WEGO at POLLEN 20: ecologies of care

WEGO is happy to announce that our proposals for two ‘Paper Session’ entitled ‘Ecologies of Care I – Politics and ethics of care’  and Ecologies of Care II – Care-full political ecology – with whom, with what and where do we care?’ has been accepted for inclusion in the POLLEN 20 conference. 

The Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN 20) will take place from 24 – 26 June 2020 in Brighton, UK.

The conference theme is Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration

Organiser Name and Contacts:
Wendy Harcourt: harcourt@iss.nl; Enid Still: Enid.Still@uni-passau.de; Jaime Landinez Aceros: jlandinez@stanford.edu and Constance Dupuis: dupuis@iss.nl

Title: Ecologies of Care

Key words: care, gender, feminism, more-than-human, ethics

Session abstract

Recent debates on the politics and ethics of care brings together the politics of gendered bodies and labour, the messy ethics of more-than-human interdependencies, and questions of difference and belonging in alternative ways of being-in-the-world (Harcourt 2017; Puig de la Bellacasa 2017; Singh 2017). These perspectives tease out the invisibility of ‘caring ethics’ and what care means and does in different contexts and different socio-natural entanglements, exploring how practices of care can animate, complicate or make visible such entanglements. These discussions are infused with hope for an alternative, more ecologically sane society but are also critical of the depoliticisation of care as inherently ‘good’ or naturalised. The non-innocence of care and its uneven nature within more-than-human interdependencies are therefore central to these debates (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017). This panel organised by Well-being, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity – Innovative Training Network (WEGO-ITN) will try to build upon these discussions, expanding notions of care beyond human subjectivities (and yet rooting it in anthropocentric times), through exploring how care emerges in landscapes of extractivist ruins.

Core themes running through the panel will be: what caring practices are emerging from sites of socio-ecological transformation? How are notions and practices of care complicated by their non-innocence in particular sites and contexts? How are more-than-human interdependencies are animated when practices of care take place in extractivist ruins? The panel will look towards how we can repair our world as we seek to ‘interweave’ our bodies, ourselves and our socio-natures in a ‘complex, life-sustaining web’ (Tronto 2017) as we seek to locate some of the many ‘care-ful’ forms of political ecology needed to ‘reappropriate, reconstruct and reinvent our personal and political lifeworlds’ (Escobar and Harcourt 2005). The two panels will look at two main themes: Care in Extractivist Ruins and Care-ful political ecology – with whom, with what and where do we care? 

References 

  • Escobar, Arturo and Wendy Harcourt 2005 “Introduction”, Women and the Politics of Place London: Zed Books. 1-19.
  • Harcourt, Wendy. 2017. “Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods: Linking Gendered Experiences of Environment , Community and Self.” Agriculture and Human Values34(4):1007–19.
  • Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Singh, Neera. 2017. “Becoming a Commoner: The Commons as Sites for Affective Socio-Nature Encounters and Co- Becomings.” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 17(4):751–76.
  • Tronto, Joan. 2017. “There is an alternative: homines curans and the limits of neoliberalism”. International Journal of Care and Caring 1: 27-43.

Part I‘Ecologies of Care I – Politics and ethics of care’ 

The first panel ‘Care in Extractivist Ruins’ will focus on how more-than-human interdependencies in sites of extraction are illuminated through practices of care and how such caring practices can become forms of resistance or coping. Some key questions the panel will address are:

  1. How can caring socio-natural entanglements resist, undercut, refuse logics of colonialism, militarization, and capitalism?
  2. When and how does extractivism extract, appropriate or exploit care (human, non-human) in local and global sites of climate crisis? e.g. through CSR campaigns that legitimise the extractive regime
  3. What practices of care emerge in the ruins of extractive landscapes in the global South and how do they contest assumptions around wellbeing?

Panel Participants

Each presentation will have 10 minutes this will be followed by buzz groups among the participants and a Q and A. The discussant taking into account the discussion 15 minutes before  the end of the session will ask one question to each panelist who will respond.

Collective Care in Times of Agrarian Crisis by Enid Still (UK), Universität Passau, Germany

Abstract: The agrarian crisis in India has been depicted as one of indebtedness and financial burden, driving thousands of farmers to suicide. This picture is of course inherently partial. The experiences of women farmers and the widows of farmers who have committed suicide trouble the perception of suicides as only an economic ‘problem.’ They reveal a much deeper social malaise, rooted in a politics of land, patriarchy and caste, re-produced by regimes of exploitation and dependency, where the extraction of value from the soil and the extraction of bodies from agrarian communities are deeply intertwined. The perspective of women farmers and farm widows on the crisis have been silenced and invisibilised, their ability to navigate these times thus curtailed, due to both cultural norms that stigmatise widows in multi-layered ways and narrow socio-political categories that define farmers as landowners, predominantly therefore upper-caste men. Through practices of collective care however, the struggles of rural women in India are finding a voice and demonstrating the possibilities for healing degraded lands and a traumatised agrarian community.  

