CEGU

Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

Student Event

BA Thesis Chat and Alumni Panel

Friday, February 24, 2023
12:30–1:30pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info
Join CEGU staff, ENST alumni, and fellow thesis writers for an informal discussion on undergraduate research in the Environmental and Urban Studies major. Light refreshments will be served, and students will have an opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback on their projects.

This event is open to all UChicago undergraduates. Third- and Fourth-Year ENST majors are encouraged to attend.

Student Event

BA Thesis Brainstorm Session with CEGU Research Mentors

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
12:00pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join CEGU research mentors and fellow students to brainstorm together about the BA Thesis in the Environmental and Urban Studies major.

This event is optional (but encouraged) for Third-Year ENST majors.

Student Event

Monday, February 13, 2023
6:00pm CT
Cloister Club, Ida Noyes Hall (1212 E. 59th St.)

More Info

Join EPIC, CEGU, and UChicago Career Advancement for the annual Energize event to network with professionals from across the sustainability, environmental, and energy fields. You will be able to meet with experienced professionals from organizations and companies such as the Invenergy, Green City Market, Shedd Aquarium, the Delta Institute, and more. Students will speak to panelists in small groups about their career experiences and how to succeed in various fields.

If you have any questions about access or to request any reasonable accommodations that will facilitate your full participation in this event such as ASL interpreting, captioned videos, Braille or electronic text, food options for individuals with dietary restrictions, etc. please contact the event organizer or Career Advancement at careeradvancement@uchicago.edu.↗

poster for 2/2 cegu book event with manny teodoro

CEGU Event

Nancy Fraser, The New School
Jason W. Moore, Binghamton University

Aaron Jakes, University of Chicago (moderator)

Friday, February 10, 2023
12:00pm CT
Room 142, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

In this public dialogue, two of the leading social theorists of our time discuss the origins, manifestations and consequences of environmental crisis on our rapidly warming planet.

Over the last decade, political theorist Nancy Fraser and historical geographer Jason W. Moore have been among the most influential and systematic proponents of the claim that contemporary environmental emergencies are best understood in relation to—and as a direct expression of—capitalism’s underlying crisis-tendencies. On this understanding, the accumulation of capital is not simply a social or economic process that engenders damaging ecological effects. Rather, capital is itself a way of organizing nature, and thus environmental disasters such as global warming and biodiversity loss reflect its systematic devaluation or “cheapening” of the entire planetary web of life in both human and nonhuman forms. These operations are obscured, they argue, in dominant market-centric and technoscientific discourses, which treat nature as an exterior parameter or infinitely renewable resource supply for human consumption. In contrast, Fraser and Moore seek to draw attention to the “hidden abodes” of human and nonhuman reproductive work that support the operations of capital, and indeed, life itself on planet earth.

Moore and Fraser have been developing closely parallel lines of argument and discussing each other’s work for quite some time. In this conversation, moderated Professor Aaron Jakes of the Department of History, these eminent scholars will share the stage to consider what their respective approaches to an account of “capitalism’s natures” might offer to scholarship on the climate crisis, and to ongoing struggles to create more equitable, democratic, and livable ways of organizing our shared planetary existence.

Please note, this event will take place in person only. A recording will be made available shortly afterwards.

poster for February 2023 New Book Salon with Nancy Fraser, co-organized with 3CT
poster for February 2023 New Book Salon with Nancy Fraser, co-organized with 3CT

3CT New Book Salon

Nancy Fraser, The New School

Ryan Cecil Jobson, University of Chicago (interlocutor)
Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, February 9, 2023
6:00pm CT
Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.

More Info

Please join us to celebrate Nancy Fraser’s recent book, Cannibal Capitalism: How Our System Is Devouring Democracy, Care, and the Planet—and What We Can Do About It (Verso Books, 2022). Fraser will be joined in conversation by CEGU faculty Ryan Cecil Jobson as interlocutor and Lisa Wedeen as moderator.

Capital is currently cannibalizing every sphere of life–guzzling wealth from nature and racialized populations, sucking up our ability to care for each other, and gutting the practice of politics. In this tightly argued and urgent volume, leading Marxist feminist theorist Nancy Fraser charts the voracious appetite of capital, tracking it from crisis point to crisis point, from ecological devastation to the collapse of democracy, from racial violence to the devaluing of care work. These crisis points all come to a head in Covid-19, which Fraser argues can help us envision the resistance we need to end the feeding frenzy.

