New Prince Claus Chair puts Care at the centre of equity and development debates

From 1 September 2021 Dr Khayaat Fakier will hold the Prince Claus Chair (PCC) for a period of two years at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her thematic focus will be ‘Putting care at the center of equity and development: challenges for gender aware economies based on an ethics of care for people and the environment’.

As holder of the Prince Claus Chair, Dr Fakier will examine the issue of care in relation to equity and development policies. The two-year research project will examine how to build an ethics of care not only for people, but also for the environment. The intent of the research will be to see in what ways care work is ‘the alternative’ value to growth. Working in collaboration with Dutch and international networks her research will seek to define how we can build equitable economies where care work and care-ful relationships with society and nature are central to social and cultural life. The analysis will specifically take into account local communities’ responses to the pandemic.

Dr Fakier is a sociologist with a focus on research in women’s care for others and the environment. Dr Fakier gained her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  She is currently senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University and teaches modules on sociology of work, feminisms and women’s engagement in the South African economy. She supervises students on a wide range of feminist topics, including ecofeminism, fatherhood, women in the legal profession, and women in prisons.

Dr Fakier’s research examines the value of social reproduction in a global society where the unpaid work and care conducted by women is not recognised. Her research on the impact of social and industrial policy on the lives of women suggests that working class and underemployed women shoulder the burden of care for the young, the elderly, the frail and the environment, which most state and corporate policies ignore. Her work has featured in renowned international journals such as Antipode: Journal of Radical Geography, the International Journal of Feminist Politics, and Capitalism Nature Socialism. Her most recent publication is a co-edited book titled, Marxist-Feminist Theories and Struggles Today: Essential writings on Intersectionality, Labour and Ecofeminism published by Zed Books.

Dr Fakier’s writing draws on her work with women working in communities affected by mining, on farms, and women on public works programmes. WEGO-ITN’s coordinator, Prof. Dr. Wendy Harcourt will be acting as promoter of the new Prince Claus Chair.

Prince Claus Chair  

The Prince Claus Chair is a rotating chair. Appointments are made alternately at ISS in The Hague and Utrecht University. Both institutions use the chair to promote research and education in the field of development cooperation, in accordance with the views and ideas of the late Prince Claus of The Netherlands. The curatorium of the Prince Claus Chair is chaired by Professor Louise Gunning. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of The Netherlands is the patron of the Prince Claus Chair.

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

ISS is an international institute for research and education in the field of development studies. ISS is located in The Hague and is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Between 300 and 400 graduate students, mainly from the ‘Global South’, study at ISS each year. ISS is also home to a large community of PhD researchers.

For more information about the content of the 2021-3 term of the Prince Claus Chair, please contact WEGO-ITN’s coordinator, Professor dr Wendy Harcourt Professor of Gender, Diversity and Sustainable Developmentharcourt@iss.nl

Video series: Second Training Lab

Originally planned to take place in Bolsena, Italy, at WEGO-ITN’s partner Punti di Vista, last year’s Second Training Lab was adapted into an on-line event, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All meetings, lectures, workshops and plenaries happened between June 10th-18th 2020.

All encounters and discussions were recorded and are now also available in videos produced by the group. The editing was a collaborative project by WEGO PhD’s Marlene Gómez, Dian Ekowati, Enid Still and Anna Katharina Voss, together with film maker John Akerman.

Videos include a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Katherine Gibson, from the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, and the Community Economies Research Network (CERN) – plus discussions between WEGO members about the meanings of Feminist Political Ecology and care. Finally, 3 videos depict mini lectures on PhD’s research projects.

They are also available at our Youtube and Vimeo channels.

“Women who inspire us”: a March 8th campaign

WEGO-ITN promoted a special Twitter campaign on International Women’s Day. Partners, researchers and activists were invited to share with us their list of inspiring women for March 8th 2021. The list included artists, professors, academics and local activists. Take a look:

 

 

 

 

 

“The Second Body”, a poem for International Women’s Day

On 8th of March 2021, TKPT, a women organization in Indonesia, held the Kalimantan Island meeting. This meeting was attended by 16 women representatives from all provinces in Kalimantan Island, who rely on extractive economies – such as big mining, logging and oil palm plantation. They discussed and had a reflection on their “Tanah air” experiences.

