(CFP) Planetary Utopias, Capitalist Dystopias: Justice, Nature & the Liberation of Life (San Francisco, 30-31 May 2019)

San Francisco, May 30-31, June 1, 2019, California Institute of Integral Studies

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Social Change, CIIS

Fifth Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network

The most dystopian story brings out capitalism’s darkest and most oppressive features. And the most utopian stories bring out modernity’s most hopeful and emancipatory features of modernity. Utopias/dystopias are at once predictive retrodictive. These forms of story-telling and world-making are increasingly necessary in the twenty-first century. The unfolding climate crisis signals a tipping point not only for the biosphere, but also for established modes of power, thought, accumulation, and domination. Utopian imaginaries help us identify the intimate connections between power, in/justice, and the web of life in the modern world – and to unfold a politics of liberation that extends to all life. Planetary Utopias, Capitalist Dystopias explores the tension between the historical limits of the possible and the “impossible” projects of planetary justice.

The World-Ecology Research Network is a global community of scholars, artists, and activists. We welcome all forms of emancipatory interpretation, theory, and analysis committed to planetary justice for planetary life. Recognizing that no tradition or discipline holds all the answers, the Network cultivates a diversity of perspectives on humans in the web of life – past, present, and future. For us, the web of life is not a factor or variable, but a fundamental moment of all human activity, from birth to death, from the everyday to the rise and fall of civilizations. Common to these perspectives is a critique of Nature/Society dualism as a cosmology and world-historical practice of domination. A conversation and praxis rather than a perspective, world-ecology welcomes all who embrace the challenging of forging new modes of knowledge in an era of climate crisis.

The World-Ecology Research Network invites proposals on the widest range of topics addressing utopias and dystopias – as well as those related to central themes in the world-ecology conversation. We also welcome proposals for thematic sessions. We are happy to work with artists and activists to develop creative ways to present their work in ways that may differ from conventional academic presentations.

Possible Topics Include:

  • Ecologies of Hope
  • Democratic Modernity and Capitalist Modernity
  • Reparation Ecologies
  • Hydropolitics, Hydro-Crises, & the End of Cheap Water
  • World-Ecology and Social Ecology: Dialogues
  • From the “Urbanization of the Countryside” to Planetary Urbanization
  • Planetary Daydreaming: Utopian Spaces, Dystopian Spaces
  • Women and Work in the Making of Planetary Crisis
  • The New Global Arc of Fire: California to the Arctic
  • Social Reproduction, Unpaid Work
  • Racial Capitalocenes
  • Feminist Utopias
  • State-Making and State-Breaking in the Capitalist World-Ecology
  • Organizing Utopia after the “End of History”
  • Capitalist Dystopias: Ecocides and Genocides in the Necrocene
  • Social Reproduction after the Great Recession: Evictions and the Right to Stay
  • Anthropocene/Capitalocene/Cthulucene
  • Cultural Materialism and the Utopian Imaginary State Socialisms and Productivist Natures
  • Utopias: Social, Ecological, or World-Ecological

Important Dates:

February 20 Abstract Submissions Due

Submission form: https://goo.gl/forms/F8PplUr9KurGVcLD3

March 20 Registration Opens








Over the past two decades, large-scale resource extraction has returned to center stage in the political economy of capitalism – and in the resistance to it. Called “extractivism” by scholars and activists, resource extraction in the 21st century has assumed new prominence in an era of unusually high commodity prices and the widespread questioning of fossil fuel infrastructures. Far from limited to resource and energy question, recent extractivisms have linked up with manifold forms of land grabbing and cash-crop agriculture to create new agrarian questions of survival and justice in an era of runaway climate change. Crucially, many Indigenous Peoples, peasants, workers, and other groups have confronted the extractivist projects. Many of them have not only opposed place-specific projects but questioned the Nature/Society dualisms that have framed and legitimated the racialized, gendered, and colonial domination that has been fundamental to capitalism’s environmental histories. We are witnessing a new wave of challenges to capitalism as an ontological formation – a new ontological politics that confronts capitalism as a world-ecology of power, re/production, and nature.


