Questions of age, generation and population: a look into FPE Dialogues – Netherlands

The Dutch edition of our Feminist Political Ecology Dialogues happened on May 17th 2022, in Wageningen, focusing on age, generation and population. Organized by and based on the interests and research of three WEGO PhDs candidates –  Constance Dupuis (ISS), Milja Fenger (ISS) and Nanako Nakamura (WU) – the event wanted to bring  different, but equally essential, discourses around life-making into the Feminist discussions about care, everyday practices, climate discussions, and social reproduction.

In part, it did so by showing the researcher’s cases and approaches, while evoking questions and discussions from the participants. The PhDs shared a similar standpoint of critical view on normativity, inspired by situated own notions and experiences. 

The first session, “Stories of Aging”, conducted by Constance and Nanako, centered on FPE’s intersectional thinking and the resistance against simple binary to see gendered and aging practices as relational construction of social differences. Both Nanako and Constance used socionatural understandings of the people/place intersection though the meanings presented in Japan and Uruguay.

The second session, “Exploring Controversies Around Population”, by Milja, paid attention to the everyday, to the embodied, to emotions. Milja focused on how FPE methodologies do not recognise the written text as the only or primary means of conducting knowledge production – and how FPE is able to be “performed” in multiple ways including through experimentation with art and creativity.

Despite sharing the understanding and FPE’s perspective, the three PhD researches are distinctive in terms of context, methodology, and research question. The multiplicity in FPE application contributes to diversifying the approach and the theoretical grounds of the Dialogues. 

Questions and reflections

Why and how questions of justice in later stages of life intersect with questions of environmental justice were briefly touched during the event. Both Nanako’s and Constance’s work suggested that aging concerns should feature in environmental justice research, with elderly being key actors in the struggles for environmental justice, as well as important knowledge holders. 

The Dutch edition laid out key concepts around human and non-human life. Environment can be diverse, beyond the natural environment, relationally shaped by a social-ecological political process. The discussions teased out some of those relational processes suggesting that any specific environment entails experiences of human and non-human interactions that make life continue in various ways. 

Photo by Sharmini Bissessar

With this notion in mind, WEGO-ITN PhDs can start looking at what makes a new way of living, unraveled not through relying on the popular notion of anti-aging or regeneration of the population, but through relating to different bodily experiences as an ethical approach (Nanako’s work).

In the second session, the FPE dialogue complicated questions by looking into the relationship between art and research and how methodologies from the former can be used in the latter. Milja Fender suggested that research on environmental justice would do well following the developments in wider academia around the use of creative methodologies in research, but that careful thought around what counts as research outputs are necessary.

The Dialogues were open to everyone interested in joining, so as to invite more people to conversations about FPE, and our interests around age and population. The organizers used mailing lists, personal contacts, and social media, e.g. Twitter and Facebook, to share the event announcement.

Final Report: Diálogos Transatlânticos

This is the final report based on the series of talks and events which happened on November 4th, Ecología Política Feminista y Ciudades Visibles: Diálogos Transatlânticos.

La Ecología Política Feminista se sustenta intelectual y metodológicamente en un enfoque de abajo hacia arriba para explorar y comprometerse con problemas socio-ambientales de carácter global pero también inherentemente local, prestando atención a las voces y reclamos de grupos y subjetividades tradicionalmente subrepresentados, marginados y oprimidos (por ejemplo mujeres, personas racializadas, inmigrantes o LGBTIQ).

Al mismo tiempo se propone un cambio de mirada desde un enfoque centrado en el ser humano a uno que va más allá de lo humano. Empleando conceptos como interseccionalidad y encarnación, la EPF plantea una mirada renovada sobre cómo las socionaturalezas y los metabolismos se forman a través de relaciones de poder que penetran en el cuerpo, la comunidad y la ciudad de múltiples formas interconectadas y que involucran a grupos situados de manera diferente. La EPF nos invita a ampliar nuestra comprensión prestando atención a las experiencias cotidianas cargadas de significado a través de un lente interseccional y le da la bienvenida a la conexión de la teoría y la praxis a través de puentes entre la academia, los gobiernos, las instituciones de formulación de políticas y las organizaciones de activistas.

Con el fin de debatir en torno a este concepto y aportar a su construcción colectiva, WEGO-ITN organizó varios diálogos, tanto virtuales como presenciales.