Poisoned Landscapes: Stories of Soil Care Amidst War Times by Jaime Landinez-Aceros (Colombia), Stanford University, USA

Beyond Economy: Exploring Care within the Everyday Lives of Independent Oil Palm Smallholders in West Kalimantan, Indonesia by Dian Ekowati (Indonesia), Brighton University, UK

Siti Maimunah (Indonesia), Universität Passau, Germany

Facilitator and Discussant: Giovanna DiChiro, Swathmore College, USA,  gdichir2@swarthmore.edu ‎

Part II: ‘Ecologies of Care II – Care-full political ecology – with whom, with what and where do we care?’   

 The second panel on ‘Care-full political ecology – with whom, with what and where do we care?’ will explore from feminist, interdisciplinary and intergenerational perspective ‘care-full political ecology’ describing different acts of looking after, protecting and providing for the needs of human and non-human others. The papers will look at how care operates in the  co-production of genders, natures and bodies as we move towards emancipatory politics of life-worlds. 

Panel Participants

Each presentation will have 10 minutes this will be followed by buzz groups among the participants and a Q and A. The discussant taking into account the discussion 15 minutes before  the end of the session will ask one question to each panellist who will respond.

Enfleshing Human Rights and the Inter-American Convention On Protecting The Human Rights Of Older Persons by Ana Agostino (Uruguay), Montevideo, Uruguay and Constance Dupuis (Canada), International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, The Netherlands

Caring for self and nature: Women and Ageing in Rural Japan by Nanako Nakamura (Japan) and Chizu Sato (Japan), University of Wageningen, The Netherlands 

Abstract:

Flower farmers and water flows: caring for and theorizing about troubled socionatures in Maharashtra, India by Irene Leonardelli (Italy), IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: The paper will look at the everyday practices of care, reciprocity, sharing, solidarity and equity  between farmers and natures among flower growers in Maharashtra. Inspired by feminist political ecology studies, I unpack the multiple socionatural relations, practices, experiences and embodied emotions of women farmers growing flowers using waste water coming from nearby industrial areas. By looking at flowers as a product of socionatural interaction (or women farmers-water interaction), I unfold the tensions farmers experience in the everyday in relation to taking care of themselves, of their community and of the nature they inhabit. I develop my narrative as a way  to theorize about and care for more sustainable and equitable socio-natural presents (and futures).   

Facilitator and Discussant: Yvonne Underhill-Sem, University of Auckland, New Zealand, y.underhill-sem@auckland.ac.nz

More information on the WEGO sessions will follow

Living well-together: feminism, degrowth and the ‘good life’

The WEGO proposal on ‘Living well-together: feminism, degrowth and the ‘good life’ has been accepted for the 7th International Degrowth and 16th ISEE Joint Conference: Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis taking place from 1 – 5 September 2020 at The University of Manchester, UK.
https://tinyurl.com/Degrowth2020Mcr.

Convenors: Wendy Harcourt, Panagiota Kotsila and members of EU-WEGO-ITN Network

Presenters anticipated: Irene Leonardelli; Chizu SatoConstance DupuisMartina PadmanabhanEnid Still; Gülay Caglar; Marlene Gomez; Panagiota Kotsila; Ilenia Iengo; Alice Owen; Stefania Barca; Seema KulkarniSabrina Aguiari;  Rebecca Elmhirst and Wendy Harcourt

The subtheme will look at how diverse communities respond to economic and ecological changes by organizing for well-being in efforts to move out of situations of discrimination, oppression and inequality. The focus will be on how caste, race, age, gender, sexuality and class relations can be reshaped in emerging practices of commoning, community economies and how communities can generate successful strategies across and with difference of ‘living well together’. The subtheme will bring together concepts of queer, trans and feminist political ecology, decoloniality, and post development in an open debate on how to interrogate hierarchies as we think about living well together building communities for well-being based on emancipation and sustainability.

Undisciplined Environments goes live

Undisciplined Environments – a platform for political ecology research and activism – has launched today, 1 October 2019

This novel effort is a collaboration between the ENTITLE Collective and the WEGO project, as well as other transnational networks – like the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).

Undisciplined Environments (UE) aims to become an influential crossroads for activists, researchers, journalists and anyone interested in the mutual imbrications of power, society, culture and ecology. Our commitment is to establish UE as a compelling virtual space to share ideas, stories, concepts, methods and strategies for the elaboration of the knowledges and practices needed to build more emancipatory socionatural worlds.

WEGO members Panagiota KotsilaIlenia Iengo, Irene Leonardelli, Wendy Harcourt and Stefania Barca are on the editorial collective.

