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Solidarity in Climate/Immigrant Justice Direct Action: Lessons from movements in the U.S. South

March 7, 2016 Comments off

Happy to have published this paper in IJURR with two wicked smart folks.  Given we all continue to do work within these communities hoping for more work like this down the road.

Black, S., R. Milligan and N. Heynen (2016) “Solidarity in Climate/Immigrant Justice Direct Action: Lessons from movements in the U.S. South”. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 40(2), 284-298.

Abstract

In October of 2012, youth organizers from the immigrant justice and climate change resistance movements in the southeastern US metropolitan region of Atlanta, Georgia, coordinated a direct action tactic framed by a unified narrative justifying collaboration between immigrant and climate justice activists on equal terms. In a continuing collaborative relationship, these organizers embraced mutually strategic narratives rooted in local civil rights history, but rejected common ‘global climate justice’ narratives used to frame social and environmental collaborative organizing. We examine the departure from ‘global climate justice’ narratives, which was exemplified by coalition building in Georgia, to argue that scholarship articulating ‘global climate justice’ as a new context for integrating social and environmental movements must anticipate barriers to these solidarities, especially historical, regional and racialized dynamics of power among organizations engaged in these developing alliances. Based on an investigation of strategic alliances between anti-racist, immigrant justice organizers and climate change activists in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, we argue that climate justice narratives in both activism and scholarship would benefit from more attention to the particular political and cultural geographies in which diverse forms of climate justice organizing can take hold.

If I am Troy Davis, I Failed Troy Davis: Abolishing the Death Penalty through an Antiracist People’s Geography

December 14, 2015 Comments off

My Troy Davis paper was officially published in ACME:

Heynen, N. (2015) “If I am Troy Davis, I Failed Troy Davis: Abolishing the Death Penalty through an Antiracist People’s Geography.” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies. 14(4): 1066-1082.

Abstract In the wake of Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis, the importance of antiracist geographic thought has become ever more pertinent for clarifying how democratic politics and a people’s geography can help to bring about the abolition of the death penalty in the U.S. This paper seeks to engage the painful historicalgeographical legacies of white supremacism and the ways it has enabled capital punishment with an eye to moving toward a less violent and less dehumanizing state. More specifically, I imagine my historical-geographical engagement to provide a foundation from which to discuss putting into motion more deliberately what W.E.B. DuBois referred to as “Abolition Democracy”. In realizing the potential of DuBois’ notion of abolition democracy though, I will suggest more geographical attention to the ways racialized geographies have not been as explicitly connected to the notion of a people’s geography. 

Categories: Publications

Urban political ecology II: The abolitionist century in Progress in Human Geography

November 26, 2015 Comments off

My second UPE review titled “Urban political ecology II: The abolitionist century” in now on Progress in Human Geography’s on-line first page.

Heynen, N. (2016) “Urban Political Ecology II: The Abolitionist Century” Progress Report for Progress in Human Geography. 40(6): 839-845.

Abstract
Attention to the urban and metropolitan growth of nature can no longer be denied. Nor can the intense scrutiny of racialized, postcolonial and indigenous perspectives on the press and pulse of uneven development
across the planet’s urban political ecology be deferred any longer. There is sufficient research ranging across antiracist and postcolonial perspectives to constitute a need to discuss what is referred to here as ‘abolition ecology’. Abolition ecology represents an approach to studying urban natures more informed by antiracist, postcolonial and indigenous theory. The goal of abolition ecology is to elucidate and extrapolate the interconnected white supremacist and racialized processes that lead to uneven develop within urban environments.

Keywords: abolition ecology, antiracism, cities, environmental justice, political ecology, postcolonial, urban geography, urban political ecology (UPE)

We’ve been studied to death, we ain’t gotten anything”: (Re)claiming knowledge production through writing collectives

November 20, 2015 Comments off

Knowing Climate Change, Embodying Climate Praxis: Experiential Knowledge in Southern Appalachia

March 4, 2015 Comments off

253-262We’re all excited that several years of fieldwork through the Coweeta Listening Project (CLP) is starting to yield some publications.  Here is another new paper that is coming out in a special issue of the Annals of the Association of the American Geographers on Imagining Socio-Ecological Transformation.

Rice, J.L., B.J. Burke, N. Heynen (2015) “Knowing Climate Change, Embodying Climate Praxis: Experiential Knowledge in Southern Appalachia.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 105(2): 253-262.

