About the Workshop

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Engaging the Intersections of Nature-Society Geography


As many have recognized, nature-society geography is a “multistrand configuration” of multiple and varied intellectual histories (Zimmerer 2010, 1085) which has only continued to expand.  How do we have conversations between and across the margins of nature-society geography? What new perspectives have been brought to bear on the subfield?  The 2018 Nature-Society Workshop aims to foster conversation across Northeastern geography departments around these questions and allow us to reflect on the way in we do geographic research, teaching, and service.

We welcome participants from Syracuse, Penn State, Rutgers, Clark, Cornell, West Virginia, and Temple for a workshop concerning current debates within nature-society geography. As with previous meetings, rather than have formal research presentations there will be three interactive discussion panels intended to spur participation from all attendees in an open forum-style on the following themes:

Panel I:  Land & Resource Geographies

Contemporary conflicts over land and resource rights have reignited interest in resource and material geographies. How do we understand the role of land (or what is contained in it) in NS Geography? How do subterranean politics intersect with conflicts above ground?

  • Karl Zimmerer (PSU)
  • Tom Perreault (Syracuse)
  • Jamie Shinn (WVU)
  • Scott Odell (Clark)
  • Kevon Rhiney (Rutgers)

Facilitator: Jenn Baka (PSU)

Panel II: Governing More-than-Human Spaces

Recent interest in intersections with animal and vegetal geographies has prompted new engagements in nature-society geography, particularly with new materialisms, post-human, more-than-human, and in-human perspectives. How do we envision our ethical commitments to non-human companions under these conditions and increasingly uncertain environmental futures?

  • Kevin St. Martin (Rutgers)
  • Ellie Andrews (Cornell)
  • Jonathan Hall (WVU)
  • Sara Cavallo (PSU)

Facilitator: Brian King (PSU)

Panel III: Nature Society Geography in the 21st Century

This panel is designed to reflect on pedagogy and professionalization in Nature-Society geography.  What current debates frame how we teach and do nature-society geography within and outside the academy?

  • Jonah Walters (Rutgers)
  • Bronwen Powell (PSU)
  • Thomas Crowley (Rutgers)
  • Wenjing Jiang (Clark)

Facilitator: Sara Cavallo (PSU)

We are excited to announce our keynote address will be given by Trevor Birkenholtz of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday, Sept. 21, from 4-5PM in 112 Walker Building.

Additionally, the workshop features a Saturday morning field trip through Central Pennsylvania exploring early energy landscapes and food systems.



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