Welcome – A genealogy of political ecology. Michael Watts (UCB) took us through a tour of the genealogy of political ecology -- its emergence in the 1970s in reaction to the organicism and political economic blind spots of hazards research, cultural ecology, and ecological anthropology -- and its implications for current thinking on resilience and adaptation.
Session 1 – Epistemology/ontology: grappling with socio-natural complexity. In discussion with Henrik Ernstson (U Cape Town/Stanford), Nathan Sayre (UCB), Adam Romero (UCB), and Sophie Moore (UCD) on materiality, texturing our accounts, performance, the historical specificity of the categories we use, and not waiting to code things as absent.
Session 2 – Practical challenges and opportunities of inter/transdisciplinarity. I joined Ryan Galt (UCD), Marissa Matsler (PSU), and Morgan Williams (UCB) to discuss bridging the quantitative/qualitative divide.
Session 3 – Praxis and engaged scholarship. Sandy Brown (USF) on working on farm labor and strawberry fumigation in Santa Cruz, Mike Simpson (UVic/UBC) on using PE to decolonize land use histories in relation to First Nations food systems in BC, Erin Goodling (PSU) on working with the Portland Harbor Community Coalition to reframe superfund development plans, Lindsey Dillon (UCD) on working in Bayview Hunters Point with anti-gentrification and EJ activists, and Katie Bradley (UCD) on food dignity and urban farm schools in the East Bay.
Session 4 – Pitching political ecology projects to funders & publishers. Henrik, Jake Kosek (UCB), Liz Carlisle (UCB), and Ingrid Behrsin (UCD) discussed the ins and outs of funding our projects and getting our work published.
Closing – A future for political ecology. Jake discussed political ecology's major contributions and blind spots, i.e., where we are and where we might go. Five areas of potential expansion, he suggests, are: more conversations with STS, including political ecology of the lab; more attention to the environmental humanities, especially notions of nature, personhood, the role of art; an emphasis on race, which is a serious lacuna, e.g. the role of the state in racial formation, Black Lives Matter; bringing Southern political economy into Northern discussions; retaining but moving beyond political economy ("we can't always use Capital as our starting point").
A fantastic day that we hope to institutionalize... looking forward to the next Left Coast workshop... 2016 or 2017?