Extractivisms, Social Movements and Ontological Formations is the fourth annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network. We invite papers on the widest range of topics addressing the new extractivism, its political economy and political ecology, and movements against extractivist projects. We also welcome proposals for thematic sessions. Proposals from artists and activists are encouraged. Papers off-topic but relevant to the world-ecology conversation are also welcome.


Possible topics include:

– Indigenous movements and extractivist projects.

– Social reproduction and extractivism.

– The financialization of commodities

– Land grabbing

– Representations of extractivism, class, and capital

– Extractivism in the Global North

– Environmental histories of resource and energy extraction

– Imperialism and the Search for Cheap Natures

– Labor movements and the labor process in extractive sectors

– The feminist political economy and political ecology of extraction

– Extractivism and climate change.

– Race, racism, and racial formation in extractivist projects and processes.

– Commodity frontiers

– Global extractive industries and their politics




Please use this link found at: http://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/world-ecology-2018 to submit an abstract for an oral presentation, a panel session, a workshop session or a poster presentation.



Important Dates:

October 25, 2017 Call for Papers opens

February 1, 2018 Abstract submission deadline

June 1, 2018 Poster abstract submission deadline

August 15 – 18, 4th Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network, Helsinki, Finland



CFP: Racializing Cheap Nature, Resisting Cheap Nature: Historical Natures and Capital Accumulation


Racializing Cheap Nature, Resisting Cheap Nature: Historical Natures and Capital Accumulation

Paper session CFP for the Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network: ‘Women, Nature, and Colonies’: Power, Reproduction, and Unpaid Work/Energy in the Capitalist World-Ecology.

Link to full conference CFP: https://worldecologynetwork.wordpress.com/world-ecology-2017-binghamton-usa/

21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

This paper session explores how racialization – in its entwined symbolic and material practices – works to re/produce Cheap Natures (Moore 2015). As such, it seeks empirical and conceptual investigations into how racialization, both ideas and practices, are temporally and geographically-bounded forms of historical nature. We are encouraging papers that question how specific forms of racialized natures, both contemporary and historical, are tied to particular cycles of accumulation (Arrighi 1994). What is the relation between racializing cultural practices and racializing technological practices? How is the cheap nature of racialization connected to the cheap nature of gendering? We further welcome papers that emphasize the key role played by the localized knowledge and practices in both enabling and disrupting the cheap nature regimes of capital. In what ways does the cheap nature of colonial-capital accumulation rest upon the appropriation and erasure of the deep place based knowledge and practice of indigenous peoples? How have indigenous peoples, migrant labour, etc, reshaped and/or resisted capital’s racializing society/nature distinction?

Interested participants should send abstracts to Joshua Eichen (eiche069@umn.edu) and

Bikrum Gill (bikrumsinghgill@gmail.com) by March 15, 2017.


Arrighi G (1994) The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times. London; New York: Verso.

Moore, J. W. (2015) Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. New York: Verso Books.


CFP: Problematizing Water, Food & Energy Crises in the Global South

CFP: Problematizing Water, Food and Energy Crises in the Global South: From Anthropocene to Capitalocene (Fachsitzungen Leitthema 5„Natur und Gesellschaft“, LT5-FS15)

Please submit your abstract through the conference website before March 31, 2017 (see below).

Session Conveners: Nadine Reis, University of Bonn; Stefan Ouma, Goethe University Frankfurt

Voices have become louder in recent years advocating the declaration of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. The notion of the Anthropocene reminds us that human impact on earth is now so profound that it has turned into an existential question for humanity itself. At the latest since 2008, we have lived in an era of proclaimed “converging crises”, signalling that humanity has reached a tipping point in its relationship with nature. The water, food and energy crises have been the most apparent of these crises globally, and particularly in the Global South. But is Anthropocene a useful framework for capturing this tipping point of human-nature relationship? Critics argue that the concept is flawed, remaining caught in a deeply entrenched human-nature dualism, and discounting the real source of today’s global crises: capitalism. To capture its epochal imprint, critical scholars have suggested the notion of Capitalocene. Taking the critique a step further, Moore (2015) argues that capitalism, rather than working upon nature, works through nature: it is a way of organizing nature. In his alternative reading of history as humanity-in-nature, capitalist value-relations are always co-produced through relations of exploitation (through wage labour) and appropriation (through unpaid work/energy). His concern is “…not merely to chart the environmental “consequences” of globalisation, but rather to illuminate the ways in which the core processes of globalisation (past and present) are themselves socio-ecological projects” (Moore 2016).

