Political Ecologies next meeting: November 16, 3-5 pm on Latour’s Politics of Nature

Dear Colleagues,

I was thrilled with the engaging and enthusiastic debate we had on Arturo Escobar‘s Territories of Difference (October 19, 2015). I was particularly happy to see that everyone found it provocative and Escobar’s text has given us an opportunity to unpack a number of core issues in our political ecology agenda this year. A second fabulous event happened this week and that was Heather Sullivan‘s talk on the “Temporalities of the Anthropocene” and her excellent work on Goethe, “dark pastoralism,” ecocriticsm and the post-human. Many from our group attended this excellent lecture and the discussion afterwards. I am particularly impressed by her concept of “dark pastoralism” and would like to continue thinking about it. Here is some more of her amazing work, which I will add to our bibliography.

At the end of the Escobar meeting, we agreed to read the first two chapters from Bruno Latour’s Politics of Nature, and I attach them here. Those of you who are willing to venture into the other chapters are of course always welcome. I am attaching here a pdf for: “Introduction: What is to be Done with Political Ecology?” and also Chapter 1:”Why Political Ecology Has to let Go of Nature?”.


Towards the end of our discussion on Territories of Difference, Ralph Citron has perceptively pointed out that one of the issues we are debating here is the question of the possibility of radical otherness and radically different ontologies, and whether this is a romantic-utopic ideal or whether it is a light of hope for the ecological troubles of the late capitalist dystopia. Likewise, in page 6 of Escobar’s Territories of Difference, he asks “are there novel approaches in social theory that provide better accounts in this regard, perhaps because they are based not only on more inclusive epistemologies but on more diverse ontologies?” and asks whether we should face a radical reorientation of theory. Perhaps we could read Latour in light of this question, and also in the light of David Wise‘s really thoughtful comments on the Nature chapter of Escobar.

Our meeting will take place on November 16, 2015 from 3-5 pm, same place, i.e. Institute for the Humanities.


  • Date(s): Monday, 11/16 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Campus Address: Lower Level of Stevenson Hall
  • Address: 701 South Morgan, Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: huminst@uic.edu
  • Website: http://huminst.uic.edu/
  • Phone: (312) 996-6352