Political Ecologies: Nature, Place, Heritage Archive (2017-2018)

Please see below for archived 2017-2018 events.


September 11, 2017

5 – 7 PM

Political Ecologies Working Group

Updates on HWW Grant and Pakistan fieldwork summer 2017

  • Date(s): Monday, 9/11 5:00 PM to Monday, 9/11 7:00 PM
  • Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-6354


Political Ecology as Practice:  A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene

November 3-4, 2017

Location: Jane Addams Hull House, 800 S. Halsted Street

Organized by Ömür Harmanşah, UIC Art History and Molly Doane, UIC, Anthropology

This workshop will investigate the reciprocal relationship and the disjunction between the metropolitan theories of the Anthropocene, climate change, and the global environmental crisis on the one side; and the experience of local ecological conflicts in various micro-regions around the world, on the other. The central research question to be collectively addressed will be whether the current vibrant theories of the academic/metropolitan center derive from or get inspired by the multiplicity of regional ecological conflicts experienced today. Conversely we ask, in what particular ways, these theories impact various human communities in their relationship to their land, its resources, biodiversity, and heritage. The workshop will invite participants to discuss global theories of the Anthropocene and its new ontologies of time and materiality, while investigating their links to regional practices and discourses. The workshop includes presentations by UIC faculty and graduate students who will present comparative studies of place-based politics of the environment in regional contexts, delivering the results from their fieldwork in diverse landscapes. These fieldwork initiatives are developed from existing projects of graduate students and faculty at UIC and the collaborating institution(s).

The workshop is designed in conjunction with a Humanities Without Walls award and a joint invitation to Bruno Latour, leading figure in Science and Technology Studies and Professor at Sciences Po (Paris), by the UIC Political Ecologies Working Group and the UIC School of Art and Art History.  The workshop takes place following a Master Class by Bruno Latour and is meant to complement the conversations and the collaborative work taking place.

Sponsored by a Humanities Without Walls Consortium Grant, and UIC units:

Institute for the HumanitiesOffice of the Dean, ADA College; EnglishArt and Art History; the Department of Anthropology

Nov 3, 2017

9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks

Mark Canuel (UIC, Director Institute for the Humanities) – Welcome Remarks

Ömür Harmanşah (UIC, Department of Art History) – Introduction: Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene 

9:15 AM – 12:00 PM Plenary Session:  Four Analytical Frameworks for the Anthropocene

Molly Doane (UIC, Anthropology) Chair and moderator-Political ecology from a sociocultural anthropology perspective

David Wise (UIC, Biological Sciences and Institute for Environmental Science and Policy) Ecological Perspectives of Space and Place in the Anthropocene: An Example from Socio-Ecological Research 

Beate Geissler (UIC, Art) – Hopium Economy 

Ralph Cintron (UIC, English and Latin American and Latino Studies) – Mine-Yours-Ours-Theirs: A Preliminary Inquiry into Property Relations in the Anthropocene 

Panel discussion – moderated by Molly Doane

1:30 Reporting from the Field I: Agriculture, Land, and Climate Change

Tannya Islas (UIC, Latin American and Latino Studies) – Working in and through Climate Change: Agricultural Landscapes in Coamiles, Nayarit, Mexico.

Charles Corwin (UIC, Urban Planning and Policy) Knowledge Production and Practice in Industrial Row Crop Farming, Northern Illinois 

Katy Dye (UIC, Department of Anthropology) Climate Change as State Discourse: Conjuring Climate in Bolivia’s Water Crisis. 

Molly Doane (UIC, Anthropology) – Cultivating Chicago: Gardens as Ecological Infrastructures.

2:30 Discussant: Christopher Boyer (UIC, History and Latin American and Latino Studies)

Panel discussion moderated by Christopher Boyer

3:30 Coffee

4:00 Intervention I: Challenges of the Anthropocene

Tracey Heatherington (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Anthropology) – Assisted Abundance: Viable Ontologies for a Climate Resilient

Max Berkelhammer (UIC, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) The challenges of detecting global change: Examples from the land, sea and air 

Panel discussion 

 Nov 4: Saturday Morning

9:00 Reporting from the Field II: Disposable Landscapes

Javairia Shahid (UIC, Art History) – Place, Heritage and Resistance in the Wakhan Corridor, Pakistan 

Ian Baird (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Geography), Kanokwan Manorom (Ubon Ratchathani University), Aurore Phenow (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Sirasak Gaja-Svasti(Ubon Ratchathani University), What about the Tributaries of the Tributaries? Fish Migrations, Fisheries, Dams and Local Knowledge along the Sebok River in Northeastern Thailand. 

