Environmentalism from Below: Appraising the Efficacy of Small-Scale and Subaltern Environmentalist Organizations
August 7-9, 2014, University of Alberta
Conveners: Jonathan Clapperton (University of Alberta) and Liza Piper (University of Alberta)
Sponsors: The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, University of Alberta, and Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE)
How, and to what extent, have non-elite, small-scale and subaltern environmental organizations, clubs and associations contributed to the environmental movement? While social and subaltern theory – the study of society from “below” – has permeated most disciplinary genres in the social sciences and humanities, it has only scratched the surface of our understanding of the modern (post-1950s) environmental movement. Twenty scholars from North America and Europe will be converging on Edmonton to take part in the “Environmentalism from Below” workshop to illuminate this under-studied aspect of the environmental movement. Workshop participants will be delivering papers that are arranged around three key themes: resource development, parks and protected areas, and environmental justice. Following the workshop, its participants will be invited to publish their revised articles in an edited book to be published by Athabasca University Press, as well as contribute to a special edition of Perspectives, on online journal series managed by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.
While the workshop itself is a closed event, there is a keynote address that is open to all on August 8. Emery Hartley, a campaigner for the Friends of Clayoquot Sound, will give a talk entitled, “Place Based Environmentalism in a Globalized Society: The Friends of Clayoquot Sound into the Twenty-First Century.” Environmental organizations founded in the 1970s and early 1980s are experiencing a turning point in their history. Their founders and veteran leadership are making way for a new, generation of environmental activists. In turn, these new leaders have had, and continue, to reimagine ways in which to achieve their objectives and remain relevant to society. Hartley will reflect on the obstacles which local and small-scale environmentalist organizations face by drawing specifically on the history and current directions of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound.
Funding for the workshop has been provided by a SSHRC Connection Grant, a University of Alberta Killam Connection Grant, the Rachel Carson Center (which is also serving as a co-covener), NiCHE, the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts, as well as the Departments of History & Classics and Sociology.
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