The aim of this panel is to discuss the crises of water, food and energy in the Global South viewed through the dialectic of humanity-in-nature in the age of the Capitalocene. The panel brings together scholars working on the interface of political ecologies of water, food and energy and critical political economy. We invite proposals for papers addressing (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:


–          In which way can our studies of food, water and energy be mobilized to deepen our understanding of the Capitalocene

–          How does a humanity-in-nature/world ecology perspective change our perspective on the materializations of the global water, food and energy crises in the Global South?

–          How does such a humanity-in-nature/world ecology perspective help us to understand the relationship of these natural resources crisis with the crisis of capitalism as a whole?

–          In which way do the materializations of the Capitalocene in the periphery differ from the ones in core regions of the world economy?

–          How does the neoliberal phase of capitalism, particularly financialization, relate to the production of nature and its variegated economization?

Please submit your abstract through the conference website before March 31, 2017.

Conference Website: http://www.dkg2017-tuebingen.de/anmeldung-einreichungen/abstracteinreichung/call-for-papers/

Abstract submission: https://dkg2017vortrag.abstract-management.de/

Contact: abstract@conventus.de


Moore, Jason (2016): The Deathbed of Capitalism. Interview with Ivana Perić. http://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/the-deathbed-of-capitalism. 26.06.2016.

Moore, Jason (2015): Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. Verso: London.

CFP: Resisting & Reproducing Accumulation by Appropriation: The Capitalist State, Capitalist Natures, and the Alternatives


Resisting and Reproducing Accumulation by Appropriation: The Capitalist State, Capitalist Natures, and the Alternatives

Paper session CFP for the Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network: ‘Women, Nature, and Colonies’: Power, Reproduction, and Unpaid Work/Energy in the Capitalist World-Ecology.

Link to full conference CFP: https://worldecologynetwork.wordpress.com/world-ecology-2017-binghamton-usa/

21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

This session is organized around the urgent political need for both new conceptualizations and new empirical analyses of the specific ways that the state continues to appropriate Cheap Natures for capital, and how varied resistance movements to this process are taking shape. By addressing these questions in contemporary and historical perspectives, drawing on expertise from different disciplines (geography, sociology, history and anthropology, among others), we seek to better understand how the state and capitalism produce a historical nature and are produced through their metabolic relation with it, and how alternatives to this process are being formulated. Central to this task is an analysis of the capitalist state, which “appropriates nature for capital directly by force; during conquest, enclosure and the creation of functional property rights; and indirectly by its development of landscape and its infrastructure.” (Parenti, 2014).

This CFP focuses on the politics of accumulation by appropriation (Moore, 2015). This has two principal dimensions: 1) how the state has co-produced regimes of appropriating the unpaid work of human and extra-human natures; and 2) how social movements have resisted appropriations by states and capitals. We seek papers that address the (de)politicisation of property laws, infrastructure, nature, and unpaid labour; the co-production of different natures offered by social movements and political projects as an alternative to capitalism and its limits; and related topics.

Interested participants should send abstracts to Alejandro de Coss (J.De-Coss-Corzo@lse.ac.uk) by 15 February, 2017.


Moore, J. W. (2015). Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. New York: Verso Books.

Parenti, C. (2014). The Environment Making State: Territory, Nature, and Value. Antipode, 829-848.





Paper session CFP for the Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network


 21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

In an era of global ecological destabilization, cities are being framed as the solution to a host of problems engendered by capitalism. Transnational networks such as C40 Cities, multilateral institutions, and major investors suggest that a new age of green city-building and redevelopment can at once dramatically alter energy and emissions trajectories and create defensible spaces to weather a more turbulent world. Expressed variously in cities globally, from eco-city construction to “green” slum removal to climate retrofitting, densification, and resilience initiatives, these imagined solutions propagate a common fallacy: that getting urban form “right” can resolve profound problems of capitalist accumulation (e.g. Hodson and Marvin 2010). These technocratic and entrepreneurial visions are increasingly coming under progressive and radical critique, even as renewed intractability in international climate and environmental negotiations (once again) forces urban action to the fore. However, the problem of capital accumulation in these initiatives has been insufficiently interrogated: the role of extraction, appropriation, and domination in both unevenly enabling these emerging forms of defensive urbanism, and as reproduced in new ways through their realizations.