Los Diálogos recogidos en esta publicación tuvieron lugar el 4 de noviembre de 2021 en formato híbrido. Varios y varias participantes se encontraron de manera presencial en Barcelona y se sumaron participantes de diversos países de América Latina en formato virtual.

File name : Relatoria_CiudadesVivibles-1.pdf

FPE Dialogues UK – a look into frontline communities and the multiple faces of extractivism

This series of events was organised by WEGO-ITN Early Stage Researchers Dian Ekowati, Siti Maimunah, Alice Owen and Eunice Wangari, plus Prof. Rebecca Elmhirst, as a mentor.

The British version of WEGO-ITN’s Feminist Political Ecology Dialogues happened between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 in two separate occasions: on the The United Nations COP26 Peoples Summit for Climate Justice and as part of the Despite Extractivism Exhibition, organized by the Extracting Us Collective.

1. WEGO-ITN at UN Climate Change Conference

The United Nations COP26 took place in Glasgow, UK in November 2021 and was the focus for our first FPE dialogue event series.  

We invited the public, through the COP26 Peoples Summit for Climate Justice events programme, to join us to discover stories from Indonesia, Kenya and the UK which can be woven together to tell a bigger story about the making of climate colonialism, the logics of extractivism, and the ways communities resist and find alternatives.  We shared stories which have come to us through our research with communities as part of the WEGO network for Feminist Political Ecology. 

Through this FPE dialogue, we ask: what does the climate emergency look like in each of these places?  How do frontline communities resist ‘false solutions’? Through a toxic tour, we juxtapose untold stories from riverine, forest, agrarian, pastoralist and suburban communities in West and Central Kalimantan (Indonesia), Kenya and the UK. These stories of everyday struggles for life may be overlooked, and therefore untold, in the drama of large-scale resistances. Alongside the tour, we invite those attending in person to join us in an open story-sharing space to gather and connect untold stories from elsewhere.

We also bring these stories to the United Nations COP26 Virtual Gender Marketplace to bring our FPE perspective into conversation with policy makers alongside bodies including IUCN, UN Women and others engaged with gender and the climate agenda. 

Full post here.

Despite Extractivism Exhibition

Despite Extractivism is an online exhibition that assembled expressions of care, creativity and community in relation to diverse extractive contexts. The exhibition is both an exploration of extractivism, and of the already-existing alternatives. Collectively, the works in this exhibition illuminate and explore ways of questioning, subverting and resisting the violent logics and impacts of extractivism. The FPE dialogues event series provokes questions and discussions with communities, creatives and activists. Whilst our questions are informed by Feminist Political Ecology (FPE), the dialogues provide an opportunity to push FPE in new directions. 

In addition to the co-curation of an online exhibition following on from the Extracting Us exhibition series, the organising team organised a series of online webinars which were spaces where artists, activists, researchers and interested audiences could convene to explore extractivism and its alternatives through a FPE lens.  Between a launch event and a closing event, three webinars explored the stories, ideas and practises of the Despite Extractivism contributors and the communities they engaged with. The events, featuring performances, presentations and discussions,  focused in turn on expanding but intersecting scales, from the body to the global.  

Full post here.

Access to the webinars here:

Final WEGO-ITN training lab starts today

After four years of intense work, discussions, pandemic-related challenges and exciting new experiences, WEGO-ITN early-stage researchers and mentors gather today for a week of in-peron and online meetings, workshops, trainings and celebrations.

PhDs students will have the opportunity to share the development of their work not only with their mentors, but with all the members of the network. There will be small group discussions on research:  what has worked so far, what were the joys and difficulties, how they developed their skills as a FPE Scholar, where to go from now on.

There will also be a number of hands-on sessions, mainly the ones presented by Prof. Andrea Nightingale on how to write up field work and how to write up research into an article, or by Prof. Rebecca Elmhirst on how to move from PhD to applied research or by Prof. Lyla Mehta on how to fund FPE research. The group will work on the writing and conceptualizing of book chapters and contributions to academic journals.

The programme also includes training sessions designed specifically to help PhDs in furthering their careers after the WEGO-ITN network, focused in communication, in how to find funding opportunities for their research, how to succeed in job interviews, how to use social media in your favor, among others.

We are looking forward to an exciting week ahead. And make sure to join us today, April 25th, for the official launch of the “Feminist Methodologies”- book.

