(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.

We are excited to announce that Kim Stanley Robinson will be one of our invited plenary speakers, along with Jason W. Moore. Please follow our blog to be the first to get updates.

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




SF Organizing Committee: 
Andrej Grubacic
Chantal Yazbek
Michelle Glowa

WERN Conference Organizing Committee: 

Diana C. Gildea
Jason W. Moore

Upcoming conferences: 

2019 San Francisco, USA
2020 Europe
2021 USA
2022 Jakarta, Indonesia
World Ecology Research Network

Routledge Publication — Just Out!: The Financialization of Agri-Food Systems

Image result for financialization of agri-food systems

Financialization is the increased influence of financial actors and logics on social and economic life, and is one of the key drivers transforming food systems and rural economies around the world. The premise of this book is that the actions of financial actors, and their financial logics, are transforming agri-food systems in profound ways. It is shown that although financialization is a powerful dynamic, some recent developments suggest that the rollout of financialization is contradictory and uneven in different spaces and markets. The book examines cases in which state regulation or re-regulation and social movement resistance are setting roadblocks or speed bumps in the path of financialization, resulting in a ‘cooling off’ of investment, as well as the other side of the argument where there is evidence of a ‘heating up’. The authors address not only the limits to financialization, but also the mechanisms through which financial entities are able to penetrate and re-shape agri-food industries.

This book provides both a comparative analysis of financialization blending, and empirical findings with conceptual insights. It explores the connection between financialization, food systems, and rural transformation by critically examining: the concept of financialization and how food and farming are being financialized; the impacts of financialization in the food industry; and financialization in farming and forestry – along with the impacts this has on rural people and communities. This is a timely book, bringing together concrete case studies, from around the globe, to reveal the operations and impacts of finance capital in the ‘space’ of agri-food.

New Issue (Winter 2018) Journal of World Systems Research

Announcing New Issue of Journal of World-Systems Research

The Journal of World-Systems Research is available free online at jwsr.pitt.edu It is the official journal of the American Sociological Association’s section on Political Economy of the World-System and one of the most established scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access journals.

 Journal of World-Systems Research

Volume 24 Number 1

Winter 2018


Table of Contents

Editors’ Introduction

Peter Wilkin “The Rise of ‘Illiberal’ Democracy: The ‘Orbánization’ of Hungarian Political Culture

Dennis Davis, Raphael Kaplinsky, Mike Morris “Rents, Power and Governance in Global Value Chains

Timothy M. Gill, “From Promoting Political Polyarchy to Defeating Participatory Democracy: U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Far Left in Latin America

Beth Williford “Buen Vivir as Policy: Challenging Neoliberalism or Consolidating State Power in Ecuador

Diego Hurtado and Pablo Souza, “Geoeconomic Uses of Global Warming: The “Green” Technological Revolution and the Role of the Semi-Periphery

Ion Matei Costinescu “Interwar Romania and the Greening of the Iron Cage: The Biopolitics of Dimitrie Gusti, Virgil Madgearu, Mihail Manoilescu, and Ştefan Zeletin


*NEW* Section on World-Historical Information

Conference Report—”Creating Historical Knowledge Socially: New Approaches, Opportunities, and Epistemological Implications of Undertaking Research with Citizen ScholarsPatrick Manning

Dataset Review—Seshat: Global History Databank, Ahmet Izmirlioglu

Dataset Review—Zooniverse, the online repository for Citizen Science, Patrick Manning

Book Review Symposium: Cities in the World-System

Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China by Robert Gottlieb and Simon Ng, reviewed by Peter Taylor

From World City to the World in One City: Liverpool through Malay Lives by Tim Bunnell, reviewed by Paul Jones

The City: London and the Global Power of Finance by Tony Norfield, reviewed by Manuel Aalbers

Building the Urban Environment: Visions of the Organic City in the United States, Europe, and Latin America by Harold L. Platt, reviewed by Ernesto Lopez

