2017 Call For Papers

The EESG is very excited to be sponsoring proposed sessions for the AAG 2017 meeting in Boston, MA, April 5th- 9th. Please see below the calls for papers:

Paper Session

Critical Geographies of Energy Infrastructure:

Power, Politics, and Possibilities

Laura Tozer, University of Toronto

Anthony Levenda, Portland State University

Sarah Knuth, University of Michigan

Ingrid Behrsin, University of California, Davis

Today’s interconnected energy crises - worsening climate change; battles between fossil interests and challengers in a volatile global economy; economic decline, austerity, and new energy poverty; and deeply unequal global access to the benefits of reliable and clean energy supply - command political and scholarly attention. In this period of instability and transformation, energy infrastructures in particular have become increasingly powerful objects as loci of emerging technological revolutions and industry restructurings, major targets and stakes in geopolitical conflicts, and symbols of alternate futures.

We argue that energy geographers are well positioned to analyze and critique these emerging energy challenges, and to help cultivate desirable energy futures. Geographic approaches offer unique insights into the spaces and politics of infrastructure (re)production, from the political ecologies of violent extraction and urban metabolism to political economic treatments of urban-regional infrastructure privatization and industrial change, socio-technical work on low-carbon transitions, and cultural and geo-humanities engagements with infrastructural materialities and meanings.

This paper session aims to generate discussions about the future of critical energy geographies. Accordingly, we seek papers that engage with energy infrastructures from various perspectives and that are capable of provoking intellectually and politically creative conversations across areas of geographical inquiry. We seek to take up the challenge of understanding energy as a “physical medium through which to tilt the balance of power and exert social control,” (Calvert 2015), to emphasize the ethical implications of uneven energy infrastructure development (Huber 2015), and, taking the advice of anthropologists, to reflect upon what the role of energy, as a concept itself, does to our study of geography (Boyer 2014). We invite contributions that both engage in critique and/or move beyond it to envision and make possible productive, just, and “abundant futures” (Collard 2015).

Interested participants should send abstracts to anthonylevenda@gmail.com by Sept 30th. Participants will be notified of acceptance by October 10th.

Papers should focus on critical geographies of energy infrastructure, and may take up (but are not limited to) the following themes:

Space & Scale

  • The role of energy in the social production of space

  • Energy as a geographical, social, political concept

  • Scalar politics

Governance & Political Geographies of Energy

  • Sustainability, including low-carbon energy transitions

  • Energy infrastructure as political objects

  • Logistics, circulation, regulation

  • Ownership, management, control

  • Energy vulnerability, poverty, and space

Political Economy

  • Energy and the circuits of capital

  • New spatio-temporal fixation and the stranding of capital

  • Marketization and financialization

  • Metabolisms, circulations, flows


  • Transformation and disruption of established energy geographies

  • Upkeep, maintenance, repair, & labor

  • Spillage, leakage, excess

  • Standardization, quantification, commensuration


  • Myths, legends, metaphors, & rumors

  • Affective dimensions

Boyer, D. (2014). Energopower: an introduction. Anthropological Quarterly,87(2), 309-333.

Calvert, K. (2015). From ‘energy geography’ to ‘energy geographies’ Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Progress in Human Geography, 0309132514566343.

Collard, R. C., Dempsey, J., & Sundberg, J. (2015). A manifesto for abundant futures. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(2), 322-330.

Huber, M. (2015). Theorizing energy geographies. Geography Compass,9(6), 327-338.

Paper and Panel Session

Land Systems Science Symposium

Richard Aspinall, independent

Jane Southworth University of Florida

Ken Young University of Texas at Austin

Jacqueline Vadjunec Oklahoma State University

Burak Guneralp Texas A&M University

Andrew Millington Flinders University

The Land Systems Science Symposium at AAG in Boston will focus on advances in research on land systems and land systems change, focusing particularly on geographic perspectives.  The scope and contribution of land systems science and land change science have grown rapidly in the last few years, in basic and strategic research as well as in management and policy at local, regional, national and international scales.  Land systems science also provides insights into human-environment interactions and sustainability. 