What we need, she argues, is a wide-ranging socialist movement that can recognize the rapaciousness of capital— and starve it to death.

This event is co-organized by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) and CEGU.

Please note, this event will take place in person only.

Student Event

BA Thesis and Capstone Project Information Session

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
12:00pm CT
Math Lounge (first floor), 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info
Join CEGU staff and fellow students to learn about the newly revised BA Thesis and BA Capstone process in the Environmental and Urban Studies major.

This event is required for Third-Year ENST majors.

poster for Imperialism, with and withou Cheap nature; February 2023 Economic History Seminar with Jason W. Moore, showing 16th century engraving of people cutting open a huge fish to find more fish inside

Economic History Seminar

Jason W. Moore, Binghamton University

Tuesday, February 7, 2023
5:00–6:00pm CT
SSRB Tea Room, 1126 E. 59th St. (2nd floor)

More Info

Jason W. Moore is an environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University, where he is professor of sociology and leads the World-Ecology Research Collective. He is author or editor, most recently, of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), Capitalocene o Antropocene? (Ombre Corte, 2017), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016), and, with Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2017).

The organizers request that attendees read Jason Moore’s paper in advance. Click here to access the paper.

poster for 2/2 cegu book event with manny teodoro

CEGU Book Event

Manuel P. Teodoro, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sabina Shaikh, University of Chicago (interlocutor)

Thursday, February 2, 2023
6:00pm CT
Seminary Co-op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.)

More Info

The burgeoning bottled water industry presents a paradox: Why do people choose expensive, environmentally destructive bottled water, rather than cheaper, sustainable, and more rigorously regulated tap water? The Profits of Distrust links citizens' choices about the water they drink to civic life more broadly, marshalling a rich variety of data on public opinion, consumer behavior, political participation, geography, and water quality. Basic services are the bedrock of democratic legitimacy. Failing, inequitable basic services cause citizen-consumers to abandon government in favor of commercial competitors. This vicious cycle of distrust undermines democracy while commercial firms reap the profits of distrust – disproportionately so from the poor and racial/ethnic minority communities. But the vicious cycle can also be virtuous: excellent basic services build trust in government and foster greater engagement between citizens and the state. Rebuilding confidence in American democracy starts with literally rebuilding the basic infrastructure that sustains life.

Please join CEGU for a discussion between co-author Manny Teodoro and CEGU Director of Academic Programs Sabina Shaikh for a conversation about the book at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

Student Event

BA Thesis Chat

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
3:30–5:00pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info
Join CEGU staff and fellow thesis writers for an informal discussion on undergraduate research in Environmental and Urban Studies. Light refreshments will be served, and students will have an opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback on their projects.

This event is open to all UChicago undergraduates. Third- and Fourth-Year ENST majors are encouraged to attend.

Cover of Expositions Magazine Issue #3, showing an overhead view of a crowd on a brick paved area
Cover of Expositions Magazine Issue #3, showing an overhead view of a crowd on a brick paved area

Student Event

Expositions Launch Party

Friday, January 13, 2023
4:30pm CT
Urban Lounge, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join the student organizers of Expositions Magazine for the launch of their third issue.

Expositions was founded in 2021 by University of Chicago students studying urban journalism with Dr. Evan Carver. In partnership with CEGU, Expositions aims to highlight environmental and urban scholarship through creative forms. Unlike a school newspaper or academic journal, Expositions seeks current profiles of dynamic issues and phenomena through a wide range of styles and genres, with a distinct focus on creativity and boldness in both prose and visual art.

Stop by the Urban Lounge to grab a copy, hear presentations from the authors, and enjoy light refreshments. 