Tanah Air is an Indonesian phrase. The original meaning is “Tanah = soil” and “air = water”.  However, Tanah Air has multiple meanings, from the place where you were born and grew up, to your ancestor territories, to your nation state. According to the participants (all women activist affected by extractives project), Tanah air is the living space for human and non-human nature that they rely on and try to defend.

WEGO researcher Siti Maimunah, who attended the meeting, wrote a poem based on the stories told by these women in their meeting. The poem is inspired by the “Feminist Political Ecology Dialog with Indonesian Youth: Feminist, Multispecies and the Second Body”, two days before the meeting. The poem is dedicated to Women Survivors and Women Right’s Defendants in Kalimantan Island, Indonesia, and to all those celebrating International Women’s Day around the world.

(1)

I met my second body that afternoon,
We talked for almost four hours,
We talked about rivers,
palm oil catfish,
mud cracks,
paper trees,
saltwater crocodiles,
Semandut lake,
lost tallow nuts,
bauxites and cans,
landslide and sandbags,
children died at coal mine pits

I met my second body that afternoon,
We talked until dusk came,
We talked about fields,
land spirits,
village festivals,
alternative economic,
persistence in learning,
nature’s supermarket,
coconut oil soaps,
and growing trails of the forest

I met my second body that afternoon, Tanah Air.

(2)

Ra,
I’m picturing your story about Dulau River and its ripples
About the forest eaten by countless of paper trees
About its leaves protruding like tissue papers
About its bright white fruits, blinding the mounting paper pulp
I see your story in toilets, offices and university library

Le’,
I’m reminiscing your painting of Kapuas River and its creeks
About those mud cracks in where Semendut Lake used to be
About the four villages losing their water and gaining heap of bauxite waste
About tengkawang trees that no longer stand in line along the river
I see your painting on food cans, on cars in the streets and on batteries

Jan,
I’m listening to your tale about Malinau River and its hospitality
About the oil palm trees replacing what once was a rainbow forest
About those catfish carrying palm fruits between their skinfolds
About the fish and water that used to be sweet, now tasteless and oily
I read your tale in cosmetic bottles and boards in gas stations

Jul,
I’m daydreaming about Sanga-sanga River and its gloriousness
About your alienation from land that now moves when it rains,
About the necessity to build a dam using sandbags
About the cracked dry land, and gaping holes of toxic water
I see your frustration at traffic lights in metropolitan cities in the island of Java

Sar,
I’m reminiscing about Mahakam River and its edges
About the ships full of hundreds of Meranti trunks
About the coal barges lining under the bridge
About the drinking water costs a third of the labors’ minimum wage
This memory is written in the list of children who died in coal mine pits

Had,
I’m heeding your story about Santan River and its guardian crocodile
About the damaged upstream and the now regular floods
About the powerless Balians against the crocodiles who prey its neighbours
Your story is on the faces of the rich at the President Palace and Parliament Office

Ann,
I’m picturing Barito River and the floating market
About the foul pilgrims of coal toying with their religion
About the capital city lying below the sea level and the giant pits
The picture sticks to the flash floods that drowned the capital

Still, I’m also listening to Suket’s story
About the female rattan weavers who are related to land spirits
About the farming rituals to honor land, rice, and forest
About “Unang Telang Otah Ine,” for the forest as breast milk
About the belief that forest is the true life provider

Still, I’m dwelling about the story of Had,
About the youth of Santan who bring life back to their village
About the the goal of recovery surrounded by giant mines and palm oil siege
About the spirit of learning and building an alternative economic
About the hopes of the independent festivities and communality

I met my second body that afternoon, Tanah Air.

 

Passau, 8th of March, 2021

International Women’s Day: ‘Gender Dimensions in Climate Change’ lecture

International Women’s Week was a day of celebration – and combativeness – for WEGO-ITN researchers and partners. Coordinator Prof. Dr. Wendy Harcourt held a lecture at Radboud University  on ‘Gender Dimensions in Climate Change’, which is now fully available online:

About the lecture:

’My talk will look critically at the notion of the green economy as the way to mitigate climate change. My argument is that the neoliberal green economy relies on market and technological efficiency and only pays lip service to notions of gender, empowerment and inclusion. Its apparent championing of small-scale green entrepreneurs – particularly women and indigenous groups from the Global South as ‘good for climate’ ignores power relations and inequalities based on gender, race, ethnicity, class, and physical ability. The neoliberal green economy is not a climate- or people-caring economy because it ignores the actual care work that is required to maintain everyday life in all societies.