The symposium will concentrate on advances in our understanding of the nature, dynamics and changes in land systems as coupled human and environmental systems. This includes:

  • Land system responses to driving factors related to globalization, including global trade, migration, demographic change, environmental changes, biodiversity losses, telecoupling
  • The nature and rates of land use and cover change, and associated impacts
  • Relationships between land systems, land management, and socio-ecological resilience
  • The role and potential of land systems science as an integral part of sustainability science, and contributions to addressing food, water, energy and environmental security
  • Intersections of Land Change Science, Political Ecology, Historical Geography, and other related fields surrounding land use and livelihoods
  •  Methodological developments in description of land systems and in the measurement and monitoring of changes
  • Indigenous perspectives on land, resource management, and sustainability
  • Uses of advanced GIS/remote sensing and modelling technologies
  • The increased availability of datasets (including Citizen Science), and increasing capability for modelling and analysis of change, that offer new insights into land systems and the nature of change
  • Sustainable land systems and landscapes, including analysis and design.

The symposium will be made up of a series of paper and panel sessions.  Geographers and others with active research expertise and interests in land systems science, land change, and land systems as coupled natural and human systems are encouraged to participate. This symposium builds on a long tradition of research in land use and land cover, and of coupled natural and human systems, within Geography, and on previous Land Systems Science Symposiums at AAG in Los Angeles (2013) and Chicago (2015). 

Papers addressing the symposium theme and the broad range of topics this includes are encouraged.  Sessions will be compiled from the individually submitted abstracts. Additionally, if you would like to link a full session you are in the process of organizing to the symposium, please contact us in advance.

Submitting papers:

1.    Submit your paper to the AAG Annual meeting website in the AAG format (http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/call_for_papers)

2.    Then forward the Title, Abstract and your participant ID to Richard Aspinall (rjaspinall10@gmail.com) as soon as possible.

Deadline27th October 2016.  Note: this is the same deadline as for submission of abstracts to AAG

Paper and Panel Session

Neo-Extractivism, Resource Nationalism, and ‘New’ Geographies of Resource Governance and Development

AAG Annual Meeting in Boston, April 5-9, 2017 

Meredith DeBoom, University of Colorado-Boulder

Emily Billo, Goucher College

Sponsored by: Cultural and Political Ecology, Development Geographies,  Political Geography, and Energy and Environment Specialty Groups

Deadline for Papers/Panel Proposals: October 13, 2017

Despite the political and economic challenges associated with commodity dependency, governments of many resource-rich states have placed a renewed emphasis on resource-based development over the past ten years. In countries such as Bolivia, South Africa, Ecuador, Namibia, Zambia, and Argentina, opposition and ruling political leaders have called for or implemented diverse reconfigurations of resource governance, resulting in new forms of “networked interactions of various state and non-state organizations and institutions operating at multiple sites and scales” (Himley, 2008: 435). These changes have often been accompanied by renewed rhetoric of national progress and resource nationalism, and also by political unrest rooted in environmental degradation, inequality, and violated property rights. This unrest has highlighted the injustices and violence often associated with state-led development and resource governance practices, including increased criminalization of environmental protests. Such developments at the “resource-state nexus” (Bridge, 2014) are of particular interest to geographers given the territorial fixity of resource deposits and the interconnections among land, resources, place-making, livelihoods, subject formation, and the state.

To date, however, research on the (re)turn to resource-based development has been hindered by regional and subfield-based research silos. These sessions aim to challenge this fragmentation by bringing Latin America-based studies of neo-extractivism (Gudynas, 2012; Burchardt and Dietz, 2014), resource-based struggles (Bebbington and Bury, 2013), and resource imaginaries (Coronil, 1997; Perreault and Valdivia, 2010) into conversation with research on petro-developmentalism (Ovadia, 2016), resource nationalism (Childs, 2015), and resource sovereignty in Africa (Emel et al., 2011), as well as research on resource governance in other regions. 

Through a paper session and panel discussion, we aim to connect scholarship on resource governance across a variety of regions and subfields, including political ecology, political geography, economic geography, development geography, legal geographies, and resource geographies. Our goal is to better understand the commonalities and divergences across shifting resource governance regimes and their implications for development and social and environmental justice at multiple scales.

