Legal Geographies and Changing Environments 2: Food systems, environmental justice and marginalized communities

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Legal Geography Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Alida Cantor, Kristen Shake
Chairs: Kristen Shake


Recent work in the growing field of law and geography has sought to (re)engage with the myriad of dynamic connections that persist between legal studies and the environments around and within human society. A recurring theme in this research is that while environmental changes are clearly dynamic, “The Law” is often perceived as static, immovable, or binary. However, legal geographers and other scholars that engage with the dynamic field of law recognize that relationships between environment and law are not so straightforward. As recent scholarship shows, legal processes are also dynamic, multifaceted systems that influence-- and are influenced by-- the environments from which they emerge. As (socio)environmental systems change-- and as our understandings of such systems develop-- questions arise around how legal systems and governance adapt (or should adapt). This session fits under a broader umbrella of scholarship seeking to understand societal engagement with and understandings of relationships between environment, nature, and governance practices.

This session includes submissions that engage with law and changing environmental understandings and realities. We will explore how legal systems and assemblages cope with and recognize either updated understandings of the environment, or new environmental realities that they are faced with.

This session is organized around a few main motivating questions:

First, as new or updated understandings (scientific and/or theoretical) of environmental processes develop, how do (or should) legal institutions, structures, processes, and assemblages respond or adapt?
Second, how do (or how should) legal institutions, structures, processes, and assemblages recognize and respond to changing environmental conditions (such as climate change)?
Third, what conceptual or legal/regulatory gaps persist between changing, fluid, materially shifting environments and the rules, regulations or laws that (seem to) govern them?

In this session, we will hear from those who may or may not identify as ‘legal geographers’ per se,.including scholars broadly engaging in questions around law, policy, regulation, processes of “law in action,” and rule systems more generally. We are focused on environmental law, but take a broad interpretation of what this topic includes: the session includes participation from scholars that engage with a variety of natures/environments, including terrestrial, marine, bodily, or beyond. We include diverse theoretical approaches to understanding relationships between environment, science, and law/policy, including (for example) feminist theory, science and technology studies/science and society, decolonial theory, political ecology, critical studies, ocean-space studies and legal geographies.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Annabel Ipsen*, Michigan State University, Redefining legal boundaries in environmental & labor governance: transnational firms and local social movements 20 12:40 PM
Presenter Allyson Myers*, Behavior Frontiers, Nature, Property, and Law: the liminal space of homeless rights in Southern California 20 1:00 PM
Presenter Maria Paula Escobar Tello*, , Of Genes and Regulation: Success and Tribulations in Global Mobilities 20 1:20 PM
Presenter William McKeithen*, University of Washington, Sack Lunches and Black Boxes: Bureaucracy, Scientific Expertise, and Embodied Ecology in a Prison Food System 20 1:40 PM
Discussant Joel Correia University of Arizona Center for Latin American Studies 20 2:00 PM

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