CEGU Event

Jeff Hou, University of Washington
Stephanie Wakefield, Life University

Evan Carver, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, January 12, 2023
5:00–6:30pm CT
Room 142, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info
In this CEGU panel, two eminent urban thinkers reflect critically on the prospects for radical, emergent, grassroots design interventions to create more democratic, socially just and environmentally viable urban landscapes and forms of urbanization.
Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022

Environmental Studies Workshop

Did the Earth Move for You? Human Geological Agency and the Koyna Earthquake of 1967

Sachaet Pandey, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Chatterjee, University of Chicago

Friday, December 2, 2022
12:00pm CT
SSRB Tea Room (1126 E. 59th St.)

More Info
On December 11, 1967, a devastating earthquake flattened the little town of Koynanagar in Maharashtra, western India. Fingers immediately pointed at the nearby Koyna hydroelectric dam, one of India's largest even today. Prompting domestic and international inquests, the Koyna earthquake became perhaps the world’s most famous and widely attested case of reservoir-induced seismicity. As postcolonial energy projects reached newly massive scales, humans appeared to be influencing the deep Earth itself. This paper uses the history of the Koyna Dam to explore transforming understandings of human geological agency and the ecological ramifications of economic development. Through the dam, energy infrastructures appeared to connect directly to deep history and the deep Earth, presaging debates over the Anthropocene and human powers to both generate and master natural hazards at a newly planetary scale.

Environmental Studies Workshop

Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University
Matthew Johnson, Harvard University
Owain Lawson, University of Toronto
Jen Rose Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Alexander Arroyo, University of Chicago (moderator)
Elizabeth Chatterjee, University of Chicago (moderator)

Friday, November 18, 2022
12:00pm CT
Harper 104 (1116 E. 59th St.)

More Info

The historical geographies of extractivism and empire cut across the division between “Global North” and “Global South.” This roundtable brings together scholars working on the Russian and North American Arctic, Brazil, and Lebanon for a conversation across regions rarely placed in the same frame. We will trace the surprising parallels and uncanny connections between histories of energy extraction and ecological transformation on very different colonial and capitalist resource frontiers. We will explore, too, sources of hope: the nodes of resistance and alternative imaginaries generated by projects of Indigenous and decolonial worldmaking.

This session of the Environmental Studies Workshop is co-sponsored by the Urban Theory Lab and the Neubauer Collegium Project on Fossil Capitalism on the Global South.

Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022

CEGU Event

Chandana Anusha, Northwestern University
Rachel Gittman, East Carolina University
Liz Koslov, UCLA

Michael Fisch, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, November 17, 2022
4:30–6:00pm CT
Classics 110 (1010 E. 59th St.) & Zoom Webinar

More Info

Climate change is dramatically transforming the planet’s coastal terrains, rendering densely settled communities, vibrant ecosystems, and large-scale infrastructure vulnerable to an unprecedented range of threats. Insofar as coastlines typically constitute the borders of national states and their geopolitical operations, they are also at the core of planetary environmental, economic and societal transformations. From industrial ports, large-scale metropolitan regions and long-distance transportation corridors to coastal fishing villages, mudflats, wetlands, and marshes, coastlines represent multidimensional spaces of interface between heterogeneous ecologies and infrastructural configurations; national, regional and urban economies; multinational corporations; diverse forms of territorial governance; and regionally embedded circuits of social reproduction. These vital but delicate spaces are in peril.

How should we understand these transformations? What are their implications for inherited forms of social life, spatial organization, and territorial governance? What kinds of interventions might be imagined and mobilized to mitigate their effects not only upon coastlines, but upon the planet as a whole?

This panel brings together scholars from diverse fields—including urban planning, anthropology, sociology, landscape design, and architecture—whose work addresses emerging coastal vulnerabilities, transformations and crises in various sites around the world; their uneven social and spatial impacts; and emergent strategic responses. It will present an interdisciplinary conversation with the aim of generating new approaches to understanding—and shaping—the rapidly mutating environmental conditions of our time.

Student Event

BA Thesis Chat

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
12:00–1:30pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join Instructional Assistant Xixi Jiang and fellow thesis writers for an informal discussion on undergraduate research in Environmental and Urban Studies. Light refreshments will be served, and students will have an opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback on their projects.

This event is for third- and fourth-year ENST majors.

Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022

Environmental Studies Workshop

Green Places, Green Aesthetics: (Re)producing Vulnerability and the Spatial Politics of Street Tree Planning in Chicago

Nina Olney, University of Chicago

Friday, November 4, 2022
12:00pm CT
SSRB Tea Room (1126 E. 59th St.)

