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Studying Transit: Experimental Research and Just Transitions

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Organizers: Gabriel Schwartzman, Dylan Harris
Chairs: Dylan Harris


The question of how to study transitions in geography has resulted in rich and interconnected scholarship about energy geographies, extractive landscapes, racial capitalisms, and the changing climate to name a few topics. From scholarship on the potentialities in the indeterminate future geographies of a low-carbon economy (Bridge et al, 2013); the turn to study art and experimentation in political ecologies of socioecolgocial transformation (Hawkins et al 2015; Braun, 2015); the prospects and promises of design for a ‘Just Transition’ (White, 2019); racialized failures of ‘transitions’ in practice (Curley 2018); to Indigenous critique of the novelty of the Anthropocene (Whyte, 2018); conversations have centered around how to think about futures and futurity in the midsts of transitions (Rickards et al, 2014; Braun, 2015; Wynter and McKittrick, 2015; Knappe, 2019).

In light of an emerging Green New Deal in the U.S., and of the prospects of a ‘Just Transition’ more broadly (Indigenous Environmental Network 2018), this panel brings together scholars interested in what it means to study transit (Byrd, 2011). More specifically, we are interested in discussing the methodological, analytical, and empirical challenges that come along with studying an issue that is currently happening or has not yet happened. We are also interested in a broad discussion of what exactly needs to transition, regarding everything from energy systems to food systems, and what are our roles as researchers in identifying and helping facilitate these needs. Finally, and importantly, we are interested in discussing the conceptualizations of justice that underpin a ‘Just Transition'. For this panel, we aim to have a wide-ranging conversation about these ideas, drawing from a variety of perspectives across a diversity of sites to begin thinking through what it means to study transit.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Gabriel Schwartzman University of Minnesota 5
Panelist David Ciplet 10
Panelist Andrew Curley University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 10
Panelist Xi Wang University of Colorado, Boulder 10
Panelist Bradley Wilson West Virginia University 10
Panelist Damian White RISD 10
Discussant Dylan Harris Clark University 10

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