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

Call for contributions for “Spaces of Possibility”- Conference and Exhibition

Our colleagues at RECOMS, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN that started around the same time as WEGO and covers fairly similar topics, are organising an international confex (Conference + Exhibition) in Brussels from the 7th till the 11th of June 2021. The event is titled ‘Spaces of Possibility: communities and places in times of social and environmental uncertainty’ and is open to anyone who is interested in the themes of community-driven transformation, socio-environmental justice and creative methods. The programme will include exciting keynotes, creative workshops, interactive sessions, a policy roundtable and guided tours of the exhibition.

Do you want to be part of this compelling programme by presenting your work, facilitating a workshop or initiating a debate? The call for contributions (presentation & full session proposals) is now open! The thematic tracks are:

  • Systems and structures
  • Representation and justice
  • Material places and embodied practices
  • Sustainability research as co-creative practice

For more info on the themes, deadlines and other practicalities, visit the event’s webpage:
https://recoms.eu/content/recoms-confex

 

COVID-19 NOTE: Please note that the event is planned to be organised in-person adhering to strict safety and health regulations. However, if this will not be possible in light of further development of the pandemic, the conference part of the programme will be held online. The event will under no circumstances be cancelled or postponed.

New book: “Negotiating Gender Expertise in Environment and Development”

Our partner Prof. Dr. Rebecca Elmhirst, from the University of Brighton, together with Dr. Bernadette Resurrección, released a new book in December 2020: “Negotiating Gender Expertise in Environment and Development – Voices from Feminist Political Ecology”, by Routledge.

This book casts a light on the daily struggles and achievements of ‘gender experts’ working in environment and development organisations, where they are charged with advancing gender equality and social equity and aligning this with visions of sustainable development.

Developed through a series of conversations convened by the book’s editors with leading practitioners from research, advocacy and donor organisations, this text explores the ways gender professionals – specialists and experts, researchers, organizational focal points – deal with personal, power-laden realities associated with navigating gender in everyday practice. In turn, wider questions of epistemology and hierarchies of situated knowledges are examined, where gender analysis is brought into fields defined as largely techno-scientific, positivist and managerialist.

An open access version of this book is freely available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351175180 

Covid-19 pandemic and oil spills in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The confluence of two crisis

How can we reframe the current planetary crisis to find ways for decisive and life-changing collective action? The Amazon region of Ecuador, at the center of two crises –Covid-19 and a major oil spill–, but also home to a long history of indigenous resistance, offers some answers.

Navigating two crises

In Ecuador, the intensification of resource extraction and pollution, floods and weather disturbances have hit hardest marginalized populations. Indigenous peoples and people living in the Amazon have continuously suffered an enormous political and economic disadvantage when confronting extractive industries and allied state bodies. The vulnerability of the peoples and territory of the Ecuadorian Amazon region has been even more severely exposed during the Covid-19 lockdown period which began 16 March 2020.

On 7 April 2020, the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil Pipeline System and the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline, which transport Ecuador’s oil production, collapsed. The pipelines were built along the banks of the Coca River and the collapse resulted in the spillage of an enormous quantity of crude oil into its waters. The Coca river is a key artery in the regional Amazon system. It runs through three national parks that form one of the richest biodiverse areas on Earth, which has been historically preserved by the ways of life of the indigenous peoples who inhabit it.

Read the full article here

Wendy Harcourt is co-author of this blog published on Undisciplined Environments

 

Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Development 2021-23: call for applications

The International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS/EUR) is inviting applications for the Prince Claus Chair (PCC) of Equity and Development 2021-23 with the theme: 

‘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’.

The Prince Claus Chair

The Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Developmentis a rotating professorship in the field of Equity and Development. The chair was established jointly by two Dutch institutions, Utrecht University (UU) and the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in honour of Prince Claus of the Netherlands (1926-2002): http://princeclauschair.nl/The Chair is intended for a young academic from the Global South.

The chair is ‘honorary’ (0.0 fte) and rotates annually between these two establishments and the term has a duration of two years. The Chair holds the post for two academic years (2021-23) and remains embedded in her/his own institution while undertaking residential periods to participate in an agreed programme of activities in The Netherlands in line with the PCC Vision document (link). The residential periods will be for a minimum of 6 months over two years and all costs associated with travel, living expenses and accommodation in The Netherlands will be covered. 

The International Institute of Social Studies

The PCC 2021-23 will be based at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS/EUR: https://www.iss.nl/en). The ISS is an international post graduate research and teaching institute based in The Hague, which brings together people, ideas and insights from around the world in a multi-disciplinary setting which nurtures, fosters and promotes critical thinking and innovative research on fundamental social problems. Through its teaching and research, ISS has strong partnerships with organizations and individuals in the Global South and a vibrant network which ensures that teaching and research remain socially relevant.

