CfP AAG 2023: “Queer/trans ecologies: methodological considerations for critical geographical research”

Image: detail from cover of Underflows/CWH

CfP: Panel Session, AAG 2023, Denver
Convenors: Sage Brice (Durham University), Cleo Wölfle Hazard (University of Washington), Austin Read (Bristol University)

Deadline for EOIs 25 October 2022

Title: “Queer/trans ecologies: methodological considerations for critical geographical research” Keywords: Politics of Nature, Queer theory, Trans studies, Post-humanism

We welcome expressions of interest for a panel on Queer/Trans Ecologies at the AAG 2023 in Denver.

“Trans-corporeality refers to the idea that our bodies are porous and perennially intermeshed with the nonhuman, meaning that we are never ‘separate’ from the environment in which we live and are always more-than-human”

(Parker, 2020)

This panel will examine geographical applications and implications of new critical and methodological approaches emerging under the broad umbrella of queer/trans ecologies.

Queer ecology has been described as “a loose, interdisciplinary constellation of practices that aim, in different ways, to disrupt prevailing heterosexist discursive and institutional articulations of sexuality and nature, and also to reimagine evolutionary processes, ecological interactions, and environmental politics in light of queer theory” (Sandilands, 2016).

In recent years, queer and trans scholarship has not confined itself to LGBT+ subjects and communities as a ‘proper object’ of study (Beauchamp, 2019), but seeks instead to think critically about what queer and trans sensibilities and perspectives – along with a study of the social mechanisms that regulate and produce sex, gender, and sexuality – can teach us about broader societal questions regarding the nature of subjectivity and subject-formation. Queer/Trans ecologies are thus not limited to the study of queer and/or trans bodies in green spaces (e.g. Gandy 2012; Ensor 2017), but constitute a broader call to examine the construction of certain bodies, orientations, and identities as ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’, and the construction of ‘nature’ along the lines of normative hetero-reproductive logics and values (Byrd, 2020). Increasingly, too, critical biological and environmental scientists are engaging with queer approaches to address questions of cross-boundary and other-than-human kinship and interdependence and to disrupt settler-colonial practices in environmental governance by centering values of justice, sovereignty, and dynamism (Liboiron 2021, Hazard 2022). Importantly, this impetus emerges out of a desire to build relationships across movements for social and ecological justice, including indigenous, racialised, disabled, and abolitionist ecologies (Heynen, 2018; Clare, 2017). Queer/trans ecologies are therefore focused on grounded considerations of method, fieldwork, and empirics.

In their dissolution of taxonomic and normative boundaries, queer/trans ecologies provoke us to think the social as operating and moving through and across seemingly bounded bodies, identities, and categories. Recognising this permeability of individual lives requires what Braidotti (2019) has called an “enlarged, distributed, and transversal concept of what a subject is and of how it deploys its relational capacities.” This panel will bring together scholars working in a queer/trans ecological mode in a facilitated conversation, with an aim to compiling a themed special issue to assist in developing and refining just such a transversal geographical sensibility.

To be considered for this panel please send a short statement of interest (250 words) outlining relevant research projects and areas of interest. Expressions of interest are also invited from those who wish to contribute in a facilitative role, for example as introducer or discussant. These and any questions should be directed to by 25 October 2022.

Topics and themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Queer and trans ecologies as method in sciences, social science and humanities
  • On-the-ground engagements with land/Land and species
  • Abolition ecologies
  • Black, Indigenous and PoC perspectives on gender and nature/culture
  • Posthumanist theories of subjectivity and subject-formation
  • Queer/trans ecological temporalities and landscape as archive
  • Trans-gressions, trans-formations and trans-corporealities
  • Critical ontologies and epistemologies of ‘nature’
  • Queer/trans interventions in Western environmental and life sciences
  • Kinship, reciprocity, consent, and collective action
  • More-than-human intimacies
  • Normativity in ecological politics
  • Queer / trans strategies for imagining and cultivating freedom in the face of climate and environmental crises

Works cited:

Beauchamp, T. (2019) Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices, Durham NC, Duke University Press Books. Braidotti, R. (2019) Posthuman Knowledge, Medford, MA, Polity Press.

Byrd, J. (2020) “What’s Normative Got to Do with It?Toward Indigenous Queer Relationality.” Social Text 38, no. 4 (145): 105–23.

Clare, E. (2017) Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure, Durham, Duke University Press Books.

Ensor, S. (2017) “Queer Fallout: Samuel R. Delany and the Ecology of Cruising.” Environmental Humanities 9(1): 149–66.

Gandy, Matthew. “Queer Ecology: Nature, Sexuality, and Heterotopic Alliances.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30, no. 4 (2012): 727–47.

Hazard, C. W. (2022) Underflows: Queer Trans Ecologies and River Justice, Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Heynen, N. (2018) ‘Toward an Abolition Ecology’, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, no. 1, pp. 240–247.

Liboiron, M. (2021) Pollution is Colonialism, Durham and London, Duke University Press.

Parker, E. (2020) ‘The bog is in me’, in Vakoch, D. A. (ed), Transecology: Transgender Perspectives on Environment and Nature, Routledge, pp. 17–30.

Sandilands, C. (2016) ‘Queer Ecology’, in Adamson, J., Gleason, W. A., and Pellow, D. N. (eds), Keywords for Environmental Studies, New York University Press, pp. 169–71.

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