Women’s Scholarship in Political Ecology

On June 20th, 2018, I was honored to give one of the keynote addresses at the 2018 POLLEN conference in Oslo, Norway. The talk I gave, “Critical Approaches to Dispossession in the Melanesian Pacific: Conservation, Voice, and Collaboration” was a co-authored piece I wrote with my long-time research partner John Aini. In it I drew out three interrelated themes that, if we think about together, we can use to make Political Ecology a stronger, more equitable, and potentially decolonial field. One of those themes had to do with the gendered nature of the genealogies of knowledge we draw on and reproduce in the field. Here is what I said about this in the keynote address:

“I want us to think about the genealogies of knowledge that we produce and replicate in Political Ecology and while I love you all and I love this field, we are a field that valorizes and draws on the scholarship of white male scholars over that of other kinds of scholars and that draws on European philosophical traditions to the exclusion of other philosophical traditions. Additionally, across the field, men are cited as making theoretical contributions and pushing the field forward while women are characterized as producing “case studies” that show the effects that are theorized and analyzed by their male colleagues. These practices make our field less robust than it could and should be.”

“So here is my second conceptual thread – I ask, how do we as a field value and produce knowledge through our reading, citing, AND teaching of some scholars and not others? Who do we give primacy in our construction of the genealogy of the field and why? What are the politics of relegating women’s scholarship to the realm of the case study? Why do, predominantly, white male scholars become the theoretical stars of the field? And what does this foreclose? What kinds of epistemic advances don’t happen because we fail to expand our ideas of whose work matters and what kinds of work count as theory and what kinds don’t?”

During the Q and A period someone asked me to provide a list of women who I read who I think are key to the field of Political Ecology. Here is that list, with some additions by a few of my friends. Please note: I know that this is super North American focused and I know this is a limitation on my scholarly practice, so send me names, I will add them. Lets make a robust list that spans the planet.


Diane Rouchelau: https://bit.ly/2M7fqyS

Molly Doane: https://bit.ly/2MaVn2z

Nicole Peterson: https://bit.ly/2K612qd

Nancy Peluso: https://bit.ly/2M8ZWdH

Bonnie McCay: https://bit.ly/2yrS7xT

Amelia Moore: https://bit.ly/2McEGUG

Kristina Baines: http://kristinabaines.com/

Amanda Stronza: https://bit.ly/2K83jV8

Jessica Cattelino: https://bit.ly/2JS6C3c

Martha Macintyre: https://bit.ly/2K5IAOq

Veronica Davidov: https://bit.ly/2JWXfzt

Jaskiran Dhillon: https://bit.ly/2MJ0fNv

Debarati Sen: https://bit.ly/2M8FbyQ

Hokulani Aikau: https://bit.ly/2MJVTFO

Kim TallBear: http://kimtallbear.com/

Rebecca Witter: https://bit.ly/2M6F5Yz

Bridget Guarasci: https://bit.ly/2ysvBVJ

Becky Zarger: https://bit.ly/2Kb5bwi

Antina von Schnitzler: https://bit.ly/2I92juR

Melissa Johnson: https://bit.ly/2MKVOSd

Laura Mentore: https://bit.ly/2tssC9R

Marama Muru Lanning: https://bit.ly/2MLXg7d

Diane Russell: https://bit.ly/2I9WYDA

Jenny Newell: https://bit.ly/2IaW49M

Emma Kowal:  https://bit.ly/2oTpNy3

Sarah Vaughn: https://bit.ly/2JX04Az

Mona Bahn: https://bit.ly/2McJ6Lg

Noenoe Silva: https://bit.ly/2tl6WMS

Zoe Todd: https://bit.ly/2yumnrM

Nora Haenn: http://norahaenn.org/

Danielle Dinovelli-Lang: https://bit.ly/2yuggDZ

Tess Lea: https://bit.ly/2MHqUKx

Laura Ogden: https://bit.ly/2MNbgx8

Aletta Biersack: https://bit.ly/2lnPnYU

Cindy Isenhour: https://bit.ly/2ts1t6W

Sally Babidge https://social-science.uq.edu.au/profile/624/sally-babidge

Lisa Kelley https://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu/people/lisa-kelley

Kimberly Carlson https://carlson-lab.org/

Suraya Afiff https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Suraya_Afiff

Genese Sodikoff https://ncas.rutgers.edu/about-us/faculty-staff/genese-sodikoff

Juanita Sundberg https://www.geog.ubc.ca/persons/juanita-sundberg/

Sharlene Mollett http://geography.utoronto.ca/profiles/assistant-professor/

Diana Ojeda http://javeriana.academia.edu/DianaOjeda

Jennifer Devine http://www.jenniferdevine.com/

Laurie Medina https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/laurie_adkin/

Liza Grandia https://nas.ucdavis.edu/faculty/liza-grandia

Yuko Suzuki and Carolyn Faria (who’s websites I can’t find right now but I will update soon).

About paigewest

Paige West, the Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, joined the faculty in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology. Dr. West’s general research interest is the relationship between society and the environment. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia, Germany, England, and the United States.
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