In this session, we seek to address this lacuna in several ways, alternatively moving beyond and doubling down on green urbanism’s “methodological cityism” (Angelo and Wachsmuth 2015). First, we seek papers that explore alternatives to the bounded urban visions promoted by common urban emissions inventory methods and design proposals, theoretical interventions and counter-mapping strategies such as critical footprinting and global institutional ethnography capable of drawing out cities’ global linkages (e.g., Cohen 2016). We welcome papers that unpack definitional questions emerging around the concept of “urbanization” in contemporary planetary urbanization debates, most particularly as it articulates with and diverges from notions of surplus accumulation, and cities as creatures of surplus produced and appropriated (Brenner and Schmid 2015, Walker 2015, Storper and Scott 2016, Walker 2016). Recent research on climate retrofitting suggests profound divides emerging between cities and sectors that can and cannot afford to go green, and potentially to profit from that greening in new real estate-led accumulation strategies (Knuth 2016, Rydin 2016). This uneven geography of “prime” and “creditworthiness” has been profoundly shaped by histories of financialized surplus extraction and redistribution within, between, and beyond concentrated urban places; only deepened since 2008 by new forms of capital flight to downtown real estate and global resource-bearing land (Knuth 2015, Fernandez et al. 2016). If (some) cities (and some people within them) are buying a degree of safety in the Anthropocene, at what cost to others’?


Second, in prioritizing networked infrastructures and metabolisms, urban political ecology’s approaches to urban climate (re)development have chronically neglected housing, neighborhoods, downtowns, and other constitutive “bounded” spaces (Edwards and Bulkeley 2015, Knuth 2016) – geographies nonetheless of central importance for urban political economists, feminists, and other critical urban scholars and activists globally. We welcome papers that sharpen this lens on accumulation and appropriation in greening cities. Papers might take up critiques of “green” gentrification and/or displacement now arising in a variety of urban contexts (e.g. Checker 2011, Dillon 2014, Ghertner 2015, Anguelovski 2017). Alternatively, they might engage the mainstreaming and transformation of retrofitting/weatherization and other greening work once conceived as “alternative” (Hodson et al. 2016). These efforts often arose in anti-urban renewal organizing, sweat equity, and other unpaid labor sunk into the urban fabric by the urban poor, working class, and community organizations. As new urban programs formalize and financialize these practices, they raise important questions of appropriation and extraction. Nevertheless, Right to the City organizing provides new pathways for working class greening movements to make claims on their labor and urban spaces (Cohen 2015).


Interested participants should send abstracts to Sarah Knuth (sknuth@umich.edu) and Daniel Aldana Cohen (dacoh@sas.upenn.edu) by February 15th.




Angelo, Hilary and David Wachsmuth (2015) “Urbanizing Urban Political Ecology: A Critique of Methodological Cityism,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39.1: 16-27

Anguelovski, Isabelle (2017) “Retracted: Urban Greening as the Ultimate Urban Environmental Justice Tragedy?” Planning Theory 16.1: NP3-NP24

Brenner, Neil and Christian Schmid (2015) “Towards a New Epistemology of the Urban?” City 19.2-3: 151-182

Checker, Melissa (2011) “Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability,” City & Society 23.2: 210-229

Cohen, Daniel Aldana (2015) “The Urban Green Wars,” Jacobin https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/cop-21-naomi-klein-this-changes-everything/

Cohen, Daniel Aldana (2016) “Petro Gotham, People’s Gotham,” in Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Shapiro, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 47–54

Dillon, Lindsey (2014) “Race, Waste, and Space: Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental Justice at the Hunters Point Shipyard,” Antipode 46.5: 1205-1221

Edwards, Gareth AS, and Harriet Bulkeley (2015) “Urban Political Ecologies of Housing and Climate Change: The ‘Coolest Block’ Contest in Philadelphia,” Urban Studies

Fernandez, Rodrigo, Annelore Hofman, and Manuel B. Aalbers (2016) “London and New York as a Safe Deposit Box for the Transnational Wealth Elite,” Environment & Planning A 48.12: 2443–2461