Choosing to “stay with the trouble”: a gesture towards decolonial research praxis

This post was originally published on the Undisciplined Environments blog. You can read the full text here

In the midst of growing hunger from colonial academia we reflect on the need to right our relationships with the Indigenous and other racialized peoples with whom we work in Nicaragua.

Stories that tell stories

“I cannot sign anything that would permit extractive research”, a Nicaraguan Miskitu scholar- activist told us in response to our request for consent to use the information he shared and demanded a commitment to right relations. “I have given you not just my words, my analysis, my history and my experience, but that of the Miskitu communities I walk with. What do you offer us in return?” He needed a guarantee that we were not “extracting knowledge like others extracting timber and land from Miskitu communities.”

Forest restoration in an Indigenous territory in Nicaragua. Source: JUSTCLIME Nicaraguan research team.

After he spoke, seconds passed, seconds that felt like forever. We replied in our own way about our individual and institutional practices, highlighting our broader commitments to co-research, resource sharing, and non-extraction with other Indigenous and marginalised communities. We closed proposing a second meeting to discuss what the project itself and the Nicaraguan-based institution could offer in return.

His words called for a reckoning with past wrongs, as well as future accountability. Were we attempting to distance “ourselves” from “those who extract” by trying to justify our research and publishing choices? Given our long-standing commitments to social justice processes linked to women’s and peasant movements in Central America, were we glossing over the ways in which each of us had subordinated critical race and decolonial concerns to questions of gender and/or class? We had not a priori selected Indigenous territories as research sites. Rather, our focus on socionatural conflict and climate change led us to draw upon pre-existing relationships with Miskitu, Mayangna and Rama-Kriol professionals and activists. The question our respondent posed forced us to consider the implications of these choices in a new way.

Despite our individual efforts to do non-extractive research, until that moment we had not taken a collective position on how to decolonize ourselves and our research praxis. To keep our promise, we first needed to collectively name, unravel and address the tensions and entanglements that gesturing towards a decolonial – non extractive research praxis means.

Tensions and entanglements with the extraction-assimilation system

Re/produced through mutually constitutive capitalist, colonial and patriarchal relations, the extraction-assimilation system wrecks relationships with and reaps resources from Indigenous and racialized peoples. As Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Mississauga Nishnaabeg) explains, “colonialism and capitalism are based on extracting and assimilating […] when people extract things, they’re taking and they’re running and they’re using it for just their own good.” Extractive research takes whatever teachings that are useful to knowledge holders out of their context, out of their language, thus “integrat[ing] them into this assimilatory mindset”. The act of extraction absolves those who take what is not theirs of responsibility and “removes all of the relationships that give whatever is being extracted meaning”.

In order to avoid “taking and running”, three tensions embedded in overlapping hierarchies of power and difference came into relief: (i) between the funding-based demands for written production linked to the colonial and extractive underpinnings of the academia on the one hand, and Indigenous territorial priorities on the other; (ii) between the Nicaraguan development institution we were collaborating with, and our personal commitments to gesturing towards decolonial practice; and (iii) between our desire to decolonize ourselves as researchers and our entanglement with Westernized research institutions that require claiming ownership over the production of knowledge. Layers of precarity intertwine making extraction-assimilation the default system in research: the precarities we as emerging researchers navigate, those of the underfunded and under political threat Nicaraguan institution, of our research efforts in pandemic times, and most importantly the precarities (read violence) faced by those in the Indigenous territories themselves.

Continue reading the full text here

FPE Dialogues Italy: a six-episode radio show

Introduction 

In the summer of 2020, half a year into the pandemic, a group of women coming from different political experiences and life paths working and living in Italy decided to come together as a rural feminism collective called Tutte Giù Per Terra and learn autonomoulsy how to organize, host and record several radio episodes. Anna Katharina Voss, Ilenia Iengo, Irene Leonardelli are PhD students and Stefania Barca mentor in the WEGO-ITN project, Miriam Corongiu is a farmer, Maddalena Cualbu a shepherd and Katya Madio a teacher. We gathered weekly to discuss topics, news, share experiences in order to build a collective knowledge upon which we planned our episodes. 

Radio shows were again very popular since the beginning of the pandemic, which reduced the spaces to encounter and discuss in person, but allowed for new and old methods of dissemination and organising to bloom. We sought the opportunity to participate in a radio channel called Radio iafue per la terra, an information and dissemination project run by Alleanza sociale per la sovranità alimentare, an Italian movement bringing together farmers and farm workers for food sovereignty. 