Global Urban Justice : the Rise of Human Rights Cities edited by Barbara Oomen, Martha F. Davis, and Michele Grigolo, reviewed by Tom Reifer

Planetary Gentrification by Loretta Lees, Hyun Bang Shin, Ernesto López-Morales, reviewed by Christof Parnreiter

Cool Cities: Urban Sovereignty and the Fix for Global Warming by Benjamin Barber, reviewed by Daniel Cohen

World City Network: A Global Analysis, 2nd edition by Peter Taylor and Ben Derudder, reviewed by Michael Timberlake

Cities of the Global South Reader edited by Faranak Miraftab and Neema Kudva, reviewed by Liza Weinstein

Global Cities, Local Streets: Everyday Diversity from New York to Shanghai by Sharon Zukin, Philip Kasinitz, Xiangming Chen, reviewed by  Non Arkaraprasertkul

Book Reviews

India, Modernity and the Great Divergence: Mysore and Gujarat (17th to 19th C.), by Kaveh Yazdani, reviewed by Kristin Plys

When Good Jobs Go Bad: Globalization, De-unionization, and Declining Job Quality in the North American Auto Industry, by Jeffrey Rotshetin, reviewed by Ian Robinson

The Global Political Economy of Raúl Prebisch by Matias Margulis, reviewed by Sabine Dreher

Les mondes de l’océan Indien, by Philippe Beaujard, reviewed by Gene Anderson

CFP: Extractivisms, Social Movements & Ontological Formations (Helsinki, August 2018)


Extractivisms, Social Movements and Ontological Formations
AUGUST 15 -18, 2018

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


New Issue of Journal of World Systems Research (Free access — online)

Journal of World-Systems Research
Volume 23 Number 2
Summer/Fall 2017

Table of Contents
Special Issue: Ecologically Unequal Exchange
Guest editors: R. Scott Frey, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms

Paul K. Gellert, R. Scott Frey, and Harry F. Dahms “Introduction to Special Issue: Ecologically Unequal Exchange in Comparative Perspective”
Mark Noble, “Chocolate and the Consumption of Forests: A Cross-National Examination of Ecologically Unequal Exchange in Cocoa Exports”
Kent Henderson and Kristen Shorette, “Environmentalism in the Periphery: Institutional Embeddedness and Deforestation among Fifteen Palm Oil Producers, 1990-2012”
John Hamilton Bradford and Alexander M. Stoner, “The Treadmill of Destruction in Comparative Perspective:  A Panel Study of Military Spending and Carbon Emissions, 1960-2014”
Kelly Austin, “Brewing Unequal Exchanges in Coffee: A Qualitative Investigation into the Consequences of the Java Trade in Rural Uganda”
Raja Harish Swamy, “Humanitarianism and the Problem of Inequality in the Aftermath of a Disaster”
David Ciplet and J. Timmons Roberts “Splintering South: Ecologically Unequal Exchange Theory in a Fragmented Global Climate”

Dialogue: Race in the Capitalist World-System
Wilma A. Dunaway and Donald A. Clelland | Moving toward Theory for the 21st Century: The Centrality of Nonwestern Semiperipheries to World Ethnic/Racial Inequality. Commentators: Manuela Boatcă , Jamil Khader, Ana Garcia Saggioro, Howard Winant

Hanne Dominique G. J. Cottyn | A World-Systems Frontier Perspective to Land: Unravelling the Uneven Trajectory of Land Rights Standardization
Ryan P. Thombs | The Paradoxical Relationship between Renewable Energy and Economic Growth: A Cross-National Panel Study, 1990-2011


Editors: Jeffrey Kentor and Andrew Jorgenson Contributors: Jennifer Bair, Albert Bergesen, Christopher Chase-Dunn, Peter Grimes, Ho-Fung Hung, Andrew Jorgenson, Jeffrey Kentor, John Meyer, Valentine Moghadam, Michael Timberlake, Jonathan Turner, Marion Werner


The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology by Aldon D. Morris, reviewed by Michael Schwartz
How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism by Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu, reviewed by Sung Hee Ru
Expose, Oppose, Propose: Alternative Policy Groups and the Struggle for Global Justice by William Carroll, reviewed by Marisa von Bülow
Global Production Networks: Theorizing economic development in an interconnected world by Neil M. Coe and Henry Wai-chung Yeung, reviewed by Marion Werner
Poor states, Power and the Politics of IMF Reform: Drivers of Change in the Post-Washington Consensus by Mark Hibben reviewed by Mulatu Amare Desta.

