Political Ecologies Workshop

Next Event: November 22, 11-1pm (PCH 7.02): Reading Group on Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies 

Joost de Bloois: j.g.c.debloois@uva.nl

Jeff Diamanti: j.diamanti@uva.nl

This year’s New Political Ecologies Workshop explores emergent practices in the humanities and social sciences that help refigure disciplinary boundaries amidst social and environmental precarity. Political ecology names the interconnectivity of the materials, political forces, and economic forms that animate embodied relations to the earth. Those relations are co-constituted in a recursive fashion. The study of economy, ecology, or politics in isolation becomes a reactionary impediment to any effort to overcome the dominant condition of the present, marked as it is by asymmetrical exposures to capitalism’s exertion of extractive and exhausting violence over the bodies, climates, and energies of the planet. New political ecologies are emerging across the disciplines, cultural spheres, and social movements that help bring the nature of those violence into relief. These include new work on care (Bellacasa 2017), energy and transportation infrastructures (Anend et al., 2018), degrowth (D’Alisa 2014), geopower (Povinelli 2016; Yusoff 2018), petroculture (Szeman 2019), post-sustainability (Stoekl 2007/2019), waste (Boetzkes 2019), and toxic bios (Lengo and Armiero 2017).

This year’s workshop is committed to exploring these new conceptual, artistic, and critical orientations and to putting into practice a form of creative and collaborative research necessary for new forms of knowledge production in warming and exhausted world. The structure of the workshop will include a variety of public talks, reading groups, and collaborative research projects that help bridge the gap between social, physical, and economic ecologies. What is the political ecology of infrastructure space, non-institutional media outlets, unregulated labour markets, and the biomes pulled into the swell of rising seas and heated atmospheres? Who to turn to in order to begin thinking through such new ecologies? How do existing and new artistic practices help create encounters with these entangled environments, and what are the critical traditions most relevant for supporting and elaborating those encounters (from Guattari’s ‘three ecologies’ to Bataille’s ‘general economy’, from autonomism to biopolitics)? And what kinds of conceptual attachments aid us in building out an immersive political ecology not saturated by precarity?

We propose the following activities, as part of the continued workshop ‘New Political Ecologies’. The 2019-2020 workshop can be seen as an ecology of sorts: a series of related and interconnected activities that allow participants to address the questions raised above. The study group ‘New Political Ecologies’ will provide theoretical consistency and continuity, by means of a conceptual milieu for the proposed activities.

Email organizers for more information or to enrol in the workshop for ECs.

Upcoming Events: 

  • November 22, 11-1pm (PCH 7.02): Reading group on Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies
  • November 28/29 (co-sponsored with the Sandberg Institute): Masterclass and Public Lecture by Dr. Oxana Timofeeva
  • February (date TBD): Masterclass and Public Lecture by Dr. Cymene Howe on Ecologics 
  • March (date TBD): Masterclass and Public lecture by Dr. Andreas Malm on the political ecology of fossil fuels
  • April (date TBD): seminar with dr. Marlon Miguel (ICI Berlin) on the work of Fernand Deligny
  • May (date TBD): seminar with dr. Erik Bordeleau (Montreal/ICI Berlin) on communism and cryptocurrencies