Picture: Irene Leonardelli

This is how we started the FPE dialogues in Italy, shaping them around 6 radio episodes, where the collective Tutte Giù Per Terra aimed to create a space for encounters of different grassroots experiences that engage with agroecology, women and LGBTQIA+ self-determination in rural areas, ecofeminist struggles against environmental contamination and neoliberal processes in the rural world and alliances across rural and urban feminisms. We intended to reach a public of alternative agricultural networks, undergraduate and graduate students and activists engaged in Political Ecology and transfeminism across the country.

We propose below the recording of these six radio episodes (all in Italian) with a short summary in English indicating the speakers and the main topics discussed. With this experience we grew collectively from the internal discussions, preparation and organisation, and we acquired editorial and hosting skills for radio shows. We aimed to share and amplify knowledge in the fields of feminism and agriculture/rurality in Italy, especially regarding alternative agricultural practices and political networks working on commons, depatriarchization of practices and environmental violence.

Yet the FPE Dialogues in Italy did not only involve online conversations through the different radio episodes. At the end of September 2021, some of us physically met in Naples to learn more about each other’s work and strengthen our collaboration. In particular, Ilenia, Irene and Stefania spent an afternoon with Miriam Corongiu at her Orto Conviviale, the farming project that she manages just outside of Naples, where she also lives. As activists and researchers in the Land of Fires (La Terra dei Fuochi), Ilenia, Stefania and Miriam have known each other and worked together for a long time. Instead, Irene, who is from the North of Italy and currently lives in the Netherlands, met Miriam for the first time. 

We walked around the farm admiring the plants and trees that Miriam (together with her husband and daughter) is growing. We sat together and listened to Miriam’s experience about what it means to be a woman farmer in the Land of Fires. We discussed the strength of her work as a political project. We shared experiences and stories of other women farmers involved in agroecological projects in different places where we have lived and worked (India, north of Italy, Spain, Romania). We talked about the struggles and the joys that come from farming a land with attention to preserving traditional seeds and trees and learning from traditional practices, taking care of the soil, the water and cherishing the harvest each season. Miriam’s Orto Conviviale represents a place of resistance and struggle in the midst of a land that keeps burning. It is also a place of conviviality and sharing where local women meet to buy fruit and vegetables but also to sit together and discuss, share experiences, do politics.

Picture: Irene Leonardelli

Learning from Miriam’s project while being there in person, enjoying the delicious food she prepared with all her harvest, was incredibly inspiring to reflect on what it means to actually practice feminist political ecology and on the importance of farming collaborations blurring the binaries between research and activism and urban and rural socio-ecological spaces. We hope that the FPE Dialogues in Italy, and all the conversations we fostered through and beyond the radio programmes, will continue to flourish in this direction….

Watch – and listen to – the full episodes here:

Episode 1 – An introduction to rural and peasant feminisms

Episode 2 – A dialogue on feminism and care for the territory with Comunità rurale diffusa

Episode 3 – A dialogue on patriarchal violence in agriculture with Simona Lanzoni and Stefania Prandi

Episode 4 – A dialogue on the restanza movement in Irpinia with Maria Laura Amendola

Episode 5 – A dialogue on farmers protests in India with Irene Leonardelli and Arianna Tozzi

Episode 6 – A dialogue on the 8M feminist strike and territorial resistances

Reflections from the Degrowth Conference – Part 2

This is the continuation of the first part of the Reflections.

The set-up of the first 3 days meant that we had many parallel sessions taking place, many of them online, or here and there at the different venues in The Hague (with limited places due to Covid-19 restrictions) which initially felt, to me at least, that the conference was all a bit scattered and hard to grasp in its completeness. Especially as I and many others of the organising team were still busy working behind the scenes and problem-solving issues like speakers not having registered on time or cancelling last minute, providing IT support for the online sessions, preparing the plenaries etc. – all dealings that come with organising a hybrid international event. Whereas during the last 2 days it all seemed to come together, and I felt that I could finally engage more deeply with the actual content of our conference. For those of us who were in town in person, this was also a moment to all gather numerously at a central location. These last 2 days concentrated many of the key conversation plenaries as well as the closing session, all of them taking place at cultural venue PAARD in The Hague and being livestreamed with some speakers joining online. The plenaries’ themes and speakers were as diverse as the overall sessions and activities within the 8 thematic key conversations, and featured truly inspiring voices and stories from many different parts of the world. As a culmination of the key conversations on FPE and Decoloniality, WEGO organised the corresponding plenary sessions. ‘Decoloniality and Degrowth: Resonating and Listening’ hosted by Chizu Sato invited us to think-feel beyond Western academic forms of knowing and experience decolonial and anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal ways of being-in-common by cultivating active listening. Listening to the knowledges inherited in stories, music, art, oral traditions and other-wise practices of inhabiting territories and cultures as a first step to really face and counter the continuing structural and cultural effects of colonialism. 

