Climate Justice: Pasts/Presents/Futures - a panel co-hosted by Mason's Center for Humanities Research and Institute for a Sustainable Earth

co-sponsored by Mason's School of Integrative Studies and Cultural Studies Program

Friday, April 1, 2022 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM EDT

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Join us in person in Merten Hall, Room 1204 (4441 George Mason Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030) OR online via Zoom (link will be emailed out upon registration).

Panel Description:

Climate change brings incredible uncertainty and demands bold action. As the social and ecological consequences of our changing climate accelerate, our sense of time, change, and causality itself can be upended. For some, there is a growing sense that the present is more constrained by the past than in any other era. For others, the future is more unknown than ever (for better or worse). Meanwhile, debates continue on campuses, in legislative halls, and in the streets about the role of capitalism and colonialism in a “just transition” to a sustainable future. In this panel discussion, scholars will reflect on the ways that the climate crisis relates to shifting notions of time, change, and causality. What conflicts emerge from these shifts? What kinds of collective projects respond to them? How are the humanities central to all of this, and to climate justice?

Panelists will draw on their recent and forthcoming books to explore the temporalities of climate (in)justice, in which they theorize reparations as a project of worldmaking in a time of climate crisis; the way that environmental populism challenges the climate movement’s history of elitism while reproducing hierarchies of race, class, and nation; and how decolonial approaches to collaborative climate adaptation can overcome the friction between unequal parties to enable “adaptation otherwise.” Together, they will explore how history shapes what can be done in the present to bring about more just climate futures.


Levi Van Sant (Assistant Professor, School of Integrative Studies, Mason) is a geographer whose work focuses on environmental (in)justice, particularly issues surrounding food, agriculture, and land use. His research in the coastal US South analyzes the ways that the racial and class dynamics of the plantation past are reproduced in the present, and argues that any meaningful abolition of this legacy will require fundamentally reshaping property relations.


mediumOlúfẹmi O. Táíwò is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He completed his PhD in Philosophy at University of California, Los Angeles and BAs in Philosophy and Political Science at Indiana University. Dr. Táíwò's first book, Reconsidering Reparations, argues that reparations should be viewed as a worldmaking project, and as such requires climate justice. It was published in January 2022 by Oxford University Press. His second book, Elite Capture is scheduled for release from Haymarket Books in May 2022.






mediumJamie Haverkamp is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at James Madison University. She completed her PhD in Anthropology and Environmental Policy at University of Maine, MS in Geography at University of Tennessee, and BA in Visual Journalism at Brooks Institute of Photography. Dr. Haverkamp’s research takes a political ecology, political ontology and postcolonial approach to understanding climate change and adaptation politics, the social construction of vulnerability and inequality, and ethics in collaborative environmental governance in human and more-than-human worlds. Her doctoral work (in process towards a book), focuses on collaborative adaptation struggles in the Peruvian Andes among highland campesinos, NGOs and state actors and advances a decolonial proposal for doing adaptation otherwise. She has also conducted research on the politics of techno-scientific and expert-driven adaptation decision making in Hampton Roads, Virginia.


mediumKai Bosworth is assistant professor of international studies in the School of World Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a B.A. in environmental studies from Macalester College, and M.A. and Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota. Kai is the author of Pipeline Populism: Grassroots Environmentalism in the 21st Century, forthcoming in spring 2022, which examines the possibilities and limitations of pipeline opposition movements in the central United States in grounding the popular politics of climate justice. His ongoing research examines the implications of the underground – mines, caves, aquifers, burial sites, and infrastructure systems - for how we think corporeal feminisms and environmental justice politics. Kai’s peer reviewed articles have appeared in Antipode, cultural geographies, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and Political Geography.

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