Bodies, environments, subjectivities: new directions in health-environment geographies III

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group, Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Grand Couteau, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Organizers: Carly Nichols, Nari Senanayake
Chairs: Nari Senanayake


In the last 15 years, geographers have bridged interests in bodies, health/disease, and environments to form a broad, loosely defined, body of scholarship on health-environment interactions. This literature extends work by nature/society geographers on the sociality of nature, and conceptualizes (un)healthy bodies as ‘environments’ or ‘socio-biological’ phenomenon that warrant greater attention and interest from the sub-discipline. Thus feminist insights that a critical scale of analysis is the messy, material body and its own set of situated knowledges has come to be a defining feature of this work (Parr 2002; Hayes-Conroy 2015; Jackson and Neely 2016). Consequently, scholars have endeavored to open up the “black box” of the body (Guthman 2012) and situate health outcomes as important (yet often overlooked) nature-society issues (Mansfield 2008). These theoretical interventions find expression in studies of childbirth (Mansfield 2008), food/nutrition (in)security (Carney 2014; Hayes-Conroy 2015) obesity/metabolic syndrome (Guthman 2011), human-microbial relations (Hinchcliffe et al. 2016), and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS (Neely 2015; King 2017), among others. Together, this research positions environmental, health, and bodily ‘states’ as dynamic entities that are iteratively constituted by everything from political economies to discourses, to lively, material and affective happenings.

Clearly this work has been defined by theoretical and methodological pluralism and in this session, we invite a diverse set of papers that advance health-environment studies by drawing on innovative methods, theoretical frameworks, and/or underexplored themes/empirics. We encourage pieces that either use established approaches in new ways or develop new approaches by marshalling insights from cognate fields such as STS, medical anthropology, histories of science/medicine, and feminist science studies. We call on contributors to think about how engagements with literatures outside of geography might extend the way we understand interactions between health and the environment, with implications for key geographic concepts such as scale, bodies, nature, power, and knowledge. In this session, we also push contributors to explore the points of encounter and contradiction between different approaches such as production of health/disease, social constitutions of nature/biology, affect/NRT, and relational ontologies/socionatural bodies. More importantly, we hope to stimulate a discussion of how methodological and theoretical pluralism in health-environment studies might be more effectively deployed to create socially and environmentally just geographies.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Pamela Moss University of Victoria 16
Panelist Paul Jackson University of Delaware 16
Panelist Becky Mansfield The Ohio State University 16
Panelist Dirk Kinsey Temple University 16
Panelist Brian King Pennsylvania State University 16
Panelist Julie Guthman Univ of California Santa Cruz 16

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