Conference examines society’s relationship with nature

The first international anniversary conference celebrating the work of economist James O’Connor will be held at York University’s Keele campus, July 22 to 24. The conference, titled “Ecology, Imperialism and the Contradictions of Capitalism”, will review recent debates centred around worldwide ecological degradation and the realities of a possible radical response, concepts which O’Connor examined over the course of his career.

O’Connor, an economics professor emeritus at University of California at Santa Cruz, is the founder and chief editor of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, a quarterly journal that brings together ecosocialist writers from all over the world. The journal, an international “red-green” journal of theory and politics, publishes essays, research articles, symposia, briefs and book reviews. It was founded 17 years ago and is published by Taylor and Francis in the UK. Its development coincided with the rise of “sustainable development” as the key response of dominant institutions to rising ecological degradation and radical ecological challenge.

The conference is structured along four broadly conceived subject areas:

  • Marxism, critical theory and ecology;
  • Ecosocialism, feminism and environmental justice;
  • World order, imperialism and global ecological politics; and,
  • Urbanization, ecological degradation and political ecology.

Contributors with expertise in a number of fields will be present at the conference. It is designed to encourage interdisciplinary debates on critical political ecology and the current crisis of society’s relationship with nature. Click here for a full conference program.

The Capitalism, Nature, Socialism journal anniversary conference is organized in conjunction with York’s International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School (July 20-27). The summer school is jointly coordinated by the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University.

European sociologist Maria Mies (left) will provide the keynote address. Mies is a professor emerita of sociology at the University of Cologne in Germany. She has worked for five years in India were she wrote her PhD dissertation dealing with the topic of women’s rights in India. Her scientific work has focused on finding new solutions for the current problems of the agricultural business. 

Following a panel on the contribution of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism and the work of James O’Connor, the conference discussions will centre on keynote speeches by invited guests and other selected participants. For more information, visit the conference Web site.

The conference is sponsored by the following groups:

  • Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
  • York University International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School
  • Department of Political Science, York University
  • Centre for Feminist Research, York University
  • Department of Urban Studies, York University
  • Canadian Centre for German & European Studies, York University
  • Ad Hoc Grant for Conferences at York, York University
  • Office of VP Research & Innovation, York University
  • Canada Research Chair Leo Panitch, York University
  • Taylor and Francis Publishing
  • The Center for Political Ecology, Santa Cruz
  • Capitalism, Nature, Socialism