1) Paper session: we invite papers that engage with resource governance in and across a variety of contexts. Both empirical and theoretical proposals are welcome. Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

o Continuities and divergences in resource governance under neoliberal and post-neoliberal/post-Washington Consensus extraction regimes

o Implications of new resource governance schemes for development challenges associated with commodity dependency (e.g., the resource curse)

o State-society relations and resource-based development

o Resource imaginaries, nationalism, place-making, and state-making

o Roles of foreign investment in domestic resource politics

o Resource extraction and the developmental or neo-developmental state

o Neo-extractivism and indigenous politics

o Scale in resource politics and associated scalar tensions

o Issues of enclosure, dispossession, property rights, and exclusion

o Criminalization of environmental protests

o Identity, subject formation, and social movements

o Sovereignty, territory, states, and extractive industries

o Methodological or fieldwork issues associated with researching resource governance

2) Roundtable/panel discussion: we invite expressions of interest by panelists who might speak to broader theoretical debates or to the practicalities of conducting research on resource governance.


Presenters interested in participating in the paper session are asked to submit a paper title and an abstract of no more than 250 words to the organizers by October 13, 2017. 

Presenters interested in participating in the panel discussion are asked to submit a brief description of 100-200 words overviewing the topics and themes about which they would like to speak by October 13, 2017.

Please direct submissions and questions to Emily Billo (emily.billo@goucher.edu) and Meredith DeBoom (meredith.deboom@colorado.edu).

Relevant Literature

Bebbington, A. and J. Bury (Eds.). 2013. Subterranean Struggles: New Dynamics of Mining, Oil, and Gas in Latin America. Austin: University of Texas Press. 

Bridge, G. 2014. Resource Geographies II: The Resource-State Nexus. Progress in Human Geography 38(1), 118-130.

Burchardt, H-J. and K. Dietz. 2014. (Neo-)extractivism: A New Challenge for Development Theory from Latin America. Third World Quarterly 35(3): 468-486.

Childs, J. 2016. Geography and Resource Nationalism: A Critical Review and Reframing. The Extractive Industries and Society 3: 539-546.

Childs, J. and J. Hearn. 2016. ‘New’ Nations: Resource-Based Development Imaginaries in Ghana and Ecuador. Third World Quarterly. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2016.1176859.

Coronil, F. 1997. The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Emel, J., M. Huber, and M. Makene. 2011. Extracting Sovereignty: Capital, Territory, and Gold Mining in Tanzania. Political Geography 35: 35-51.

Gudynas, E. 2012. Estado Compensador y Nuevos Extractivismos: Las Ambivalencias del Progresismo Sudamericano. Nueva Sociedad 237: 128-146.

Himley, M. 2008. Geographies of Environmental Governance: The Nexus of Nature and Neoliberalism. Geography Compass 2: 433-451.

Ovadia, J.S. 2016. The Petro-Developmental State in Africa: Making Oil Work in Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.

Perreault, T. and G. Valdivia. 2010. Hydrocarbons, Popular Protest and National Imaginaries: Ecuador and Bolivia in Comparative Context. Geoforum 41(5): 689-699.

Rosales, A. 2013. Going Underground: The Political Economy of the ‘Left Turn’ in South America. Third World Quarterly 38(8): 1443-1457.

Veltmeyer, H. and J. Petras (Eds.) 2014. The New Extractivism: A Post-Neoliberal Development Model or Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century? Zed Books. 

                                                                                                                                          Panel Session

Ecosystem services for poverty alleviation: a critical engagement

Esteve Corbera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Caroline Howe (University of Sheffield)

 Daniel Brockington (University of Sheffield)

Bill Adams (University of Cambridge)

Bhaskar Vira (University of Cambridge)

Description: Research focused on understanding the relationship between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation has flourished in recent years. It has been spurred by international research programs and initiatives (1,2), as well as by the mainstreaming or emergence of policy approaches focused on provisioning and non-marketed ecosystem services, such as sustainable resource management projects or payments for carbon and watershed services, among others (3,4,5). This research has generated key insights on, for example, how certain ecosystem services flows have key effects on income and other well-being dimensions (6,7), and how gender, social hierarchies and other socio-political and cultural domains influence the use of and benefits from ecosystem services (8,9).