Ghertner, D. Asher (2015) Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi, New York: Oxford University Press

Hodson, Mike, Elisa Burrai, and Catherine Barlow (2016) “Remaking the Material Fabric of the City: ‘Alternative’ Low Carbon Spaces of Transformation or Continuity?” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 18: 128-146

Hodson, Mike, and Simon Marvin (2010) “Urbanism in the Anthropocene: Ecological Urbanism or Premium Ecological Enclaves?” City 14.3: 298-313

Knuth, Sarah (2015) “Global Finance and the Land Grab: Mapping 21st Century Strategies,” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 36.2: 163-178

Knuth, Sarah (2016) “Seeing Green in San Francisco: City as Resource Frontier,” Antipode 48.3: 626–644

Rydin, Yvonne (2016) “Sustainability and the Financialisation of Commercial Property: Making Prime and Non-Prime Markets,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34.4: 745–762

Storper, Michael, and Allen J. Scott (2016) “Current Debates in Urban Theory: A Critical Assessment,” Urban Studies 53.6: 1114–1136

Walker, Richard (2015) “Building a Better Theory of the Urban: A Response to ‘Towards a New Epistemology of the Urban?'” City 19.2-3: 183-191

Walker, Richard (2016) “Why Cities? A Response” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40.1:164-180


Jason W. Moore at Ohio State University, 19 January, 2017

Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Work, Energy, and the Value of Nature: From Planetary Conquest to Epochal Crisis in the Capitalist World-Ecology
Thursday, January 19, 2017, 12:00PM – 1:30PM
The Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Avenue, Room 120
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Register here for this event

Jason Moore

Jason W. Moore
Associate Professor of Sociology
Binghampton University

Jason W. Moore is associate professor of sociology at Binghamton University, and coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network. He writes frequently on the history of capitalism in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, from the long 16th century to the neoliberal era.

His research has been recognized with the Braverman Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (1999), Bernstein and Byres Prize in Agrarian Studies (2011), Distinguished Scholarship Award for the American Sociological Association’s Political Economy of the World-System Section (2002, and 2011 honorable mention), and Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2004).

His Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital will be published with Verso in July, 2015. He is presently completing Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism, an environmental history of the rise of capitalism, for the University of California Press.


Where and when do we find the origins of today’s planetary crisis? In this lecture, the Moore argues that rise of capitalism in the centuries after 1450 marked an environment-making revolution greater than any since the dawn of agriculture. Arguing that capitalism develops not only through economic process but by cultural and territorial conquests, Moore shows how the modern world was forged in a peculiar – and destructive – relation of work and energy. In this account, the work of human and extra-human natures is foregrounded, implicating the creation of “Nature” and “Humanity” – including the powerfully racialized and gendered expulsions of humans from “Humanity.” At its core, capitalism works through a strategy of Cheap Nature: one premised on the de-valuation of ‘women, nature, and colonies.’ The limits of this strategy are increasingly revealed in the ongoing exhaustion – and growing opposition to – of Cheap Nature in the early 21st century.

CFP: Planetary Urbanization and the War Against the Peasantry


 For the conference:

‘Women, Nature, & Colonies’: Power, Reproduction, and Unpaid Work/Energy in the Capitalist World-Ecology

Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network

21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

This session explores the relations between two of the twenty-first century’s most relevant transformations: planetary urbanization and the systematic dissolution of world peasantries. Conceptualized as a dialectic of implosion/explosion whereby demographic agglomeration in cities (implosion) evolves in tandem with the aggressive projection of infrastructures and built environments across the non-urban realm (explosion), the notion of planetary urbanization has been gaining increasing attention in the field of urban studies (see Brenner 2014). The full significance of this phenomenon, however, cannot be fully grasped without understanding an even larger world-historical transformation: the systematic assault on agrarian modes of existence that accelerated sharply after 1945, and again since the 1970s, reaching its pinnacle in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. This process, aptly termed “global depeasantization” by Farshad Araghi (1995, 2009), has been traversed by variegated forms of violence and brutal dispossession. Bulldozers that raze whole villages to the ground in geographies of resource extraction; death squads that exterminate peasant communities in order to make way for speculative investment; predatory forms of lending that trigger suicide epidemics among indebted farmers; and state crackdowns delivered in the form of rampant militarization, are but a few of the ways in which ‘the explosion of the urban’ extends the discipline of capital across the countryside.

