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Durham University

Centre for Culture and Ecology

Centre for Culture and Ecology

What We Do

The Centre for Culture and Ecology consists of a group of scholars and researchers who work on environmental issues from a range of different disciplines. We are particularly interested in thinking ecology as constitutively implicated in struggles around class, gender, race and sexuality. The Centre hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the newly launched series on “Capitalism, Nature and Climate Change.” The Centre aims to foster and stimulate debate between scholars, activists and the general public around pressing current ecological issues.

Talk Series: Capitalism, Nature and Climate Change

Thanks to the efforts of activists across the globe, the Climate Crisis is now at the forefront of public debate. What this series aims to address is the centrality of understanding capitalism to tackling the climate crisis. This series takes as its starting point the idea that the climate crisis must be understood as a crisis of capitalism. The talks address this issue from a variety of different perspectives. The series is open to the public.

For info, email

CCE Reading Group:

This is a student-led group aimed to discuss, on a monthly basis, canonical and contemporary work in the field of Environmental Humanities. It welcomes researchers interested in environmental issues from a range of perspectives. Readings are selected by means of open consultation, according to the participants' interests and in light of presentations and talks hosted by the Centre. It is led by Claudia Dellacasa, Marco Pavanini, and Rasmus Sandnes-Haukedahl.

Further Information

Forthcoming Events

Geo-power: what new Earth?

10th January 2020, 10:30 to 17:00, Collier Room, St Hild & St Bede College

Hosted jointly by the Centre for Culture and Ecology and the Department of Geography


Andrew Baldwin (Durham)

Matilda Fitzmaurice (Durham)

Workshop Abstract: This workshop seeks to extend ongoing interdisciplinary discussions across the humanities and interpretive social sciences concerning the transactions of power and the geos. Amid the undoing of the Earth, whether through climate change, intensifying extraction and exploitation, or capitalist political economy more generally, the geos has become revitalised as a source for political, social, and cultural theory making in times of crisis. According to this ‘grounded’ mode of theory making, we stand to gain a unique perspective on what it means to inhabit Earth today by thinking through and with the geos. To paraphrase Thoreau, we might say that in geos lies the articulation of the world. But if the geos is never innocent, never politically inert, what emerges from these conversation is a sense in which the geos is both the recipient and origin of power. Elizabeth Povinelli’s concept of geontopower is one such attempt to make sense of power and geos. Not only does her concept of geontopower draw attention to a unique form of power that operates through the distinction life (bios) and non-life (geos), so it allows for enduring geosocial formations, not least petromasculinity, settler colonialism, empire, patriarchy, and whiteness to be retheorised through life/non-life. But even as Povinelli’s renderings of power and the geos allow us to grasp something of how Earth itself is settled, Elizabeth Grosz’ proximate notion of geopower designates something different, and so it should. For at the (lithospheric?) core of geos, for Grosz, we find the animating force of difference. Geopower can certainly be conceptualised as a form of power in which the Earth—geos—is subjected to the logic of capital accumulation. But for Grosz, geos is neither surface nor material, but the very thing that precedes them both. It designates potential, the undoing of the Earth, biopossibility, and excess. Geopower is difference. Like Foucault’s power, Grosz’ geopower is expansive and productive. This workshop, thus, offers an opportunity to speculate on a series of questions and tensions arising through attempts such these to make theory from the geos. How might the relation between geos and power be meaningfully rendered? Is the geos itself an artefact of power? Is there life or difference in the lithosphere, in the Earth? How might reading the geos and power together help us reconceptualise the political? Or even better, how might listening to and theorising with the geos allow us to navigate life on the knife-edge of our current conjuncture? These are just some of the questions we hope to address in this speculative engagement with geo-power.

Confirmed Speakers:

Professor Federico Luisetti (St Gallen) (keynote)

Professor Kathryn Yusoff (Queen Mary)

Dr Anupama Ranawana (Oxford Brookes)

Professor Nigel Clarke (Lancaster)

Dr Rory Rowan (Queen Mary)

Dr Giovanni Bettini (Lancaster)

Dr Jessi Lehman (Durham)

Dr Elizabeth Johnson (Durham)

The workshop venue has availability for 40 participants. If you are interested in registering for this event, please do so via the online Registration Portal here.

This event is kindly supported by IAS.

Download this event in iCalendar format

Research Projects

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