 

Feminist community library in Budapest

feminist community library
Photo: Alice Owen

This feminist community library in Budapest comes highly rated on WEGO tripadvisor! Antonia Burrows has spent decades collecting second hand books on everything from feminist theories of science to cats (via herstory, black history, poetry…) and transformed this flat into a community library run by volunteers with regular film screenings and discussions. Meanwhile gender studies has just been banned in Hungary and the Central European University is being forced out of the country.

WEGO workshop at the Environmental Justice Conference

Siti Maimunah and Alice Owen organised a workshop on 4 July 2019 to introduce the theoretical and methodological practices of Feminist Political Ecology to Environmental Justice research. This workshop was organised as part of the Environmental Justice Conference 2019: Transformative Connections.

Transformative Connections: Environmental Justice Conference

As well as pursuing transformations towards sustainability and environmental justice, FPE researchers are also pursing transformations of the ethics, methods, epistemologies and practices of research.

In this workshop participants were invited to join members and associates of the WEGO network to explore the key insights and perspectives that have come from the practices of doing FPE research. FPE researchers were invited to prepare short responses to questions which formed the basis of a facilitated discussion exploring key themes such as scholar-activism, ethics, scales and methods in relation to their work with struggles for environmental justice.

Connecting people photo from FPE to EJ workshop in UK by Siti Maimuna and Alice Owen

The discussion then broke off into a ‘world cafe’ where all participants  joined conversations exploring key themes and shared their own research experiences. The workshop was recorded with the intention that it can become a learning resource.

Conference Outputs

Connections photo from FPE to EJ workshop in UK by Siti Maimuna and Alice Owen

We have been working hard to update our Global Environmental Justice group website with some conference outputs, so please take a look.
You can view and download the graphic records at this UEA Global
Environmental Justice flickr page.
You can view the conference videos at the Environmental Justice
Conference 2019 playlist on YouTube. We are still in the process of
editing some of the sessions, they will be added to this list as they
are completed.
Some people had asked if the conference presentations would be available on the website. We have considered this and decided it won’t be possible. We would encourage delegates to contact specific presenters directly and request that presentations be shared that way. You can find contact email addresses for all presenters in the Abstract Book.

Background paper and follow up papers

The conference background paper remains on the conference website and please let us know if you have any particular feedback that you didn’t have a chance to share.
At the moment we have not planned any special issue publications but do feel free to pursue any ideas yourselves and let us know if we can
assist.

WEGO exhibition on Feminism, Politics and Coal Extraction

Extracting Us

Looking Differently: Feminism, Politics and Coal Extraction

11 -21 July at ONCA gallery Brighton

WEGO members Siti Maimunah, Rebecca Elmhirst, Dian Ekowati, Alice Owen, Elona Hoover and ONCA Gallery manager Lydia Heath are organizing and co-curating an exhibition which seeks to ‘look differently’ at the politics of coal extraction. Taking an intersectional approach, they will bring together feminism, ecology, climate change and politics. Presenting photographs from Indonesia, the exhibition will include a workshop, reading group, film screening and talk by an Indonesian scholar-activist to create a space for challenging ‘north-south’ narratives and practicing climate justice.

Events
  • Reading Group, 12 July 2019, time: 15.00 to 17.00
    This reading group is an invitation to “think with” the exhibition and screening of the documentary film “Sexy Killers”, which is being co-convened by Indonesian scholar-activist Siti Maimunah in partnership with JATAM (Indonesian mining advocacy group) and colleagues from the University of Brighton and University of Passau in Germany in the WEGO Feminist Political Ecology network. The exhibition seeks to look differently at the politics of coal extraction, exploring these through intersectional feminist political ecology with the aim of fostering thought, action and solidarity across spaces and generations.
    Reading: Ruder, Sarah-Louise, and Sophia Rose Sanniti. “Transcending the Learned Ignorance of Predatory Ontologies: A Research Agenda for an Ecofeminist-Informed Ecological Economics.” Sustainability 11, no. 5 (2019): 1479.
    The reading can be downloaded by free access here: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/5/1479
  • Launch event: Friday 12 July, 6 – 8pm FREE – ALL WELCOME
  • Sexy Killers: Film Screening and Talk, Wednesday 17 July, 6:30 -9:00 pm Tickets £6 (£3 conc.) available here
  • Writing postcard workshop with youth, Friday 19 July.

    Postcard Writing Workshop for Young People, Friday 19 July 2:00 – 4:00pm FREE

More information is available on Facebook and ONCA webpage

All photos by Siti Maimunah

This event is sponsored by:

 

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ONCA is a Brighton based arts charity that bridges social and environmental justice issues. ‘With our public programme, we create inclusive spaces for collaborative learning, artist support and community solidarity.’