Sponsored by the UK-ESPA project “Framing Debates about Poverty Reduction and Ecosystem Services” [http://www.espa.ac.uk/projects/ne-m007561-1], this session seeks to expand the debate in this field of enquiry and we thus welcome articles exploring one of the following topics and questions:

Topic 1: Epistemic communities in ecosystem services for poverty alleviation - Who is creating knowledge about the existing synergies/trade-offs between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation? Which ontologies and epistemologies are being represented and which consequences such perspectives have on available and missing knowledge? How is ‘poverty’ understood and framed by different communities, and in what ways do these framings reflect different views about ‘nature’ and the ‘environment’?

Topic 2: The justice implications of using ecosystem services for poverty eradication: What are the justice implications of documented links between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation research? E.g. who should guarantee the provision of ecosystem services, the world’s “poor” who depend directly on them or the urban “rich” who most indirectly benefit?

Topic 3: The policy domain of ecosystem services and poverty: How are national and international policies focused on “ecosystem services” dealing with poverty concerns and mobilizing the evidence generated so far? Or, vice versa, how are national and international policies focused on “poverty” accounting for the generated research insights? Which synergies are identified and how they aim to be pursued? Or, which trade-offs are acknowledged and how they are planned to be resolved?

 How to participate in the Panel:

Please register for the AAG at www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/register and submit your abstract to Esteve Corbera (esteve.corbera@uab.cat) by October 15th. We would inform you if the abstract has been selected for the panel by October 20th, and you would still have another week to submit it using the AAG online system (deadline October 27th).


1.     Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation: http://www.espa.ac.uk/about

2.     Natural Capital Project: http://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/

3.     Rasolofoson, R. A., P. J. Ferraro, G. Ruta, M. S. Rasamorlina, P. L. Randriankolona, H. O. Larsen, and J. P. G. Jones, Impacts of Community Forest Management on Human Economic Well-Being across Magadascar, Conservation Letters, pp. 1-8, 2016.

4.     Patenaude, G.., and K.. Lewis, The impacts of Tanzania's natural resource management programmes for ecosystem services and poverty alleviation, International Forestry Review, vol. 16, issue 4, pp. 459-473, 2014.

5.     Alix-García, J.M., K. Sims, P. Yáñez-Pagans, Only one tree from each seed? Environmental effectiveness and poverty alleviation in Mexico’s payments for ecosystem services program. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy7(4): 1-40.

6.     Suich, H., C. Howe, and G. Mace, Ecosystem services and poverty alleviation: A review of the empirical links, Ecosystem Services, vol. 12, pp. 137-147, 2015.

7.     Daw, T. M., S. Coulthard, W. W. L. Cheung, K. Brown, C. Abunge, D. Galafassi, G. D. Peterson, T. R. McClanahan, J. O. Omukoto, and L. Munyi, Evaluating taboo trade-offs in ecosystems services and human well-being, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 112, issue 22, pp. 6949-6954, 2015.

8.     Bebbington, D. Humphreys, Extraction, inequality and indigenous peoples: Insights from Bolivia, Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 33: Elsevier, pp. 438-446, 2013.

9.     Keane, A.., H.. Gurd, D.. Kaelo, MY.. Said, J.. De Leeuw, JM.. Rowcliffe, and K.. Homewood, Gender Differentiated Preferences For A Community-based Conservation Initiative, Plos One, 2016.

Paper Session

 'Energy Cultures, Communities and Consumption:
Exploring the social, political and cultural dynamics of energy system change'


Session Organizers:

Frances Fahy, Head of Geography, National University of Ireland, Galway

Jennie Stephens, Dean's Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy, Northeastern University

Energy systems are in transition from predominantly centralized fossil fuel-based infrastructures to more heterogeneous configurations that rely heavily on multiple types of renewable energy. Beyond technological change, this transition involves potential for fundamental social, cultural, and institutional shifts in individual, household, and community assumptions about energy consumption as well as new opportunities for ownership, engagement and control of energy production. Enhanced understanding of the interconnected socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-economic dynamics of energy system change offers insights with relevance to current initiatives and future scenarios.