More Info

The recently-announced Our Roots Chicago plan from Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, intended to plant an additional 75 thousand trees in ‘vulnerable’ neighborhoods, was met with surprise controversy when several community organizations protested what they deemed to be the potential for environmental gentrification. Troubling the notion of trees as ‘ahistorical’ or ‘apolitical,’ this paper examines how Chicago residents, in pointing to the ways in which the planting of new trees may not be truly sustainable for their communities, reveal deeper connections between the processes of sustainable development and regimes of racial hierarchy in America’s cities. Expanding on Brandi Summers’ work on “Black aesthetic emplacement,” this paper examines how debates around sustainability become the place of contestation over the modern city, wherein urban policymakers turn to a ‘green aesthetic,’ concealing larger histories of environmental injustice, attaching symbols of sustainability to spatialized forms, and greening the image of the neighborhood—making it more appealing to private investment—rather than greening the neighborhood itself.

Nina Olney is an Instructional Assistant in the Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU) and a recent graduate of the MAPSS program concentrating in Anthropology. Her research examines green gentrification in Chicago, specifically analyzing the role of street tree planning in transforming neighborhoods in terms of aesthetics, vulnerability, and access. Drawing on theories of racial capitalism, political ecology, and critical geography, her work centers the unseen elements of urban environments to trace a larger history of nature as property.

Student Event

Architectural Studies Open Studio: Built Environment Open House

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
5:00–8:00pm CT
MADD Center, Crerar Library

More Info

Meet faculty and course instructors who teach about the built environment from across the curriculum, and learn about upcoming classes in which you can enroll for Winter/Spring.

Open Studio is un-programmed time for students interested in architecture/urban design and related disciplines to meet one another, work together on projects, share ideas and techniques, and build community. While the space is designed mostly for students enrolled in, or interested in, architecture studio classes, all are welcome, and no registration is required. You're welcome just to drop in, or to stay for longer. Food will be served, and some Wednesdays will feature optional workshops/events alongside the free space to work. 

 

Student Event

IRB Workshop

Wednesday, October 26, 2022
5:00–6:00pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join Research Mentor Kristi Del Vecchio for a 60-minute workshop on the IRB (Institutional Review Board) application process. This session is especially relevant for ENST thesis writers who intend to conduct research with human subjects (e.g. surveys, interviews, participant observation, etc.). The main goal of the workshop is to review the procedures and requirements for the IRB application in order to help students prepare for this process.

This event is open to all current UChicago undergraduates. Snacks will be provided.

Student Event

BA Thesis Chat

Friday, October 21, 2022
1:30–2:30pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join Research Mentor Kristi del Vecchio and fellow thesis writers for an informal discussion on undergraduate research in Environmental and Urban Studies. Light refreshments will be served, and students will have an opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback on their projects.

This event is for third- and fourth-year ENST majors.

Student Event

Lunch Workshop on Qualitative Methods: Examples from Research on "Eco-Reproductive Ethics"

Kristi Del Vecchio

Friday, October 21, 2022
12:00–1:00pm CT
Room 129, 1155 E. 60th St.

More Info

Join CEGU Research Mentor Kristi Del Vecchio for an interactive session on qualitative methods in environmental studies research. Her dissertation focuses on “eco-reproductive ethics," interrogating the ways in which environmental concerns (such as climate change and biodiversity loss) are impacting reproductive choices and kinship practices in the U.S. In this session, Kristi will summarize her process for data collection and analysis, and discuss some of the literature that informs her approach. This lunch-n-learn is especially relevant for students who are interested in qualitative methods in their current or future research.

