Session Proposal for the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting 2016 (29 March - 2 April 2016, San Francisco)


Session Title:

Ethnic diversity, environment and climate change



Lesley Head, University of Wollongong/University of Melbourne, Australia

Natascha Klocker, University of Wollongong, Australia

Olivia Dun, University of Wollongong, Australia


Sponsoring Groups:

Ethnic Geography Specialty Group

Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group



This session aims to draw attention to how ethnic minorities engage with the environment and environmentalism. We welcome presentations that address how ethnic minorities understand and value nature, how ethnic diversity shapes agricultural practices, and how diverse cultural groups understand and respond to debates over environmental sustainability and climate change. Our focus is both on recent migrants, and established ethnic minority communities, living in western countries. In the case of migrants, the meanings that they attach to ‘nature’ and their environmental values, priorities and practices may be profoundly shaped by experiences and values from countries of origin and anticipations about their ‘new’ country. They also change over time following settlement, taking expression in contexts that include households, gardens, farms and parks. Recognition of the cultural environmental capacities of ethnic minorities challenges environmental thinking to move beyond the ‘constraints of western philosophies and colonial legacies’ (Goodall 2008:16). The diverse environmentalisms and environmental knowledges of ethnic minorities may come to provide important resources in response to the multiple and profound ecological challenges of the Anthropocene (Klocker and Head 2013).


This call for papers arises out of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project being conducted by the session organisers, along with Professor Gordon Waitt and Professor Heather Goodall. Professor Julian Agyeman (Tufts University, USA) has kindly agreed to be discussant for this session.



Goodall, H. 2008, Will environmental history save the world?, History Australia 5: 13-16

Klocker, N. & Head, L. 2013, Diversifying ethnicity in Australia’s population and environment debates, Australian Geographer 44(1): 41-62


If you are interesting in presenting as part of this session, please submit abstracts of 200-250 words to Olivia Dun ( by Wednesday, 11 November 2015.  Please note the AAG Meeting’s online abstract submission deadline has been extended until Wednesday, 18 November 2015.


Kind regards,




Olivia Dun

Associate Research Fellow

Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER)

Faculty of Social Sciences | Building 41 Room 249

University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia


T +61 2 4221 3876 | M + 61 (0)475 200 889


Tw @LivDun





NOTICE: This email is intended for the addressee name and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete it and notify the sender. Please consider the environment before printing this email.