My talk proposes that we must move beyond the green economy in order to advance climate justice by reimagining ‘caring for climate’ through a caring economy or solidarity economy framework, one that is embedded in the principles of cooperation, sharing, reciprocity, and intersectional environmental justice. Instead of ‘greening’ the economy we need to be ‘sustaining livelihoods’ to ensure nutrition, ecological balance, clean water, secure housing, gender equality, meaningful approaches to all forms of labour.

Care work is always there. What needs to change is that it is no longer invisible, privatised, and done for free by women, people of colour, immigrants, or other marginalised groups. Caring for climate, caring for earth, and caring for people should be at the centre of economic value, not at the margins. What is required in order to ‘care for climate’, is to build caring communities for change based on solidarity economies. Such economies would value care work in all areas of life with the creation of new job sectors and climate-friendly livelihoods which challenge the gendered composition of the today’s neoliberal, androcentric and capitalocentric economy.’’

 

 

Video: What to expect from the 8th International Degrowth Conference?

WEGO-ITN’s partners and researchers have gathered to produce this video, as to prepare for the Feminist Political Ecology Key Conversation, a series of pre-event online discussions building up to workshops and a plenary at the 8th International Degrowth Conference, that will take place in the Hague between 24-28 August 2021.

Calls for contribution – in any form: articles, art, videos, perfomances – are still open until April 6th.

The conversations will explore feminisms, relations of care and well-being, with a focus on the following: How can we understand care as central within degrowth and at the core of our economies and societies? In what way can economies be rearranged in terms of provisioning that care, taking into account health, aging and ability, whilst degrowing? How can we change our relations of care among humans and more-than-human beings so that future societies are just for all living beings? How can we think about degrowth in relation to Covid19 and avoid essentializing nature when talking about these relations?

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

New book: “Forces of Reproduction”

“In May 2011, Zé Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, nut collectors and members of the agroforestry project (Projeto Agro-Extractivista, PAE) of Praialta Piranheira in the Brazilian Amazon, were brutally murdered as a consequence of their engagement in protecting the forest from illegal logging and timber trafficking (Milanez, 2015). Making a living from a non-exploitative and regenerative relationship with the forest, and passionate about the defence of the rights of both Amazonia and its people, Maria and Zé Claudio’s deaths are among the number of earth defenders whose lives are being taken, year after year, for opposing the infinite expansion of global economic growth (Global Witness, 2017; Martínez-Alier, 2002). But their lives and labour belongto an even wider class, which Ariel Salleh (2010) has called the global meta-industrial labour class, made up of those less-than-humanized (racialized, feminized, dispossessed) subjects who reproduce humanity by taking care of the biophysical environment that makes life itself possible. I call them the forces of reproduction: they keep the world alive, yet their environmental agency goes largely unrecognized in mainstream narratives of that epoch of catastrophic earth-system changes that scientists have called the Anthropocene.”

This is how WEGO-ITN’s partner, Prof. Dr. Stefania Barca, begins her new book, “Forces of Reproduction“. She presented her publication today at an online seminar attended by 50 people, organised by Environmental Justice project.
“This book is a provocation. I want to challenge the so-called ‘master’s narrative’ on climate, the ‘green economy’ discourse, which is consistent with neoliberal practice and which sees nature as an investment opportunity”, said Prof. Barca at the seminar. “Zé Claudia and Maria are part of the non-hegemonic view. They are not victims of economic growth, they are agents of a counter-hegemonic power, in a ecofeminist sense.”

In the second part of the book, Prof. Barca also highlighted how the hegemonic view of the Anthropocene denied the possibility of existing different versions of modernity, by denying colonial relations, sex and gender relations, class relations and interspecies relations in their narratives.

You can see the whole seminar on Environmental Justice’s Youtube Channel.

“The Feminist Political Ecology Podcast”, by WEGO, is out

WEGO-ITN is launching its first podcast!

“The Feminist Political Ecology Podcast” is directed to those who believe in doing environmentalism, justice and feminism in a different way. Every episode we’ll invite researchers, activists and professors in- and outside our network to discuss the most urgent and inspiring topics around feminist political ecology. Stay tuned.

