Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene Symposium

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Monday, April 24, 2017 to Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene Symposium 

24-25 April 2017, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

Proposal deadline: November 1, 2016

Environmental justice is a central component of sustainability politics during the Anthropocene – the current geological age when human activity is the dominant influence on climate and environment. Every aspect of sustainability politics requires a close analysis of its equity implications, and environmental justice provides us with the tools to explore the ways in which we define and investigate the Anthropocene and its multifaceted impacts. From its origins as a US movement against environmental racism and other inequities in the early 1980s the scope of environmental justice, as a field of research and as a movement, has broadened enormously as shown in the Environmental Justice Atlas and evidenced by many other initiatives around the world. Global EJ activism and research, in fact, is moving beyond demanding equity in the distribution of environmental harms and benefits to a call for the structural transformation of the economy and our relationship with nature as a means to address social, political, economic and environmental crises.

Environmental Justice CSU, the organizer of this symposium, is a global challenges research team sponsored by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Like its sponsor, EJ CSU is multidisciplinary and multiscalar and committed to rigorous research and public engagement. This symposium aims to bring together academics, independent researchers, community and movement activists, and regulatory and policy practitioners from across disciplines, research areas, perspectives, and different countries. Our overarching goal is to build on several decades of EJ research and practice to address the seemingly intractable environmental and ecological problems of this unfolding era. How can we explore EJ amongst humans and between nature and humans, within and across generations, in an age when humans dominate the landscape? How can we better understand collective human dominance without obscuring continuing power differentials and inequities within and between human societies? What institutional and governance innovations can we adopt to address existing challenges and to promote just transitions and futures?

Themes include:

1. MULTI-DISCIPLINARY FACETS OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: In recent years, EJ research has enriched the study of an array of environmental issues. Increasingly, scholars and practitioners of EJ are at the forefront of recognizing that individual environmental issues are inexorably linked. What do we know about EJ with respect to particular environmental issues? In what ways can EJ help us understand dynamics and relations across issue areas and disciplines? How can we infuse transdisciplinary methods more fully into the EJ research agenda? As a citizen science, how can EJ integrate collaborative methods that recognize the role of social movements as creators of knowledge and engage in methodologies that entail a more symmetrical approach to research?

2. JUST TRANSITIONS: Environmental justice research has also found its way into the study of green transitions and their impact on work and workplaces and across value chains and production networks. Do the challenges of the Anthropocene justify any green initiative, at the expense of workers and communities, or do the challenges of the era require more just and democratic governance? How should unions, communities and those most vulnerable respond in the absence of a policy of just transition? How can we ensure that the workplaces and the communities engendered by green transitions are both green and just? How and at what scale should we confront this challenge? In what ways can insights from related investigations, such as those of rights, democracy and governance enrich our understanding of just transitions?

3. JUST FUTURES: Environmental justice can also inform how production and consumption can be reorganized to address the challenges of the Anthropocene in a socio-ecologically just manner. The transformative vision of EJ can be productively informed by indigenous cosmovisions and decolonial scholarship, as well as heterodox approaches such as ecological economics. Is growth an inexorable necessity for achieving social and environmental justice or should we engage more deeply alternative visions of political economy, political ecology and governance? How can we better communicate about just futures with students and practitioners with diverse backgrounds and priorities? What are some of the visions, policy proposals and transformative remedies emerging from those struggling for EJ that can help reshape the political-economic structure behind injustices?

Submission Process and Logistics:

We are inviting proposals for papers and sessions (self- organized panels or roundtables) that explore these and other aspects of EJ from academics, independent researchers, community and movement activists, and regulatory and policy practitioners. We welcome proposals that highlight the joint environmental and social justice implications for the most vulnerable communities as well as non-human species and ecosystems. The symposium will be a two-day event during which a limited number of presenters will be able to interact and engage in meaningful dialogue amongst themselves and with a diverse and informed audience. It will be held 24-25 April 2017, at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA (further venue and organizational details will follow). The symposium does not require a registration fee. We envision that papers will lead to special issues of journals and edited volumes.

  • To submit a paper proposal, send a 300-word abstract, a short biographical note, and full contact information.
  • To submit a session (panel/roundtable) proposal please provide a 300-word session abstract as well as abstracts from and information about each presenter. Panels are expected to include 3-4 presenters and roundtables 4-5 presenters.
  • Deadline for both is November 1st, 2016.
  • For further information and to submit a proposal please send a message to EnvironmentalJusticeCSU@gmail.com.

Deadlines:

  • Proposal Submission November 1, 2016
  • Confirmation of Acceptance November 18, 2016
  • Attendance Confirmation December 16, 2016
  • Paper Submission April 3, 2017
  • Symposium April 24-25, 2017