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Home Forums & Groups & Platforms The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE)

The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE)

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"To promote scholarly activities on the cultural, demographic, economic, and political dimensions of resource use and ecological change, focusing on these issues and their linkages at and across multiple spatial and temporal scales."

 Association of American Geographers (AAG)

The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE) is a sub-group of scholars within the Association of American Geographers (AAG). CAPE was originally organized as the Cultural Ecology Specialty Group (CESG) in 1980 with the aim "To promote and conduct scholarly activities on cultural ecological topics ranging from pre-history to third world development, and from environmental to economic problems." The tradition of cultural ecology as scholarship is characterized by efforts to integrate the theories and methodologies of biologists, anthropologists, and geographers through the practical study of peoples in place.

In 2002 members voted to include the term "Political" in the specialty group title to reflect the growing intersection of research interests among those working in cultural ecology and the burgeoning field of political ecology. Political ecological scholarship seeks to explicitly integrate and contrast the theories and methodologies of economics, cultural studies, and political science into the traditional modes of thought comprised by cultural ecology. The change of title explicitly acknowledges the growing importance of new methodologies and paradigms in human environment research as characterized by the CAPE mission statement.


Topics of special interest to members of CAPE include but are not limited to:

- Agriculture and Agricultural Development

- Capitalization of Life and Nature

- Ecosystem Change

- Ecosystem Services

- Ecoterrorism

- Ecotourism

- Environmental Activism

- Environmental Degradation

- Environmental Discourse

- Environmental Management

- Environmental Racism

- Functional Materialism

- Hazards Research

- Historical Ecology

- Indigenous land mapping

- Land Use, Land Cover, Land Change

- Land Tenure and Common Property

- Migration

- Nature Conservation and Social Justice

- Nature and Ethnic Politics

- Nature Privatization and the State

- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

- Neoliberalism

- Political Economics

- Protected Area Policy and Management

- Pastoral Communities

- Subjectivity in Best Use Practice

- Sustainability and Vulnerability

- Sustainability Metrics

- Third-world Development

- Urban Ecology

- Urban Pollution and Remediation

- Water Management

- Wildlife Conservation

The CAPE Web Environment
The links to the left are found on all the CAPE website pages and serve as direct connections to topics of primary concern to members. The newsletter provides current information on upcoming conferences, member milestones, publications of interest, job postings, and other announcements. Contact information for each of the specialty group administrators is provided through the "Officers" link.

CAPE distributes several student awards at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Awards for student papers presented at the national meeting serve as an important milestone for many junior professional geographers. Field Study Awards provided research funds for the early stages of thesis or dissertation fieldwork. For information on application and a list of past recipients please visit the Awards link.

Honors for noteworthy achievement are given when Cape Officers feel recognition for meritorious achievement is warranted. This generally occurs on an annual basis. Testimonials are presented for each of the honorees.

National conferences of the AAG are held each spring. For details visit the AAG meeting website where a calendar of events will be available.

A long line of webmasters/newsletter editors have contributed to the current manifestation of this site. Robert Kuhlken at Central Washington University, who served as an editor of the Cultural Ecology Newsletter (CEN) from 1994-1998, authored the first webpage for what was then known as the Cultural Ecology Specialty Group. This was later modified by Simon Batterbury between 1998 and 2004 (late of U of Arizona, now at Univ. of Melbourne), and by Eric Perramond between 2004 and 2005 (Colorado College). The responsibilities of CAPE newsletter editor and webmaster continue to be folded into a single position currently held by Tony Abbott (Stetson University).

The CAPE Listserv
The listserv is the real-time-communication organ of the specialty group. Through it members can debate ideas, exchange news, organize paper sessions, post calls for papers, and request information from colleagues as long as content conforms to listerv policy of collegiality. If you would like to subscribe to the listserv go to the following link and follow the instructions provided there. If you encounter problems with your subscription, please contact the listserv manager, James McCarthy. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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