The Political Ecology Workshop (PEW) is an explicitly interdisciplinary space for scholars at all career stages with interests in political ecology and related critical approaches to the study of environment-society interactions. PEW will provide an opportunity for fun, intellectually generous, and supportive cross-fertilization. Organized around the central framing of political ecology, PEW will bring together a range of divisions across campus, including (but very much not limited to) Anthropology, History, Environment and Sustainability, Political Science, Sociology, and all Area Studies departments and programs. We aim to build a collaborative, multidisciplinary community through shared investment in critical questions about how environments and societies are co-produced and the ways in which power and inequality impact the dynamics and understandings of this co-production.

This workshop will directly support graduate student development, including for earlier-stage students seeking interdisciplinary conversations as they develop environment-society research projects and later-stage students now realizing they would like to incorporate a political ecology approach into their research and writing. In addition to an emphasis on dedicated time for graduate students to receive feedback on their work, PEW will also expand mentorship opportunities between faculty and students. This workshop will offer a unique space on campus for students to access a range of critical environmental studies perspectives they might not have encountered through coursework or departmental activities, and to grow from the feedback and insight of faculty and peers who share this commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and professional development.

We will meet roughly every other week and dedicate most of our time together workshopping “works-in-progress” (to be circulated at least three days in advance). Materials can include seminar papers, dissertation chapters, publication drafts, grant proposals, prospectuses, conference presentations, and book manuscript materials, among others. Throughout the year, we will also develop a collaborative political ecology syllabus. This will offer a structured and generative way for PEW participants to share and synthesize different disciplinary perspectives and grow as interdisciplinary scholars. We will dedicate certain meetings, or portions of meetings, to exploring a concept/theme and collectively brainstorming readings and approaches, which we will arrange into a syllabus at the end of the year. Moreover, we are strongly committed to the cultivation of this space as an intellectual and social community—and so will incorporate various opportunities for fellowship (e.g., post-workshop happy hours, potluck dinners, backyard cookouts, other group outings) into our planning, as well. Through these activities, we intend to build a multidisciplinary, intergenerational group of scholars who are invested in sharing and learning from different disciplinary theories and methods, and who are committed to helping each other succeed.