Environmental Justice, Politics and Humanities (JPH)

Cluster leader: Alan Watt

Faculty associated with the cluster: Guntra AistaraAlexios AntypasMichael LaBelleTamara Steger

JPH is a platform for critical inquiry and deliberative analysis that addresses environmental challenges through collaborative research, politically engaged approaches, and commitment to fostering a world that is socially just and sustainable. We take a critical and complex stand on the conceptualizations of nature and culture, and how they structure social wellbeing, scientific inquiry, and environmental problem-solving, particularly in light of diverse environmental values and ethics, power dynamics, and conceptions of environmental justice. Toward these ends, we engage a diversity of research methods across socio-ecological and political scales ranging from participatory action research and ethnographic field work to textual and content analyses that respect and reflect different ways of knowing. Thematic foci include environmental and social justice issues surrounding extractive industries; the political ecology of food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture; and environmental philosophy. (It also covers: Environmental sociology and anthropology; political ecology of farmer seed systems, agro-biodiversity, and alternative agricultural paradigms; resource conflicts; global environmental movements)

Associated working groups: 

Ongoing projects:

Research highlights:  

  1. Aistara, G.A., 2018. Organic Sovereignties: Struggles over Farming in an Age of Free Trade. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 
  2. Aistara, G.A., 2014. Actually existing tomatoes: politics of memory, variety, and empire in Latvian struggles over seeds. Focaal, 2014(69): 12-27. 
  3. Steger, T. 2019. Inequalities in Inability to Keep the Home Adequately Warm. WHO Environmental Health Inequalities in Europe. Second Assessment Report. 
  4. Steger, T., R. Filcak, & K. Harper. 2018. Environmental Justice in Central and Eastern Europe: Mobilization, Stagnation, and Detraction. In Holifield, R., Chakraborty, J., Walker, G (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice. London: Routledge. 
  5. Steger, T. and M. Milicevic. 2014. One Global Movement, Many Local Voices: Discourse(s) of the Global Anti-Fracking Movement. In Liam Leonard, Sya Buryn Kedzior (ed.) Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements (Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Volume 15) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, p. 1 - 35.  
  6. Watt, A.  Forthcoming. Nietzsche, Rancière, and the disputation of politics. In Nietzsche and the politics of difference, ed. Woodward, A. and Rehberg, A. Berlin: de Gruyter.