For this proposed session on we invite papers that critically examine the social, political and cultural dynamics of energy system change.  Papers may include, but are not limited to themes such as:

  • Energy communities

  • Energy consumption reduction initiatives

  • Innovative energy interventions 

  • Local and community ownership of renewables

  • Gender and Energy

  • Energy Cultures

  • Good practice cases which reflect the drivers of individual and collective energy choices and energy-related behaviors

Submission procedure: 

If you are interested in joining this paper session, please submit a 250-word abstract to Frances Fahy (frances.fahy@nuigalway.ie ) by Friday October 20th. Please feel free to contact Frances Fahy or Jennie Stephens (j.stephens@northeastern.edu) about potential paper topics or with other questions concerning this call. We will get back to you before October 25th.  Please note that participants are also expected to register and submit their abstracts through the AAG website themselves by October 27th at latest. More details about the AAG-meeting can be found here: http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/call_for_papers.


                                                                                                                     Paper and Panel Session

                                                                                       Framing urban sustainability:  Smart, efficient, green, or just?

                                                                                                                           Session organizers:  

                                                                                                             Heather Sander, University of Iowa, USA

                                                                                                            Peleg Kremer, Villanova University, USA

                                                          Dagmar Haase, Humboldt Universität Berlin; Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany

                                                                             Annegret Haase, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany

Urban areas pose numerous environmental and social challenges and the notion of urban sustainability developed, in part, as a means for addressing these challenges. Since its inception, urban sustainability has been conceptualized in a variety of both disparate and similar ways that are reflected in the numerous interdisciplinary approaches to it. These approaches include smart growth frameworks that focus on compact, multi-use urban structure and design; zero-impact approaches centered on achieving resource efficiency via technological means; green infrastructure and nature-based approaches that focus on ecosystem services, mimicry of nature, and human wellbeing; as well as approaches centered around the production of environmentally-just cities, the distribution of environmental benefits and costs and meaningfully integrating underrepresented groups in decision making.  These sessions will bring experts from a variety of urban sustainability frameworks together to present research and discuss different perspectives and approaches to urban sustainability. 

We anticipate paper presentations and panel discussions centering on approaches and challenges to urban sustainability. We seek participants from a variety of disciplines and approaches to urban sustainability and from around the globe to present and discuss their own work in urban sustainability and to participate in panel discussions. Interested participants should send an abstract of 250 words or less and their personal identification number (obtained following abstract submission) by October 15, 2016 to Heather Sander (heather-a-sander@uiowa.edu), Peleg Kremer (peleg.kremer@gmail.com), Dagmar Haase (dagmar.haase@ufz.de), and Annegret Haase (Annegret.haase@ufz.de). You must register and submit your abstract to AAG prior to the October 27, 2016 deadline (www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting) and send us your abstract submission confirmation email.

Decolonizing Water: Indigenous water politics, resource extraction, and settler colonialism

*Organizers: Karen Bakker, University of British Columbia

Glen Coulthard, University of British Columbia

Sponsored by the Indigenous Peoples’ Specialty Group

As emblematized by the ongoing protests at Standing Rock, water is a foundational element—biophysical, epistemological, and spiritual—in Indigenous societies and lifeways. This crucial life source has come under increased threat due to the claimed necessity of extractivist development projects, as demonstrated in the marked increase in proposed pipeline construction, liquefied natural gas development, hydraulic fracturing, and bitumen crude oil production across Turtle Island. These extractivist projects threaten the land and waterways that sustain not only our own individual and collective lives, but also the lives of all of our relations: human and more-than-human. In the United States and Canada, the intensification of hydraulic fracturing has rapidly accelerated processes of accumulation by dispossession, in a context of “light touch” regulation in which new and significant breaches of Indigenous rights have emerged, and in a context in which threats to water are scantily monitored, under-regulated, and under-reported.