Chizu Sato hosting the Decoloniality plenary during which we were also delighted with a musical performance by speaker Max de Ploe and Mame N’Diack. Photos by Anna Voss

‘Feminist Political Ecology Perspectives on Degrowth’ was a dialogue between WEGO mentors Giovanna Di Chiro, Stefania Barca and Seema Kulkarni about their work on environmental and climate justice, gender, care and degrowth conceptually and in situated communities in the US, Brazil and India. Facilitated by Panagiota Kotsila and Ilienia Iengo we listened to them conversing about the importance of engaging carefully with communities their territories conflicted by ecological exploitation. As a core theme in FPE, this also means understanding how culture and gender roles shape these communities and to decolonise our ways of creating kinship to avoid patronising the land and its people as we strive to build solidarity connections – in Giovanna’s words, “to indigenise ourselves”. Bodies, territories, care and human and more-than-human wellbeing are intrinsically intertwined and our plenary gave a glimpse of how a FPE perspective can help embed these concepts within degrowth scholarship and activism on the ground. After our plenary I had several participants at PAARD approach me saying they were deeply appreciative of the insights they had gotten from the discussion – a welcomed feedback to realise that we had offered the audience inspiring food for further thought.

The FPE plenary with Wendy Harcourt and Anna Voss on stage in The Hague, and Panagiota Kotsila and Ilenia Iengo facilitating the debate online with our speakers Giovanna Di Chiro, Stefania Barca and Seema Kulkarni while sketcher Carlotta Cataldi was graphically capturing the discussion in her live-drawing. Photo by Irene Leonardelli

Finally, the grand finale of the closing plenary provided each of the 8 thematic streams a moment to reflect on the themes that had emerged during the past days as well as to look forward, asking the question of “Where do we go from here?”.

For the FPE key conversation Irene Leonardelli pointedly resumed why we need a feminist degrowth movement:

“Because a movement for social and environmental needs to include diversities: diversities of gender, race, class, ableism, and sexual identities; and these diversities need to be included in meaningful ways. Because including these diversities is the only way to counteract and dismiss the colonial and oppressive and exclusive continuities of our consumption patterns. Because a limit-full desirable inclusive future has to be shaped on reciprocity and responsibilities, to care for one another and for the planet that we are all part of. 

In this regard, the FPE Key Conversation also stressed the importance of learning from communities that are already practicing degrowth, communities, movements, collectives (and we heard many stories and experiences during the past days) that refuse to align themselves to the logic of capitalism and growth and of centralized oppressive market-oriented states; communities that are fighting every day for environmental and social justice, or more simply for their own well-being and survival on earth.”

Wendy Harcourt, Irene Leonardelli and Enid Still at the conference’s closing plenary. Picture by John Akerman Özgüç

Back in 2018, at the 6th International Degrowth Conference in Malmö, the Feminisms and Degrowth Alliance (FaDA) was launched to shape the degrowth movement from within. I believe it’s fair to say that through WEGO’s engagement we ensured that feminist and decolonial thinking and doing was embedded as a fundamental approach throughout our conference weaving through many of the discussion and other key conversations as well. Nonetheless this is an ongoing process in-the-making which requires us to continuously and critically question both our political visions and everyday doings as we try to give meaning to the idea of caring communities and the radical change they can bring about.  

Speaking on behalf of the Decoloniality key conversation, Enid Still gave a very nuanced reflection on the importance but also challenges that come with diversifying the degrowth movement:

“We think there needs to be a deeper engagement with colonial histories not just theoretically but materially, which means tackling questions of reparations and mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, as well as challenging the sustained silencing of these histories and epistemologies from the south in pedagogic practice. This involves engaging with existing and ongoing work, particularly from scholars, activists and artists in the global south, on how global economic structures are deeply racialised and colonial. A sustained engagement in this way, will help the movement to better understand how the hegemonic way of living and being – capitalist, white, hetero-patriarchial, ablest – takes away space and possibility for other ways of being and living. 