The PCC 2021-23

For the PCC 2021-23, ISS is looking for a socially committed researcher who is deeply engaged in our world’s rapidly changing economic, ecological and technological environments. The candidate selected will be a researcher from the Global South, who is undertaking cutting edge multidisciplinary research and who, in addition, is engaged with communities in both within the academic world and outside of it. The position is intended for an up-and-coming scholar who would benefit from being a PCC in order to further her or his own research, engage in teaching where requested, and to contribute to the public debate reflecting specifically on the Covid-19 pandemic on ways to put in place equitable care at the centre of economies.

The PCC chair will work with the ISS in the partnership with Wageningen University  to develop the research programme and will be embedded in a number of key global networks – The Well-being, Ecology, Gender and community (WEGO); The Community Economies Research Network (CERN); The Revaluing Care in the Global Economy; Political Ecology Network (POLLEN; The International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) and The Degrowth R&D– to select case studies to be undertaken with communities which have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in innovative and exciting ways, and to contribute societally relevant and policy-relevant papers.

The research will explore care and responsibility at the intersection of feminist political ecology and economy looking at community economies and the careful-work in communities for humans and the more-than-human and how care is centred in current economic policy, based on principles of equity, diversity and gender justice. Any teaching or public engagements will relate to the expertise of the candidate. They will be undertaken closely and collaboratively and in the context of ISS interests and engagement in equity and development. For more background on how the research is positioned and designed see here: PCC Final background paper

The ideal candidate has a strong research profile that is able to combine fields that take care as central to their enquiry such as: public health, gender and labour studies, feminist economics, social policy, reproductive rights and health, and environmental justice and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, candidates will:

  • be from or based in the Global South
  • have a PhD (obtained in the last 15 years) and good academic track record;
  • be fluent in English;
  • be based in an academic institution and/or research network that has strong societal relevance and impact in the area of gender and care;
  • be able to participate and help to strengthen research networks linked to ISS, Wageningen and other institutions in The Netherlands and internationally;
  • be able to engage in post graduate teaching public debate when requested; and
  • be available to be in the NL for 3 months per year of the appointment in at least two periods. 

Application

The International Institute of Social Studies is committed to building and sustaining a community based on inclusiveness, equity and diversity and believes this will contribute to our mission and vision of being the best institute in our field. ISS is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities. Given the current composition of the ISS academic staff and priorities relating to staff diversity, the Institute has a preference for applicants originating from the Global South and also encourages applications from minority candidates.

Please submit the following documents in one PDF file to Azza Elias Botrus: eliasbotrus@iss.nl:

  • a motivation letter (maximum 4 pages) which includes a description of areas you would like to focus on in the PCC; 
  • a detailed CV which provides information on your publications, grants, teaching activities and teaching evaluations, societally relevant activities; and 
  • contact details of three referees. 

Please do not send letters of reference or examples of your academic writing.

Deadline for submitting your application is 1 September. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a skype interview in the period 14-22 September 2020

For additional information: 

On the PCC 2021-23 position please contact: Professor Wendy Harcourt: harcourt@iss.nl

On the background of the PCC and vision document, please visit: http://princeclauschair.nl/

On ISS, please visit: www.iss.nl

Aging and environment: towards intergenerational thinking

Constance Dupuis presented her research design seminar on 21 February at the Institute of Social Studies, suggesting that there are many fruitful discussions to be had at the intersection of aging and environment. She sets out to ask: How can we understand aging and old age beyond dominant discourses of ‘successful aging’? How can we learn from perspectives that don’t construct old age as a life stage necessarily in need of intervention? Where are communities working on intergenerational and environmental wellbeing as intertwined processes? What can we learn from such experiments in hopefulness?

WEGO in action in India

Prof Wendy Harcourt, WEGO project coordinator will be travelling to India to give lectures as part of the WEGO-ITN initiative.

Prof Harcourt gave a lecture on
“Rethinking life-in-common in the Australian landscape”
on Friday, 7 February from 16 to 18 hrs at IGCS Seminar Hall, 4th floor, Biotechnology Building 2, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Indian Institute Of Technology.

The lecture reflected on the shifts in Wendy’s personal and political lifeworld across time and space by sharing a story of changing awareness about ‘life-in-common’ in the Australian landscape; a landscape that is marked by historical, ecological and resource struggle and injustice. Her commentary takes up the rethinking of ‘life-in-common’ as part of the search for alternatives to capitalism and a way to overcome socio-ecological crises which pays attention to the deep connections of nature and culture. Wendy reflects on what a ‘life-in-common’ means as an Australian born feminist political ecologist wishing to understand how to address the erasures and violence that mark the Australian landscape.


applying a gender lens to the environment in the everyday

On Wednesday, 5th of February, Prof Wendy Harcourt gave a lecture on
“Applying a gender lens to the environment in the everyday”
at the Women’s Studies Centre and the Department of Sociology of Savitribai Phule Pune University, from 14.00 to 16.00 pm hosted by Dr. Swati Dehadroy and Dr. Anagha Tambe from the Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre and Dr. Shruti Tambe and Prof Hemant Chouhan from the Department of Sociology.

 

 

Wendy Harcourt at SPPU in Pune, 5 February 2020
WEGO in Pune, February 2020
WEGO in Chennai, February 2020