This panel brings together theorists of water politics, neoliberalization, and decolonization. We encourage a focus on the contemporary politics of resistance and resurgence by Indigenous peoples. We seek a diversity of perspectives that offer critical engagement with the ideas and practices of decolonization. Equally, we also welcome interventions that challenge decolonization as a framework for analyzing and interpreting water politics. We particularly welcome contributions focused on the water-energy nexus, oil and gas (especially hydraulic fracturing), and pipelines. 

We invite discussants to speak to a broad range of issues, including (but not limited to):

          Water and violence, including militarization, policing, securitization, and settler colonial violence
          Water and resistance/refusal/ protection of sacred sites 
          Water and (settler) colonialism
          Hydropower, displacement, and dispossession
          Water and Indigenous laws 
          Water, treaty-making and Indigenous rights
          Neoliberalization of water in the context of resource development
          Links between water grabbing and land grabbing
          Water and art/cultural politics/production
          Water and social justice/environmental justice
          Water and Indigenous governance
          Water, health, and livelihoods

We plan to organize a paper session followed by a panel at which participants can act as panelists or discussants.

·      We invite those interested in presenting papers to send their title, 250-word abstract, and affiliation.

·      We invite those interested in the panel to summarize their relevant interests in 100 to 200 words.

Please submit your proposal by October 20th to Karen Bakker (karen.bakker@ubc.ca) and Glen Coulthard (gsc@interchange.ubc.ca). We will notify accepted participants by October 24th, 2016. 

PLEASE NOTE: This session is full.

This session is supported by our Decolonizing Water Partnership Grant (www.decolonizingwater.ca). Funding opportunities are available for graduate studentships and post-docs. Please contact Karen Bakker or Glen Coulthard for more information.

Paper Session

In the past several decades, the world has experienced fast urbanization, and the urban growth is expected to continue in the next few decades. Urbanization modifies the Earth’s terrestrial surface, and therefore, has profound impacts on agricultural practices, energy balance, and watershed hydrology from local to regional and even global scales and causes associated environmental problems. Urbanization will increase the challenges of environmental sustainability in terms of growing water, energy, and food demands. There is a growing need, from both the science and policy making communities, for information on urbanization and its environmental impacts from local to global scales. Improved understanding of urbanization can help us develop better practices in land use planning and management for sustainable urban development.

This session invites presentations focusing on challenges and opportunities in sustainable urbanization. The potential topics can include urbanization mapping and modeling, urban water and energy use, urban emissions, urban health, urban water-energy- food nexus, urban climate, urban ecosystem services, urban disaster assessment and management, and sustainable urban planning. We encourage studies that will advance our understanding of sustainable urban development. We would like to welcome any papers that showcase recent advances and original contributions in such topics.

Submission Procedure: The official abstract submission deadline for AAG is October 27, 2016. You will submit your participation/registration fee and abstracts online through AAG's website (www.aag.org). We would appreciate it if you can send us the abstract at your earliest time, and send your PIN.

Interested contributors should submit their abstract and PIN to either of the co-organizers:

 Yuyu Zhou: yuyuzhou@iastate.edu
Wenze Yue: wzyue@zju.edu.cn

State Acts of Legibility and Climate Adaptation Policy

Panel Organizer: Denielle Perry, University of Oregon

Discussant: Christian Parenti

Sponsors: Cultural and Political Ecology, Water Resources, Political Geography, and Human Dimensions of Global Change specialty groups