Abstract: Whether used to support or impede action, scientific knowledge is now, more than ever, the primary framework for political discourse on climate change. As a consequence, science has become a hegemonic way of knowing climate change by mainstream climate politics, which not only limits the actors and actions deemed legitimate in climate politics but also silences vulnerable communities and reinforces historical patterns of cultural and political marginalization. To combat this “post-political” condition, we seek to democratize climate knowledge and imagine the possibilities of climate praxis through an engagement with Gramscian political ecology and feminist science studies. This framework emphasizes how antihierarchical and experiential forms of knowledge can work to destabilize technocratic modes of governing. We illustrate the potential of our approach through ethnographic research with people in southern Appalachia whose knowledge of climate change is based in the perceptible effects of weather, landscape change due to exurbanization, and the potential impacts of new migrants they call “climate refugees.” Valuing this knowledge builds more diverse communities of action, resists the extraction of climate change from its complex society–nature entanglements, and reveals the intimate connections between climate justice and distinct cultural lifeways. We argue that only by opening up these new forms of climate praxis, which allow people to take action using the knowledge they already have, can more just socioecological transformations be brought into being.

KeyWords: climate governance, democratization, politics of knowledge, praxis.

 

Can Science Writing Collectives Overcome Barriers to More Democratic Communication and Collaboration? Lessons from Environmental Communication Praxis in Southern Appalachia

February 23, 2015 Comments off

As some of my other posts show, I have been interested in how writing collectives can operate and say different things than single or multi-authored writing projects.  This new paper reflects of efforts out of the Coweeta Listening Project’s (CLP) experience having written many newspaper essays under the moniker of “Science, Public Policy, Community”, but under the shared authorship of the Coweeta Listening Project Writing Collective.

Burke, B. J., M. Welch-Devine, S. Gustafson, N. Heynen, J. L. Rice, T.L. Gragson, S.Evans, D. R. Nelson. (2016) “Can science writing collectives overcome barriers to more democratic communication and collaboration? Lessons from environmental communication praxis in southern Appalachia.” Environmental Communication. 10(2): 169-186.

Abstract: Despite compelling reasons to involve nonscientists in the production of ecological
knowledge, cultural and institutional factors often dis-incentivize engagement between
scientists and nonscientists. This paper details our efforts to develop a biweekly
newspaper column to increase communication between ecological scientists, social
scientists, and the communities within which they work. Addressing community generated
topics and written by a collective of social and natural scientists, the column
is meant to foster public dialog about socio-environmental issues and to lay the
groundwork for the coproduction of environmental knowledge. Our collective approach
to writing addresses some major barriers to public engagement by scientists, but the
need to insert ourselves as intermediaries limits these gains. Overall, our efforts at
environmental communication praxis have not generated significant public debate, but
they have supported future coproduction by making scientists a more visible presence
in the community and providing easy pathways for them to begin engaging the public.
Finally, this research highlights an underappreciated barrier to public engagement:
scientists are not merely disconnected from the public, but also connected in ways that
may be functional for their research. Many field scientists, for example, seek out neutral
and narrowly defined connections that permit research access but are largely
incompatible with efforts to address controversial issues of environmental governance.

Keywords: science writing; democratization; public engagement; journalism;
coproduction

 

Transforming Participatory Science into Socioecological Praxis: Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Over the last several years I’ve worked with the Coweeta Listening Project (CLP) which is an ethnographically oriented action-research collective trying to better integrate social science within the Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project.  Especially important has been work inspired through conversations with my colleague Brian Burke who initially came in as a postdoc to the CLP and through his efforts allowed us to drastically expand the project.  This week a paper Brian and I wrote for a special issue of Environment and Society titled “Transforming Participatory Science into Socioecological Praxis Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science” has been published.

Burke, B.J. and N. Heynen (2014) “Transforming Participatory Science into Socio-Ecological Praxis: Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science.’ Environment and Society. 5: 7–27

ABSTRACT: Citizen science and sustainability science promise the more just and democratic
production of environmental knowledge and politics. In this review, we evaluate
these participatory traditions within the context of (a) our theorization of how the
valuation and devaluation of nature, knowledge, and people help to produce socioecological
hierarchies, the uneven distribution of harms and benefi ts, and inequitable
engagement within environmental politics, and (b) our analysis of how neoliberalism is
reworking science and environmental governance. We fi nd that citizen and sustainability
science oft en fall short of their transformative potential because they do not directly
confront the production of environmental injustice and political exclusion, including
the knowledge hierarchies that shape how the environment is understood and acted
upon, by whom, and for what ends. To deepen participatory practice, we propose a
heterodox ethicopolitical praxis based in Gramscian, feminist, and postcolonial theory
and describe how we have pursued transformative praxis in southern Appalachia
through the Coweeta Listening Project.
KEYWORDS: citizen science, democratization, Gramsci, participation, science studies,
sustainability science