Sprawling growth of slums in the outskirts of cities, a swelling world proletariat, and a deeply racialized surplus population whose size and geographical breadth are unprecedented in human history, are the most genuine products begotten by this unrelenting ‘explosion of spaces’. Far from pertaining to the study of ‘the city’ or ‘the country’, the dissolution of world peasantries demands a collaborative effort that is able to harness the strengths –and transcend the weaknesses- of urban and agrarian studies. This panel session invites papers that spark such a dialogue, and that consider global depeasantization and planetary urbanization as two moments in the same dialectic of sociospatial change. Approaches that explore either theoretical, methodological, empirical, or aesthetic dimensions of this conversation are welcome. Because the violent erasure of rural ways of living has been bypassed by the city-centric gaze of the media and of a considerable part of scholarly debate, an important objective of this panel will be to render visible the worlds of human anguish and social despair that underpin the urbanization of the countryside under twenty-first century capitalism.


Themes for papers might include, but are not limited to:


  • Financialization of everyday life, indebtedness, and the violence of money;
  • Militarization, policing, criminalization of protest, and other forms of state repression;
  • Land-grabs and evictions resulting from the financialization of land and/or speculative investment;
  • Technological change, mechanization of agriculture/mining, and the real subsumption of labor to capital;
  • Race, gender, and the commodification of labor-power;
  • Surplus populations, forced displacement, and slum urbanization;
  • Depopulation of the countryside;
  • Public health problems resulting from air, water and noise pollution in spaces of resource extraction;
  • Shifting lifestyles and commodification of social reproduction in the rapidly urbanizing countryside;
  • (Re)peasantization, agroecology, new forms of agrarian citizenship and social resistance;
  • Migration, floating populations, and seasonal work;
  • Cartographic visualizations, photography, as well as other visual and aesthetic representations of depeasantization.

Submit expressions of interest or paper abstracts by 15 February, 2017, to:

Martín Arboleda, marboleda@gsd.harvard.edu, and to Michael Lukas, mlukas@uchilefau.cl.


Araghi, Farshad. 1995. Global Depeasantization, 1945-1990. The Sociological Quarterly 36.2, 337-368.

Araghi, Farshad. 2009. The Invisible Hand and the Visible Foot: Peasants, Dispossession and Globalization. In Kay, Cristóbal; Akram-Lodhi; A. Haroon (eds). Peasants and Globalization: Political Economy, Rural Transformation and the Agrarian Question. Routledge, New York.

Brenner, Neil (ed). 2014. Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization. Jovis, Berlin.

CFP: Commodity Frontiers in Historical Capitalism

CALL FOR PAPERS: Commodity Frontiers in Historical Capitalism

For the conference:
‘Women, Nature, & Colonies’: Power, Reproduction, and Unpaid Work/Energy in the Capitalist World-Ecology
Third annual conference of the World-Ecology Research Network
21-22 July 2017, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Commodity frontiers have been central to acquiring the Four Cheaps – food, labor power, energy and raw materials – on which every great wave of capital accumulation rode (Moore 2015, 53-4). In Moore’s (2011, 2010a, 2010b) terms, commodity frontiers are specific places of expanded commodity production, backed by territorial power. And commodity frontiers move successively, from one place to the next, marked by booms and busts due to the ecological contradictions of expanded commodity production. Commodity frontiers provide a lens on places in world-ecology: on how capital accumulates in nature and how nature works through processes of capital accumulation.

In this CFP we are looking for papers that address commodity frontiers broadly-defined. Papers may address place making for expanded commodity production, including the enclosures of the commons and the exhaustion of nature, land and labor, or technologies/policies/etc. that enable frontier making, or a related subject.

We need more empirical knowledge about the conditions under which commodity frontiers shift and the dynamics of frontier-making processes across time and space. This panel will bring together expertise from different disciplines (geographers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists …) on recent and historical frontier-making processes in specific periods in the rise of global capitalism and across different parts of the world. In this panel we hope to connect these place-based material transformations to world-ecological moments and shifts. In doing so, this panel seeks to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the concept of commodity frontiers.