The first episode, with Early Stage Researcher Marlene Gómez, is out:

“What does care have to do with food waste? And what can we learn about commoning by looking into alternative food practices? In our first episode, we will talk to Marlene Gómez, a PhD-candidate at Freie Universität Berlin and Early Stage Researcher at WEGO, about her work in community kitchens in Berlin and Barcelona.”

 

 

 

New essay: “Creating regenerative spaces of learning and unlearning”

WEGO-ITN’s coordinator, Prof. Dr. Wendy Harcourt, has published a new essay in hegoa – Institute for International Cooperation and Development Studies. Read the introduction, in English, here and access the full version at Hegoa’s hariak, January 2021 edition, in Spanish and in Basque.

 

“My point of departure for this essay on feminist pedagogy, is to begin with my discomfort in (dis)locating gender as a universal category, the imposition of gender and development through colonial history and how the western understanding of knowledge fractures and makes invisible other forms of being in community. Those three points of departure indicate the troubling nature of writing about privilege of race, age, class and gender when I write about the depatricarchalisation of knowledge and how my knowledge is embedded and embodied in a historical westerncentric understandings of gender, bodies and oppression. And to complicate the authorial voice further, I am constantly challenged by my complicity in systems of privilege. The essay builds on collective learning from years of actions and conversations with feminists, scholar activists and students and engagement in inspiring texts, films, videos and art that have introduced me to otherwise knowledges.

I write as a white settler antiracist feminist Australian who has lived in Europe since the late 1980s as a feminist advocate and writer on gender and critical development studies, and who more recently, has been teaching in an international post graduate institute in The Netherlands for nearly a decade. My contribution over the years has been mostly in popular
rather than academic writing, though I have now done my apprenticeship in the cut throat world of academic journals. I continue to write from the personal and from the experiential rather than the theoretical, though I am inspired by theoretical texts. I see myself in conversation with theory because theory helps me to puzzle out what I see as contested or
difficult.

My way of writing is to tell stories that have generated discomfort for me and to share with the reader what that discomfort can do to productively decentre the white masculine heteronormative experience as the only subject of knowledge. In taking up this invitation to discuss the depatriarchalization of knowledge through emancipatory education, experience and experiments, I will tell three stories that suggest how I have engaged in pedagogical practices otherwise.”

Read the full text here, in Spanish and in Basque.

 

Letter in support of farmers’ protests in India

WEGO-ITN partners and researchers – together with dozens of international academics – share their support for farmers’ protests in India, in a letter published today by The Independent. The protests have been taking place since mid-2020 and the response of the Indian government has raised concerns among international development academics. Read the full letter and it signatories here:

 

Letter in support of farmers’ protests in India 

As international development academics, we are deeply concerned about the Indian government’s treatment of the farmers’ protests in India. For over two months, millions of farmers have been protesting peacefully against three new market-friendly farm bills. These were passed by prime minister Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance government without full discussions in parliament.

These laws pave the way for billionaire-owned corporate control over India’s agri-food system and will have serious impacts on the price and procurement of farm produce. Farming incomes have already been declining steadily due to India’s longstanding agrarian crisis. The new laws will have a devastating impact on farming livelihoods, especially for small and marginal farmers, who face being pushed into poverty. The reforms also weaken the rights of agricultural workers, especially female informal workers.

The new laws include dismantling the public distribution system (PDS), which will compromise food and livelihood security and constitute an attack on India’s constitutional right to food.

Since 26 January, when thousands of farmers marched into New Delhi, the government has cracked down on farmers, their supporters and journalists covering the protests. This adds to the poor human rights record of Modi’s government prior to and during the pandemic, including arresting students, activists and journalists for exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest.

India’s mainstream media has vilified Sikh protesting farmers as terrorists and the government has launched  a vicious campaign branding protesters and their supporters as “anti-national”. The internet has been blocked around Delhi, and roads are barricaded. We urge the Indian government to restrain from authoritarianism and respect citizens’ freedom of expression and right to protest. We also call on the Indian government to repeal the new farm laws and enter into dialogue with the protesting farmers.

Professor Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Professor Vinita Damodaran, University of Sussex, UK

Dr Shilpi Srivastava, Institute of Development Studies, UK

For a full list of signatories, click here