International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School


Photograph by Nancy Peluso

Guest Instructor:

Professor Nancy Lee Peluso Nancy Lee Peluso
Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
University of California, Berkeley


Professor Libby Lunstrum
Graduate Program in Geography
York University

Professor Peter Vandergeest
Graduate Program in Geography
York University

Nancy Lee Peluso is a longtime contributor to political ecology, the critical approach to the study of socio-ecological transformations and their politics across scales. Her work, often in collaboration with scholars such as Peter Vandergeest, Michael Watts, Jesse Ribot, and Christian Lund, has influenced studies of the relationships between violence and environmental change, including how violence shapes resource access and agrarian change, how nature conservation legitimizes violent dispossessions, and how violence is integral to the constitution of political forests.  She is currently the Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy and Professor of Society & Environment at the University of California, Berkeley.

Course Duration:

June 12 – 23, 2017




1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Course Code:

ENVS 6275 /GEOG 5395 /POLS 6282

Application deadline:

April 3rd, 2017

Instructor's Background

Nancy Lee Peluso

Course Description

Visible or invisible, historical or contemporary, spectacular or slow, violence underlies many natures and socio-environmental relations, even those constructed as idyllic.  Agrarian, environmental, labor, and resource violence have been at the heart of political ecology’s concerns since the early days of the field’s emergence. This short course works to take this often implicit theme of violence and bring it to the surface while maintaining an understanding of its forms, relationships with other processes, and contexts.  Readings and discussions will cover the ways in which political ecology has attended to violence, gaps in these approaches, and how we might collectively begin to address these gaps to move in new directions. We will additionally examine the methodological and ethical challenges of conducting fieldwork on violence and of writing about violence in general and political ecological violence more specifically.

Possible Topics Include

1.    Violence & scarcity: political ecology vs. neo-Malthusian approaches
2.    Violence as slow, structural, spectacular
3.    Political ecologies of war & resources
4.    What difference does the resource make?
5.    Fieldwork & ethics on violence, in violent contexts
6.    Labor & resources: violent linkages from colonial to post-colonial politics
7.    Territories, land, & violence
8.    Sovereignty & governance
9.    Militarizations of conservation; securitizations of nature
10.    The biopolitics of humans, nonhumans, & their encounters: making live, letting die
11.    Violent movements: labor, inclusion, resistance

A course outline will be available in early May. Please check back then.

Registration Information

Registration in the course is by application only.  To apply, applicants should provide a short paragraph that describes your interest in the class and relevant experience and/or social science coursework already completed.

Graduate students in Geography, Political Science, and Environmental Studies at York University should submit applications to their respective graduate program offices. (Application Form)

Graduate students in other universities in Ontario may apply to take the course through OVGS.

For students who are studying at a university outside Ontario, you are required to apply to the York Graduate Admissions Office as Visiting Students. (Don't be intimidated - it is not a difficult process.) Please contact Yvonne Yim <>, graduate program assistant in Geography for the details.

For applicants not seeking academic credit, the Summer School fee is CDN $600.   Please complete and return the registration form to the office of graduate program in Geography at York University, N431 Ross, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Ontario, Canada.  (Registration Form)

If you have any questions, please contact  Peter Vandergeest, IPEE Summer School Director at or Yvonne Yim, graduate program assistant in Geography at <>.

Course Sponsored by the Graduate Program in Geography, the Graduate Program in Political Science, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and York Centre for Asian Research.