 However, we also want to bring a practice of caution to the use of terms like care and decoloniality, particularly in spaces of white privilege. We need to question what actions the use of these concepts actually entail and what happens when these terms are used within forms of self-representation? Reflexivity is important here but is it enough? To avoid appropriation, co-option and paying lip-service to the important thinking and praxis of decoloniality, perhaps it’s helpful to come back down after this conference and start from our own situated, local, yet networked place and practice to think about these huge, globally entangled and often uncomfortable questions. Since to take these learnings into our everyday lives will be an important step in taking decoloniality seriously.”

Concentrated listening during the plenaries at PAARD and a festive audience thinking-feeling degrowth in their bodies at the conference’s closing session. Photos by John Akerman Özgüç

The conference in The Hague may be over, but in conversations with my fellow colleagues and friends who in one way or the other were participating in making it happen, it became clear that many of us are still processing, digesting and reflecting back on the whole process while also looking forward and asking ourselves: How to continue these rich and diverse discussions? And in all their diversity, did the amalgam of sessions and perspectives engage enough with the concept of degrowth as such, in its analytical but also practical, material aspects? How to grow the degrowth movement and make it speak to those who are not already in one way or another working on building alternatives? How to reach beyond academic circles and localised self-organised grassroots initiatives? Whose voices are missing in our discussions and imaginaries of radical change? How do we as WEGO want to engage further with degrowth, analytically and practically? (Hint: Some of these conversations will likely continue within our network and find their way into a collective book we are planning to publish next year). 

One apparent paradox that was raised during the closing plenary and that stayed with me afterwards, was how to reconcile degrowth’s celebration of slowness, of slowing down our hectic lives and counter the ever-accelerating capitalist pace, with the sense of urgency and the need to address the multiple crises our planet is facing. Don’t we have to speed up to radically change the destruction of the ecosystems and climate that sustain us (and that we are part of) and to tackle the deep socio-economic injustices that were only made more visible by Covid-19? 

Obviously, no conference as inspiring as it might be would ever be enough to solve the world’s pressing issues in 5 days. Rather, I like to think in terms of Donna Haraway’s idea of ‘staying with the trouble’ and staying with the inherent contradictions of any social and political movement or network. And cherishing that degrowth embraces so many different perspectives, voices and scales of action, ranging e.g. from anarchist system-subversive activism to trying to influence the policy arena. Maybe degrowth is an umbrella for a diversity of approaches, maybe it is just one amongst many alternative movements… In that sense, I loved how activist and artist Jay Jordan during the Cultural Politics plenary invited us to ‘Start from where you are and what you can do, and most importantly, have joy in doing it!’

Within the conference together with my colleagues Irene Leonardelli and Enid Still we organised a small film festival on ‘feminist and decolonial naturecultures to inspire degrowth imaginaries’ for which we had selected 10 documentaries that were originally showcased in the Rising Gardens Film Festival 2021 by the campaign One Billion Rising South Asia and the Indian feminist network Sangat and Kriti Film Club. The audio-visuals featured stories of women entangled in ecological realities which attend to feminist and decolonial ideas, practices and resistances. As film maker Nandan Saxena expressed during our panel discussion on how film as an art form can help us imagine liveable futures, sharing small situated stories is like planting “seeds of thought”. Trying to resist the feeling of helplessness and despair at the state of the world, I hope with our conference we planted a few new seeds while nurturing what is already flourishing.

Ultimately, what I take with me is the experience of having been part of a fantastic team organising such an international event in a non-hierarchical, self-organised manner and in a complex hybrid format during a global pandemic. A huge shoutout and congratulations to all my colleagues and friends, from WEGO and beyond, who made this degrowth conference possible, and to all the participants for enriching it with their contributions and discussions.

Thank you!