Alize Arıcan (UIC, Anthropology), The Third Bridge and Northern Forests of Istanbul: A Case of Ecological Resistance. 

Ömür Harmanşah (UIC, Art History)- Disposable Landscapes, Disposable Lives: The Political Ecology of Water in Central Turkey 

10:00 Discussant: Sinan Erensü (Northwestern, Buffett Institute for Global Studies)

Panel discussion moderated by Sinan Erensü

10:45 Coffee

11:00 Final Remarks and Keynote Speech

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris) Brecht: The Life of Lovelock (40 minutes)

12:15 Lunch

Saturday November 4th, Afternoon

1:00 Field Trip to Southeast Environmental Task Force (South Side of Chicago) and the Calumet River, Petcoke Site

Intervention II: Ecology, Art, and Activism

Conversation at Southeast Environmental Task Force: Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy

Speakers: Peggy Salazar (Southeast Environmental Task Force) Brian Holmes (artist) and Terry Evans (artist) (40 minutes)

Moderator: Beate Geissler (UIC, Art)

Guided Walk: Calumet River Industrial Landscape and the Petcoke Site

  • Date(s): Friday, 11/3 9:00 AM to Friday, 11/3 6:00 PM
  • Address: Jane Addams Hull House
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-6354


Political Ecologies Event

Briefing Master Class with Latour: Brecht: The Life of Galileo redux

January 22, 2018 from 5 – 7 PM

  • Date(s): Monday, 1/22 5:00 PM to Monday, 1/22 7:00 PM
  • Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
  • Location: Chicago, IL, United States
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Phone: (312) 996-6354


April 17, 2018

11 AM – 12 PM

Meeting to discuss April 20-21 “Political Ecology in Practice: Fieldworkers Workshop”

  • Date(s): Tuesday, 4/17 11:00 AM to Tuesday, 4/17 12:00 PM
  • Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Website: http://huminst.uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-6354


Political Ecology in Practice: Fieldworkers Workshop
[A Humanities Without Walls Project]
April 20-21, 2018

Location: The Great Space, Art Building 5th Floor, 400 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607

Supported by the Institute for the Humanities, Political Ecologies Working Group and the Humanities Without walls Consortium grants.

Goal: This workshop will bring together the HWW Project “Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene” Project participants and fieldworkers together to discuss field objectives, field methods, and the 2019 Gallery 400 exhibition that will result from them. It will comprise semi-structured presentations of fieldwork that has already happened in Pakistan’s Hunza Valley and Chicago’s urban gardens. Six other field initiative will take place in the Late Spring and Summer of 2018. This is the final chance for the fieldworkers and participants will come together to exchange ideas and compare field research objectives.

We will share: Fieldwork guide (field protocols) booklet with everyone + Exhibition pamphlet draft + Rite in the Rain Field notebooks (for Fieldworkers only)

April 20, 2018  
Friday Morning: (10 AM – 12:30 PM) 

Please note: ONLY Friday AM presentations will be public.  Please respond at this link if you plan to attend: [REGISTRATION]

Semi-structured presentations

·   10:00 Presentation of progress on the web publication of Latour’s Master Class- emerging ideas. Summary of wine and white board meeting. (Ömür Harmanşah)

·   10:30 Presentation of the ongoing work on the design of the January 2019 Exhibition and guidelines for fieldworkers (Tamara Becerra Valdez + Pınar Üner Yılmaz)

·   1: 00 Presentation on Pakistan Hunza Valley field season (Javairia Shahid)

·   11: 30 Presentation on Chicago urban gardens fieldwork (Molly Doane)

·   12:00-12:30 Discussion, Q + A

12:30-2 pm Lunch (sandwiches and drinks will be served)

Friday Afternoon (2 PM – 4:30 PM)

2:00 pm. Break into small groups of 7 different field projects. Each group will be chaired by Field coordinators. The groups work on the goals, objectives and methodologies specific for their fieldwork. Discuss practicalities.

4:00 pm Reconvene: Presentation of the Field Guide (Omur + Tamara + Pinar)

4:30 End of day program.

April 21, 2018
Saturday Morning (10 AM – 12 PM)

9:30 am Coffee and pastries

10:00 Closing panel. Opens with 5 minute presentations of each field coordinator summarizing Friday afternoon conversations. What is innovative and creative fieldwork? Open panel to follow.

12 pm. End of day program and departures

  • Date(s): Friday, 4/20 10:00 AM to Friday, 4/20 4:30 PM
  • Address: 400 South Peoria Street
  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Website: http://huminst.uic.edu/
  • Phone: 312-996-6354