Creating adaptation policies to contend with the impacts of climate change on the environment (i.e. drought, flooding, and biodiversity loss) and accompanying social ramifications (i.e. migration, conflict, economic losses) will require state intervention (Henstra 2015). Christian Parenti’s illuminating 2013 AAG lecture drew attention to the state’s role in the climate crisis through territorial acts that make aspects of the environment legible to its citizens. Legibility is a state territorial act that involves abstracting natural resources from nature by surveying and cataloging them, establishing property rights to them, and ultimately managing them. Nearly four years on, we see evidence of these legibility acts in adaptation strategies. Responses to extreme climate impacts are taking shape in path-dependent infrastructure development "solutions," such as Jakarta’s lofty plans for walling out rising seas (Colven, forthcoming) and California’s schemes for raising dam heights (Perry and Praskievicz, forthcoming). Similarly, we see evidence of the state crafting new relationships with nature in an effort to contend with the climate crisis. Perhaps the most compelling example is California’s recent law recognizing forests and meadows as water infrastructure. This cutting-edge adaptation policy recognizes the necessity of conserving and restoring watersheds for productivity and resilience in the face of climate change (AB 2480, 2016). In myriad other cases, however, states refrain from adopting adaptation policies for political reasons. For instance, harvesting rainwater as still illegal in some states due to competing water rights regimes (Meehan and Moore, 2014).

As climate change compels the state’s return to resource governance, understanding how legibility acts have been applied and managed can serve to promote better, more viable adaptation policies (Parenti, 2015). Examination of the Wise Use movement, for example, revealed that centralized state resource governance grounded in legibility acts can have positive ecological and social consequences (McCarthy, 2002). What other examples can be informative? This session brings together papers that discuss ways in which the state has related to the environment through territorial acts of legibility. The session seeks to advance theoretical and empirical approaches that examine the benefits, trade-offs, and political and spatial dimensions of legibility acts to inform climate change adaptation policymaking. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of environmental knowledge in policymaking.
  • Historical cases of legibility-driven policy frameworks in resource conservation and extraction.
  • The identification and management of ecosystem services.
  • The explicit incorporation of "climate change" language in environmental policy.
  • Debates on public vs. private lands and conservation.
  • The role and rights of indigenous and local communities in environmental decision-making.

If you would like to join this session, please send your short abstract (250 words or less) to Denielle Perry at dperry3@uoregon.edu by November 11, 2016. You will receive notice regarding participation in the session by November 15.


A.B No. 2048. (2016). An act to add Section 108.5 to the Water Code, relating to water. State of California.

                        Colven, Emma (in preparation). "Understanding the Allure of Big Infrastructure: Jakarta's Great Garuda Sea Wall Project".

Henstra, D. (2015). The tools of climate adaptation policy: analysing instruments and instrument selection. Climate Policy, 1–26.

McCarthy, J. (2002). First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement. Environment and Planning A, 34(7), 1281–1302. http://doi.org/10.1068/a3526

Meehan, K.M. and Moore, A.W. (2014). Downspout politics, upstream conflict: formalizing rainwater harvesting in the United States.

Parenti, C. (2015). The 2013 ANTIPODE AAG Lecture The Environment Making State: Territory, Nature, and Value. Antipode, 47(4), 829–848. http://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12134

Perry, D.M. and Praskievicz, S.J. (2016) "A New Era of Reclamation? [Re]developing Water Storage in the U.S. West in the Context of Climate Change and Environmental Regulation", In review

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

Paper Sessions

Critical Geographies of Energy 1: Energy Transition and Climate Change
Critical Geographies of Energy 2: Energy Security and Infrastructure
Organizers: Mia Renauld, Northeastern University

Here is a description of our tandem sessions for the Critical Geographies of Energy:

             Whether it be to help mitigate climate change, to obtain national energy security, to stimulate growth in domestic industries, or to lift populations out of energy poverty, governments around the globe are actively involved in retooling, reregulating, rebranding and/or reinvesting in various energy infrastructures, all while the dominance of fossil fuels within the global economy appears to be under threat. Multi-scalar projects, plans, and regulatory structures have emerged in recent years to start instituting change in energy systems (or in some instances to maintain the status quo), begging us to question the various dimensions and spatial dynamics at play. Several schisms have showcased themselves as communities, megacities, larger regional jurisdictions and nation-states have moved forward in attempts to achieve energy plans and targets. Among such divisions are those between eco-modernist and de-growthist ideologies, urban and rural development, globalism and localism, and multinational companies and communities challenging the influence and impacts of petro-capitalism. Together, this series of papers seeks to address the emergent issues around energy from a critical geographical perspective, with attention to various themes such as energy security, transition, infrastructure, and climate change.

