Critical Geographies of Energy and Food: Intersections and Productive Tensions

CFP AAG 2019: Critical Geographies of Energy and Food: Intersections and Productive Tensions

Discussant: Matt Huber (Syracuse University)

Organizers: Gretchen Sneegas (University of Georgia) and Deepti Chatti (Yale University)

Energy and food are among the most significant mediators of human-environment relationships across time, space, and scale. Accordingly, geographies of food and energy have both emerged in recent decades as robust subfields within resource geography and political ecology scholarship. Energy and food systems significantly affect global environmental change and are often the targets of numerous environmental, social, and political interventions. Additionally, energy and food production and consumption patterns often have deep cultural significance in their particular contexts, and are sites of meaning-making for various communities.

Both energy and food geographies can be characterized as methodologically, theoretically, and even disciplinary pluralistic “academic borderlands” linked by a shared topical focus (Calvert 2016). Yet parallel to these growing domains is a body of work which explicitly examines their intersecting and overlapping material, socio-cultural, and theoretical dimensions. This nascent body of scholarship has addressed a variety of topics, such as the disturbances of biofuel production for food and energy provisioning (Baka 2017), the complex entanglements of carbon-heavy nitrogen fertilizer production for the industrial agricultural sector (Huber 2017), the role of livestock as a key site of social reproduction for mining labor in the Yukon territory (Peyton 2015), and energy projects that intervene in kitchen spaces by targeting cooking technologies and fuels (Simon et al. 2014).

This session invites papers that extend this body of work by critically examining and interrogating the intersecting geographies of food and energy. Possible topics at the energy/food juncture include, but are not limited to:

● Perturbations and disturbances resulting from land use change

● The role of energy in shaping food commodity chains, and vice versa

● Overlapping political economies and resource frontiers

● Social production of space

● Identity formation, identity politics

● The role of gender, race, ethnicity, SES in shaping food/energy access and meaning

● Social construction of resources and scarcity/plenty

● Governmentality and biopower

● Animal geographies, multi-species networks, and the more-than-human

● Materiality and assemblages shaping energy and food geographies

● Geopolitics and food/energy security

● Ecosystem services and the repercussions of measurement/quantification

● How modes of production construct resources and shape their use

● The role of scientific knowledge and technology in the production and consumption of food/energy

● Development interventions that target cooking energy technologies and fuels (“improved” cookstove projects)

Please submit an abstract of 250 words or less to Deepti Chatti (deepti.chatti[at] and Gretchen Sneegas (gsneegas[at] no later than Friday, October 19, 2018.


Baka, J. 2017. Making space for energy: Wasteland development, enclosures, and energy dispossessions. Antipode 49(4): 977-996.

Calvert, K. 2016. From ‘energy geography’ to ‘energy geographies’: Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Progress in Human Geography 40(10: 105-125.

Huber, M. 2017. Reinvigorating class in political ecology: Nitrogen capital and the means of degradation. Geoforum 85(2017): 345-352.

Peyton, J. 2015. “A strange enough way”: An embodied natural history of experience, animals and food on the Teslin Trail. Geoforum 58(2015): 14-22.

Simon, G. L., Bailis, R., Baumgartner, J., Hyman, J., & Laurent, A. (2014). Current debates and future research needs in the clean cookstove sector. Energy for Sustainable Development, 20, 49-57.