‘Troubling Gender: Voices from Feminist Political Ecology’-webinar is now online

WEGO-ITN partner Prof. Dr. Rebecca Elmhirst and Dr. Bernadette P. Resurreccion joined forces last week at “Troubling Gender: Voices from Feminist Political Ecology”. This webinar was aimed at reflecting on their new book ‘Negotiating Gender Expertise in Environment and Development: Voices from Feminist Political Ecology’ (open access link), as well as on their experiences as researchers.

Rather than being a book launch per se, the event widened the conversation as researchers in Nepal reflected on their own situated journeys and experiences – and you can now watch the full exchange online.

New article: ‘COVID-19 in Rural India, Algeria, and Morocco’

WEGO-ITN’s early stage researcher Irene Leonardelli – together with Lisa Bossenbroek, Hind Ftouhi, Zakaria Kadiri, Sneha Bhat, Seema Kulkarni, Meriem Farah Hamamouche, Mohamed Amine Saidani, Margreet Zwarteveen and Jeltsje Sanne Kemerink-Seyoum – has just released a new publication: “COVID-19 in Rural India, Algeria, and Morocco: A Feminist Analysis of Small-Scale Farmers’ and Agricultural Laborers’ Experiences and Inventive Practices”.

“This article is the product of an ongoing collaboration between several researchers-activists working in different rural contexts in India, Morocco and Algeria. We, the authors of this article, have different backgrounds but are all interested in studying processes of agrarian change from a feminist critical perspective. We work together on several projects including the Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability (T2GS) project and the DUPC2 funded project “Farming in times of crises: experiences, responses and needs of smallholder farmers during the COVID19 pandemic”.

Writing this article together was a way to remain engaged with the farmers and the agricultural labourers we met during our fieldwork, as we were all concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect them. It was also a way to remain virtually connected, share stories and inspire each other during difficult times. As mentioned in the conclusions of the article: “We hope that these insights and discussions can contribute to constructively engage with the different entangled socionatural challenges, uncertainties and marginalizations that agricultural actors face and bring about the lasting transformations this world needs post COVID-19.”

You can read the full text here.

For more information about Irene’s work, listen to her episode on our The Feminist Political Podcast.

 

 

“Care within Time”, a poetic contribution

This poem was originally published here as part of ‘Care as Method’ workshop, organised by University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Care without time
Shown disfigured through old glass
The kind that greens over time
It shudders through bodies, places
At speed

Care for a shared body
Of space(s)
Of knowledge(s)
Of love that knows only curiosity
When fear and uncertainty paint the surrounding trees
Making the forest inaudible to the touch

The violence of caring moves
Beyond harms way
Flowing through old, gnarled and tangled roots of intimacy
Known and unknown
Smelling of grassy, mossy interdependency

 

About the poem

I started to write a short essay for this workshop but found that my words couldn’t express the tensions I felt about my research, particularly the entanglement of care and time, and the contradictions inherent to caring relations. This poem is therefore about my attempt to think through the ethics and politics of care in relation to my research methodologies specifically. Through the poem I tried to untangle my thoughts through evoking different senses, to feel rather than (only) think with care. I try to depict my anxieties around what it means to care in research that is time-bound – limited to timescales, funding limitations, and often shaped by institutional ethical frameworks, which do not always produce ethical relations in situated research encounters. I try to speak to the care of shared labours, spaces and knowledges as liberating, stimulating but also extractive and oppressive. The quick shift to ‘fear and uncertainty’ in the poem, tries to emulate that sense of how unseen such inequalities and unevenness can be, often only revealed in intimate moments. I try to visualise these relations between care, violence and intimacy which occupy my thoughts.

 

 

When honesty is not the best policy: the ethical dilemma of sharing research findings

Two hours had just flown by. We were in the backyard of a local shopkeeper’s house that doubled as an electronic repair shop. But business was closed today. The heavy wooden doors and windows had been bolted shut so no one could interrupt the interview.

The conversation was about two communities entrenched in a bitter battle over ethnic hierarchy in the village. Engrossed by the interview, I had deliberately been doing very little talking when my speaker, a local schoolteacher and youth activist, asked me:

“I have told you everything I know. And I am sure you have interviewed them too, right? Now tell me, honestly… do you think we are telling the truth, or do you believe in their story?”

I suddenly realized at that moment that I had lost my grip over the interview. In a quick turn of events, we had switched roles. And I was now being asked to pick a side.

How should a researcher respond to such a question? Should she answer honestly, knowing that she will be showing researcher bias? Or should she refrain, and explain to her research participant why she must remain impartial? 

No matter which way you go, your ethical responsibility as a researcher is challenged. 

You can read the full text at Undisciplined Environment.

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!