Greening the desert: a solution to food security in a warming planet?

In a warming, water-scarce planet, we are hearing again that the future lies in “greening the desert.” In the face of growing fears of ecological limits to production under the specter of overpopulation, climate change, and peak oil — strands of the alternative food movement along with policy makers and industry players are promoting agri-technologies and on-farm practices that make it possible to turn semi-arid and arid areas into new centres of food production.

Paradoxically, these greening the desert narratives come at a time of growing public attention to the water crises that have been intensifying in arid and semi-arid regions from industrial agriculture production.

My latest article, published in a special issue on the politics of food (Duke University Press), addresses this paradox by examining the role of greening the desert in the spread and development of industrial agriculture (and horticulture, in particular) in new Southern regions since the 1970s.

I use a case study of agroexport farms in Egypt, based on field research, that raises fundamental questions about the promise of the next technical fix to secure food futures in a new climate regime.

New Issue of Journal of World-Systems Research (open access, online)

Announcing New Issue of Journal of World-Systems Research

We are happy to announce the publication of the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of the Journal of World-Systems Research (jwsr.pitt.edu).

As we watch unfolding news about the policies of the Trump administration and its supporters, it is helpful to situate these events in the larger framework that world-systems analysis provides. Contributions in this issue contribute to new understandings of these challenges and of possible responses that can advance a more humane and sustainable world-system.

Articles by Karatasli and Kumral and by Luo examine China’s role in contesting the dominant global order. Sprague shows how the transnational capitalist class has operated to exert its influence over states and workers in the global cruise ship industry. Burroway and Ewing offer rigorous critiques of dominant narratives in public health and the environment, respectively, offering insights into how to advance modes of thinking that better account for human well-being and ecosystem preservation. Finally, Ziltener, Künzler, and Walter present a new dataset that allows researchers to take into account the enduring structural impacts of colonialism.

Our book review section features a special symposium on McCallum’s Global Unions, Local Power: The New Spirit of Transnational Labor Organizing.

The Journal of World-Systems Research is available free online at jwsr.pitt.edu It is the official journal of the American Sociological Association’s section on Political Economy of the World-System and one of the most established scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access journals. Please help us spread the word about the issue and forward the details below to friends and colleagues. You can also find JWSR and PEWS on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/groups/PEWSJWSR).

 Journal of World-Systems Research

Volume 23 Number 1

Winter/Spring 2017

 Table of Contents

Sahan Savas Karatasli and Sefika Kumral | Territorial Contradictions of the Rise of China: Geopolitics, Nationalism and Hegemony in Comparative-Historical Perspective

Zhifan Luo | Intrastate Dynamics in the Context of Hegemonic Decline: A Case Study of China’s Arms Transfer Regime

Jeb Sprague | The Caribbean Cruise Ship Industry and the Emergence of a Transnational Capitalist Class

Rebekah Burroway | Political Economy, Capability Development, and Fundamental Cause: Integrating Perspectives on Child Health in Developing Countries

Jeffrey A Ewing | Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature


Patrick Ziltener, Daniel Künzler, and André Walter | Measuring The Impacts Of Colonialism:  A New Data Set For The Countries Of Africa And Asia


Symposium: Global Unions, Local Power: The New Spirit of Transnational Labor Organizing by Jamie McCallum (2013, Cornell University Press).

Contributions from Stephanie Luce, Jamie McCallum, Fabiola Mieres, Joel Stillerman, and Sarah Swider