** Submit inquiries and/or paper titles and abstracts (of approx. 200 words) by January 29, 2017, to:

Marion Dixon, mdixon@american.edu, or Hanne Cottyn, Hanne.Cottyn@ugent.be.



  • Moore, J.W. 2010a. ‘’Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648’. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(1): 33-68.
  • __________2010b. ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Long Seventeenth Century’. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2): 188-227.
  • __________2011. ‘Transcending the metabolic rift: a theory of crises in the capitalist world-ecology’.Journal of Peasant Studies 38(1): 1-46.
  • __________2015. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London and New York: Verso.


presented by T.J. Demos, A. Laurie Palmer, and the Center for Creative Ecology

Republished from http://arts.ucsc.edu/news_events/extraction-decolonial-visual-cultures-age-capitalocene

Monday, January 16, 2017 to Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) 108
Presented by:
Digital Arts and New Media
Institute of the Arts and Sciences

In this series of interrelated events, extraction designates capitalism’s fundamental logic of withdrawal—of value, nutrients, energy, labor, time—from people, lands, culture, life-forms, the elements, without corresponding deposit (except as externalities of non-value in the form of pollution, waste, climate change, illness, and death). Extraction signals processes as diverse as the industrial operations around fossil-fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) and rare earth minerals, biogenetic patenting, data mining, cognitive capitalism, and prison-industrial and unpaid domestic labor. It also points to the hierarchies of power around divisions that are racially, ethnically, sexually, and ecologically inscribed, as highlighted in Indigenous struggles for sovereign land rights and climate justice activism.


How can we understand the diverse cultures of extraction in relation to histories of colonialism, green capitalism, the Anthropocene and Capitalocene—beginning with our region, California, but also extending outward to such comparative geographies as North Dakota, Alberta, and Chicago—and how are these cultures being visualized?

How is extraction, constituting a fundamental logic of living and dying in the era of fossil fuel capitalism and catastrophic climate change, being contested at the individual and collective levels, including by cultural producers (socially engaged artists, anti-colonial activists, Indigenous water protectors, media theorists, writers, architects, and designers, etc.)?

Can we distinguish between “predatory,” “sensible,” and “indispensable” extractivism, where the latter may even define an anti-imperial movement toward greater sovereignty by countries in the global South?

Faced with multiple tipping points moving us implacably toward a catastrophic environmentally altered future—and now with a US president hostile to climate science and industrial regulations—how might we create possibilities for living non-extractively in ways singular and plural today?

All events are FREE and open to the Public.


Artists’ Lecture and Film Screening Series

*All lectures and screenings are on Tuesday evenings, 5-7 pm, in DARC 108 at UC Santa Cruz unless otherwise noted.

1/17 Presentation by Matthew Coolidge of the Center for Land Use Interpretation

1/24 Presentation by Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler of The Canary Project

1/31 Screening of Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s Goodbye Gauley Mountain, 2013, with Artists’ Presentation

2/14 Screening of The Otolith Group’s The Radiant, 2012

2/21 Presentation by Subhankar Banerjee

2/28 Screening of the following shorts videos:
-David Kelly / Patty Chang, Spiritual Myopia, 2015
-Harun Farocki, Silver and the Cross, 2010
-Sammy Baloji, Mémoire, 2007

3/7 Screening of Elizabeth Knafo’s Rare Earth, 2014 and Presentation by the artist

3/14 Screening of Sanjay Rawal’s Food Chains, 2014, with Presentation by Ann López (Center for Farmworker Families)

Field Trips

Saturday, March 11

Visit the Harrisons’ Future Garden (with Newton Harrison), and to the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program research garden (with Rick Flores and members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band), Arboretum, UC Santa Cruz

Sunday, May 7

Farmworker Reality Tour in Watsonville with Ann López of the Center for Farmworker Families


May 12-13 (Friday at the Multi-Purpose Room at College Nine and Ten; Saturday at the Nonviolent Resource Center)

Confirmed speakers include: Jason Moore, Brian Holmes and Claire Pentecost, Anne Quirynen, Caleb Ben, representative from NoDAPL, Angela Anderson and Angela Melitopoulos

Image credit: Center for Land Use Interpretation, Still from Landscan: Houston Petrochemical Corridor, 2008.