts, M. (Eds.). (2001). Violent environments. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Sahlins, Marshall. 1972. Stone age economics. Chicago: Aldine and Atherton.
Watts, M. (1987). Drought, environment and food security: some reflections on peasants, pastoralists and commoditization in dryland West Africa. Drought and hunger in Africa. 171-211.
Watts, M. J. (2017). “Frontiers: Authority, Precarity, and Insurgency at the Edge of the State.” World Development (in press).

CfP: Engaging Southern Theory: Challenging Hierarchies of Knowledge & Place


AAG 2018 – April 10-14, New Orleans


Engaging Southern Theory: Challenging Hierarchies of Knowledge & Place

Amy Piedalue, Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne

Susmita Rishi, University of Washington, Seattle


In the last decade, critical scholars across the social sciences have renewed critiques of geographic hierarchies of knowledge production, and issued a variety of calls for a reexamination of power that questions “the territory of thought itself” (Roy and Crane, 2015).  Several such provocations aim to unsettle geographic imaginations of ‘the global south,’ and particularly to divest from the presumption that ‘the south’ produces only raw data and never theory (Roy & Crane 2015; Roy 2016; Comaroff & Comaroff 2012; Connell 2007). This session aims to extend this call for deeper engagement with ‘theory from the south,’ while simultaneously dislodging fixed geographic notions of ‘north and south’, ‘east and west’. This requires “… a departure from the usual business of intellectual extraction, whereby colonized places and peoples become objectified sources of ‘raw data’. We suggest instead that our imperial present and the histories it calls forth might be better interrogated through [a re-positioning of ‘south’ that] draws attention to power and inequality (rather than reproducing colonial geographic hierarchies of ‘civility’ or modernity). As such, ‘southern theory’ must be charted not onto the colonial maps we’ve inherited, but rather through a process of counter-mapping that values the insights and theories that emerge from positions of struggle and marginality” (Piedalue & Rishi, forthcoming). In this way, ‘southern theory’ might better centralize the operation of power through and in knowledge regimes by instead “view[ing] ‘south’ as a flexible and mobile marker that draws our gaze to the operation of imperial power, manifest in complex inequalities articulated at local and global scales” (Piedalue & Rishi, forthcoming).

In this session, we seek to open a conversation that showcases forms of ‘southern theory,’ which build such theoretical interventions through grounded empirical research and examples. We also recognize and emphasize the importance of learning from theory/knowledge-making that already enacts such a critical ‘southern theory’ approach, including by rejecting white settler, colonial, and imperial geographic imaginaries – such as theoretical interventions made by postcolonial, decolonial and critical race feminisms and/or through centering Indigenous ontologies (i.e. Smith, L.T. 2012; Sandoval 2000; Mohanty 2003; McKitttrick 2006; McKittrick and Woods 2007; Hunt 2013, 2014; Abu-Lughod 2013; Goeman 2013; Lowe 2015; Moreton-Robinson 2015). We envision this conversation to take place in two parts, first as a traditional paper session, then followed by a discussion session. We are interested in empirically-rich research that engages with existing bodies of theory and knowledge produced in ‘the south’, or draws upon feminist and action research partnerships to showcase theoretical insights emerging from commonly marginalized sites of social life, political struggle, and/or economic survival.

For both the paper session and the discussion session, we ask you to send us an abstract of the requisite 250 words. Please be sure to indicate in your email whether you want to be part of the paper or discussion session or both. Please send abstracts to Amy Piedalue ( and Susmita Rishi ( by Friday, October 20th. We will be in touch by Mon. Oct. 23rd and will need AAG PINs from participants by Wed. Oct 25th.



Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2013. Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Comaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff. 2012. Theory from the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving toward Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers.

Connell, Raewyn. 2007. Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.

Goeman, Mishuana. 2013. Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press.

Hunt, Sarah. 2013. “Decolonizing Sex Work: Developing an Intersectional Indigenous Approach.” In Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy, and Research on Sex Work in Canada, edited by Emily Van der Meulen, Elya M Durisin, and Victoria Love.

Hunt, Sarah. 2014. “Ontologies of Indigeneity: The Politics of Embodying a Concept.” Cultural Geographies 21 (1): 27–32.

Lowe, Lisa. 2015. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham: Duke University Press Books.

McKittrick, Katherine. 2006. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

McKittrick, Katherine, and Clyde Adrian Woods. 2007. Black Geographies and the Politics of Place. Toronto, Ont.; Cambridge, Mass.: Between the Lines; South End Press.
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham; London: Duke University Press.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. 2015. The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty. Indigenous Americas. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

Roy, Ananya. 2016. “Who’s Afraid of Postcolonial Theory?” International Journal of Urban & Regional Research 40 (1): 200–209.

Roy, Ananya, and Emma Shaw Crane. 2015. Territories of Poverty Rethinking North and South. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Sandoval, Chela. 2000. Methodology of the Oppressed. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2012. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 2nd edition. New York: Zed Books.

2nd CfP: Contesting Border Formation(s): Territory, Crises, and Resistance

2nd CFP: AAG 2018

Contesting Border Formation(s): Territory, Crises, and Resistance

Vera Smirnova, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech
Jared Keyel, Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Borders are politically and socially produced phenomena, they appear as fixed, yet are always in flux. Borders are not merely edges but contested and strategic frontiers, crucial for (re)production of prevalent power relations. Border formation can be exploited to legitimize dispossession, land theft, or the displacement of marginalized communities and, as Agamben (2005) has argued, create states and zones of exception. Border (re)formation in response to the current economic crises and political instabilities has proven to be a disputed process whereby varied constellations of overlapping actors and interests seek to exploit moments of instability to consolidate and exercise power in novel ways.

‘Border’ as a concept has generated much research in the fields of political geography, political theory, and international relations, yet, it has received comparatively less attention than other scales of analysis such as ‘territory’ or ‘space’. Moreover, Anglophone scholarship on border formation, in many cases, is state-centric, primarily seeing borders as a state territorial container or coercive state power strategy (Soja, 1971; Gottmann, 1973; Sack, 1986; Taylor, 1994; Elden, 2009).

This session seeks contributions that contest border formation in the present moment and/or through their historical manifestations, advance understanding of borders that serve at once as a means of coercion and resistance, or perceive borders as lived spaces where both top-down and bottom-up practices overlap and often clash. We invite theoretically rich and/or empirically grounded papers that directly engage in problematizing border formation and together can unite, contribute, or advance the on-going debate.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

– Urbanization, dispossession, and displacement;
– Land appropriation, enclosure, and agrarian crisis;
– Migration and refugee crisis;
– Decolonization or new imperialism;
– Sovereignty and territoriality;
– Violence and territoriality;
– Borders in racialized or gendered marginalization;

If you are interested in joining the session, please send abstracts of up to 250 words to Vera Smirnova ( and Jared Keyel ( by October 20. Selections will be made by October 23.

Agamben G (2005) State of exception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Elden S (2009) Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Gottmann J (1973) Significance of Territory. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
Sack RD (1986) Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Soja E (1971) The Political Organization of Space. Washington, DC: Commission on College Geography, Association of American Geographers.