Paper Session

Energy System Transitions and Energy (In)Justice: divestment, democratization and the delegitimization of fossil fuels

Organizer: Noel Healy, Dr., Salem State University nhealy@salemstate.edu
The bourgeoning energy justice scholarship highlights the importance of justice and equity concerns in the context of global decarbonization and the green economy. In this paper we propose a refined 'full spectrum life cycle' energy justice framework, which unites systems of energy extraction, production, distribution and consumption. This proposed framework bridges the 'bigger picture' elements of climate justice with the more micro scale dimensions of energy justice and a 'just-transition'. The idea of a 'just transition' and questions of justice, distribution and the role of labour in low carbon transitions we argue must be addressed more systematically in conceptualizations of energy justice. Key to a full 'life cycle' energy justice analysis is greater recognition of the politics, power dynamics and political economy of socio-technical energy transitions. Conceptualizations of energy justice can benefit from shifting its analysis to focus on the injustices, health and environmental impacts of fossil fuel extraction. Identifying and understanding the potential connections between the normative issues of distributive and procedural justice and the democratization of energy production and consumption systems is, we argue, key for directing future decision-making on energy towards a path of low-carbon (and indeed low-energy) 'just energy transitions'.

Paper Session

Emerging legal geographies: The Dakota Access pipeline conflict

Organizer: Brandon Barclay Derman, PhD, University of Illinois, Springfield bderm2@uis.edu

Its physical extension in question, discursive construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues in multiple directions.  A range of actors mobilize divergent geographic imaginaries that suggest, in turn, distinct reconfigurations of ecology and social power.  Federal agencies, an energy company, native tribes, and environmentalists each invoke spatializing logics with competing claims to legitimacy and the collective good.  Grand, globalizing narratives about national energy independence and climate change may dominate public debate, but humbler legal geographies -  federal, private, and traditional land classifications, and the incremental accumulation of half-acre impacts under "Nationwide Permit 12" - could well determine the pipeline's fate.  Indeed, it was the latter that enabled its initial development, and the former that halted its progress in September 2016.  In this paper I chart the legal framings in the pipeline controversy, and expose how those framings variously align and conflict with the cultural, economic, and scientific analyses of proponents and objectors.  Mobilizing socio-legal and legal geographic theory, I highlight the contingent and at times ironic correspondence between legal reason and political interest, show how authority and solidarity can attach to analytical scale, and explore what David Delaney has called the "world-making" potential of legal discourses in the context of the pipeline conflict.

Paper Session

Justice, fuel poverty and vulnerable groups: a comparative analysis

Organizers: Carolyn Snell, Dr, The University of York carolyn.snell@york.ac.uk
Mark Bevan, Dr, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York 
Ross Gillard, Department of Social Policy, University of York 

Energy justice is an emerging field that has gained much attention and geographical reach over the past decade. It draws heavily on both social and environmental justice theories, bringing together the concepts of 'distributive', 'procedural' and 'recognition' justice.  It has gained a particular resonance amongst fuel poverty researchers, as it provides a framework for analysing the negative impacts (and associated policies) on various vulnerable groups. Looking beyond just distributional patterns enables critical reflection of the policy process, and the assumptions contained within it.  

Despite these developments in understanding fuel poverty as a justice issue, there remain gaps in knowledge.  Firstly, whilst there is a substantial evidence base around the extent and impact of fuel poverty, there is limited work on how patterns of fuel poverty have co-evolved with changes in policy (e.g. definitions and eligibility criteria) over time. Secondly, there is virtually no empirical work that considers how low-income families with children and disabled people (two groups that are considered vulnerable to fuel poverty) are impacted by, and have influence over, different styles of policy and governance.

This paper reports on initial findings from a two-year research project funded by the UK's Energy Research Centre.  Drawing on the energy justice literature, the paper investigates the development and impact of fuel poverty policies across the four nations of the UK. It also considers the extent to which disabled people and low-income families with children have been recognised and included in the policy process, and the impact that this had on policy outcomes.