Information détaillée concernant le cours


Political Ecology and Tropical Forests: classical and emerging approaches


14-16 mai 2018

Lang EN Workshop language is English
Responsable de l'activité

Christian Kull


Christian Kull, Université de Lausanne

Flore Lafaye de Micheaux, Doctorante, Université de Lausanne


Prof. Benjamin Neimark

Prof. Christian Kull

Dr. Muriel Côte




Political ecology is an approach to studying diverse issues at the intersection of society and environment. It differs from 'a-political' ecologies in paying particular attention to not just material processes, but also social relations, power dynamics, and discursive framings, often with an associated normative stance emphasising social justice and environmental sustainability. Political ecology champions place-based, empirical fieldwork as well as the historical and multi-scale context. It is animated by robust theoretical discussions drawing on, for instance, Marxist political economy, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, feminism, actor-network theory, and diverse natural sciences.


This three day interactive seminar seeks to build on the knowledge of both participants and facilitators to identify the value of this approach, to survey recent developments, and to apply the approach to a concrete case in order to contribute to its evolution. On day one we will review the central tenets of political ecology, and map out key ideas and their genealogies. On day two we focus on recent, path-breaking literature in the field. On day three we apply our ideas to a concrete case study. The format of the seminar mixes lectures and seminar discussions with numerous participatory activities.


The 2018 edition of this block course will focus in particular on the political ecology of tropical forests. From its beginnings, political ecology has focused on tropical forests as centres of ecological and social contestations and transformations, including the pioneering work of M. Schmink or S. Hecht in the Amazon and N. Peluso in Indonesia. Tropical forests continue to be epicentres of concern, with new types of transnationally-driven and locally-rooted dynamics of exploitation, plantation, invasion, and conservation.


In this course, we will:

  • Highlight the features of classical approaches of Political Ecology related to exploitation, plantation, invasion and conservation of tropical forests;
  • Discuss emerging approaches of Political ecology in the field, their strengths and their gaps;
  • Engage in the question of how to address forest issues today with Political Ecology perspectives and tools.





To register, please send an email to before March 31, 2018 and answer the following questions:

1. Do you address environmental issues in your thesis? If yes, why/how.

2. Do you address forest issues in your thesis? If yes, why/how.

3. Are you familiar with Political Ecology discipline? If yes, what, in your opinion, are the most inspiring books/texts in this field? Why?

4. What do you want to learn in this course?

5. Do you wish to present your research or to propose a specific topic to be discussed in small groups (within "Off program")? Please make suggestions here.


Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD), University of Lausanne, Geopolis building



Délai d'inscription 31.03.2018
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