CEGU Event

A Roundtable with CEGU Faculty:

Alexander Arroyo
Sarah Fredericks
Amir Jina
Sarah Newman
Jennifer Scappettone

Sabina Shaikh (moderator)

Thursday, October 20, 2022
4:30–4:45pm CT—Welcome Reception
4:45–6:30pm CT—Roundtable Event
SSRB Tea Room (1126 E. 59th St.) & Zoom Webinar

More Info

Following the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UN secretary-general António Guterres declared that the earth “is on a fast track to climate disaster.” In order to avoid “tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts,” secretary-general Guterres advocated an accelerated shift to renewable energy sources and a rapid downscaling of fossil fuel production and consumption. However, even as catastrophic floods, storms, heatwaves and fires proliferate across the planet, accompanied by devastating human suffering, population displacement, landscape destruction, and infrastructure damage, the fossil fuel industry remains globally dominant. While some governments seek to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and more sustainable social arrangements, many powerful states continue to subsidize fossil fuels and to grant permits for their continued exploration and extraction. Amidst these contradictory tendencies, climate activists and citizens around the world continue to develop strategies to protest the status quo, to pressure governments to limit or ban CO2-emitting machines, and to repair the massive social and environmental damage induced during the “long fossil boom” of the last 150 years.

Against the background of these intense transformations, crises and struggles, this panel of CEGU faculty considers the contribution of social science and humanities research to our ability to understand—and to shape—emergent environmental conditions, from the local to the planetary scales. The panel brings together scholars from diverse disciplinary locations—archeology, anthropology, economics, English, creative writing, geography, political ecology, philosophy, and public policy—to dialogue and debate about contemporary climate emergencies, their historical genealogies, their uneven geographies, their emergent dynamics, and their future implications. This event represents the first in a year-long series of discussions organized by CEGU to support research, teaching, and public dialogue about the social, historical, spatial and (geo)political dimensions of contemporary environmental transformations and crises.

EVENTS: 2021–22

CEGU Event

Animals, Territories, Environments

Matthew Gandy, University of Cambridge
Mindi Schneider, Wageningen University
Neil Brenner, University of Chicago (moderator)
Victoria Saramago, University of Chicago (moderator)

Friday, April 29, 2022, 12:30–2:00pm CT
Zoom

CEGU Event

Environment, Democracy, & Social Movements

Alyssa Battistoni, Barnard College
Megan Black, MIT
Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, University of Chicago (moderator)
Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 4:30–6:00pm CT
Zoom

Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022
Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022
Co-sponsored Event

Lenticular Ontologies

Ghassan Hage, University of Melbourne

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 5:00pm CT
SSRB Tea Room, 1126 E. 59th St. & Zoom (Hybrid Event)

More Info

People who have social and affective connections to a multiplicity of geographical locations, such as immigrants, are often portrayed as dwelling and being torn between places. In his recent book, The Diasporic Condition (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Ghassan Hage argues that this is not always the case; that rather than being torn between two or three places people are also capable of dwelling in all these places at the same time. One needs to pluralize one’s conception of what it means to dwell in and occupy a place, and the idea of inhabiting simultaneously a multiplicity of locations becomes easier to conceive. But to what extent do we all inhabit a multiplicity of realities? And if we do, what are the critical analytical consequences of approaching social existence in this way?

Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He is the author of several books, including White NationAgainst Paranoid NationalismAfter-Politics, and Is Racism an Environmental Threat?

Organized by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT); co-sponsored by the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, the Department of Anthropology, and CEGU 

Co-sponsored Event

Property, Personhood, & Police: Racial Banishment in Postcolonial Los Angeles

Ananya Roy, UCLA

Thursday, March 3, 2022, 5:00–6:00pm CT
Zoom

More Info

Organized by the Program on the Global Environment and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights; co-sponsored by CEGU

Poster for Energy Histories and Geographies CEGU Event, February 2022

Co-sponsored Event

No Empires, No Dust Bowls: Lessons from the First Global Environmental Crisis

Hannah Holleman, Amherst College

Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 12:30–1:50pm CT
Zoom

More Info

Organized by the Department of Sociology; co-sponsored by CEGU

CEGU Event

Energy Histories & Geographies

Thea Riofrancos, Providence College
Julie Klinger, University of Delaware
Ryan Cecil Jobson, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, February 24, 2022, 4:30–6:00pm CT
Zoom

CEGU Event

Climate & the Legacies of Empire

Sunil Amrith, Yale University
Keston Perry, Williams College
Elizabeth Chatterjee, University of Chicago (moderator)

Thursday, February 10, 2022, 4:30–6:00pm CT
Zoom