New article: “Practices of Care in Times of COVID-19”

Our researchers Marlene Gómez Becerra and Eunice Muneri-Wangari published a paper on “Frontiers in Human Dynamics”: Practices of Care in Times of COVID-19. They also explained how this publication came into being:

“We saw in this health crisis the ideal scenario for rethinking and listening to other forms of life and to recognize diverse practices of care that can work as a vehicle of social change. Questioning these practices motivated us to write this paper”

 

Abstract:

We argue that the COVID-19 virus has been a trigger for emerging practices of care by being an actor with agency that transforms the everyday life of subjects by placing them under uncertainty. Therefore, this paper aims to show how practices of care emerged or were maintained as vulnerable groups were confronted by restrictions to movement and uncertainties following the outbreak of COVID-19. We demonstrate this using two case studies of the Maasai pastoral community in Narok, Kenya and the community kitchens in the city of Berlin, Germany. Thus, we seek to show how practices of care for, care about, and care with are carried out by the members of these communities during pandemic times. Granted that care remains highly contentious in feminist literature, this paper contributes to a growing body of literature on care in Feminist Political Ecology by broadening the conceptualization of care. The research builds on a typology of care relations based on practices of distribution, exchange, and reciprocity. This allows us to show when care is exercised in a unidirectional and hierarchical way and when in a multidirectional way reinforcing social bonds of responsibility and collective care that transcends the socio-nature boundaries.

The article is Open Access and you can read the full paper here.

Registrations are open for ‘FPE Dialogues on Re-thinking Food’

Registrations are now open for our ‘Feminist Political Ecology Dialogues on Re-thinking Food’ on July 1st & 2nd at University of Passau. Register via the following link: https://bit.ly/2TUaoPp

About Rethinking Food Passau

Food is essential to sustaining relational webs of life. Difficult times around the world have only further demonstrated this interdependence and the need to think differently about food systems. To attend to the question of what constitutes alternative agriculture and food practices, and why it is important, the “Feminist Political Ecology Dialogues on Re-thinking Food” has been organized by the University of Passau. It is part of a series of events organized by  WEGO-ITN. The two-day event will be held online on Zoom on the 1st and 2nd of July from 16:00 to 18:00 CEST. Since this is an international event, translation from English into German and Indonesian Bahasa will be provided.

Food production and supply has changed dramatically over the past few decades, contributing to unjust processes of production and distribution of food around the world. The global food industry is also closely interrelated with climate change. In addition, the homogenising effects of factory farming and monocultures mean that regional suppliers find it increasingly difficult to participate in food markets. These inter-related concerns make the need for alternative forms of agriculture and food consumption ever more visceral. The aim of the FPE Dialogues is to share insights from ongoing research projects and engagements with alternative food and economic practices in Indonesia, India and Germany; with the hope to stimulate conversation about what constitutes “alternative” agriculture or food consumption and why it matters.

The keynote speaker for the first day will be Dr Parto Teherani-Krönner. She will speak about her concept of ‘meal cultures’ and its relevance in re-thinking the multiple layers of food relations. We very much look forward to welcoming her to Passau via zoom, and hope to see some of you there.

Day 1
Dr Parto Teherani-Krönner on ‘Meal Cultures’
Followed by questions and discussion with the audience
16.00-18.00 CEST

Day 2
Roundtable on Re-thinking Food
Dimas Dwi Laksmana, Patrick Keilbart, Marlene Gómez Becerra, Siti Maimunah and Enid Still
16.00-18.00 CEST

Presenters will share perspectives from research on organic agriculture in Indonesia, community kitchens in Berlin, the relationship between food security and coal extraction in Indonesia and agricultural collectives in India.

The roundtable will then reflect with the audience on questions of inclusivity and the meaning of alternative in food systems.

 

Information provided by: Passau University

Register now for ‘Feminist political ecology and the economics of care’ at IAFFE

WEGO-ITN’s coordinator Prof. Dr. Wendy Harcourt will be speaking on June 17th at the 29th international conference of the International Association for Feminist Economists, in Quito, Ecuador. The preconference lecture – ‘Feminist political ecology and the economics of care’ – will be online, 16:00 (Quito time) and 23:00 (Amsterdam time).

Registration for English speaking public

Registration for Spanish-speaking public

About the lecture:

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 is to build caring communities for change based on solidarity economies. Such economies would value care work in all areas of live with the creation of new job sectors and climate-friendly livelihoods which challenge the gendered composition of today’s neoliberal, androcentric and capitalocentric economy.

In her lecture, Professor Wendy Harcourt will discuss how different notions of care from feminist political ecology, feminist economy and feminist degrowth profoundly challenge the neoliberal capitalist focus on growth, the free market and technological efficiency and the inadequate lip service paid to notions of gender, empowerment and inclusion.