Climate, Justice, and the Politics of Emotion

Deadline: October 28, 2022
Contact: Sarah J. Ray

Update: Extension of due date (Oct 28) and online presentation option available, see for details!

Climate, Justice, and the Politics of Emotion

A Symposium at University of California, Riverside
April 27-28, 2023

NEW CFP Deadline: October 28, 2022
Organized by Drs. Jade Sasser, Blanche Verlie, & Sarah Jaquette Ray

As the impacts of the climate and ecological crises increase, so too are intense experiences of environmental emotions including eco-anxiety, climate grief and climate trauma, as well as less discussed affective experiences such as pleasure, joy, amusement, wonder, optimism, ambivalence, apathy, and embarrassment. In a society primed to frame social injustices as individual failures, default responses to climate distress are to dismiss and deny, or to recommend psychological therapies. On the other hand, social norms that suppress unpleasant emotions in favour of toxic positivity mean that the explosion of attention to climate emotions is remaking the landscape of climate politics. Yet this burgeoning focus on climate emotions often ignores axes of inequality, particularly the ways race, ethnicity, and class intersect to produce social privilege or vulnerability, fear, trauma, and an even wider range of emotions not often discussed in the mainstream. Notwithstanding the immense value of climate-aware counselling, there is a pressing need to situate eco-emotions as political and cultural phenomena. This will require the theories, methodologies, tools and insights of a diverse set of academics, practitioners, and activists. Thanks to a long history of intersectional feminist, Indigenous, anti-racist, and anti-colonial scholars and activists, we know that emotions, affects, and feelings are politically generated and can be politically generative. As affect theorists have shown, emotions are situated and socially constructed, as well as felt and embodied.

This symposium explores the political and cultural dimensions of climate emotions, feelings, and affects. It will explore critical questions such as:

  1. Who feels ‘eco-anxiety’ and other ecological emotions, to what extent, in what ways, and how do we know? Who is centered in current research and activist approaches, and who is excluded?
  2. Do terms such as solastalgia, eco-anxiety, and climate grief adequately capture non-dominant experiences of emotions emerging from the entangled oppressions of people, place and planet?
  3. How might analyses informed by intersectional scholarship in queer studies, disability scholarship, and global south perspectives, shed light on dominant discussions of climate emotions?
  4. How do eco-emotions inform collective and political action (as it has done with the global youth climate movement) or violence (as with “green hate”)?
  5. How do race and whiteness shape the cultural work of climate emotions?
  6. What other kinds of emotions have received less attention in the dominant research, and what are the implications of ignoring this wider range? How can we move analyses of joy, hope, motivation, optimism, passion, and determination further into the discussion of climate emotions?
  7. How do political ideologies and structures, such as heteronormativity, colonization, and racial capitalism, influence how people engage affectively with climate change?

Formats other than presentations are welcome. If you would like to participate, send the following to by October 28, 2022.

• Name, <50 word biography and relevant affiliations, and contact information
• No more than 250 word abstract of your presentation or description of your offering

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Nicole Seymour, “Feeling Deep Trans Time”

Dr. Nicole Seymour researches the roles that queer styles and affects play in environmental movements. She is the author of Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination (University of Illinois Press, 2013), Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), and Glitter (Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series, 2022). She recently held fellowships at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently Associate Professor of English and Graduate Advisor for Environmental Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

Dr. Charles Ogunbode

Dr. Ogunbode is an Assistant Professor in Applied Psychology at the University of Nottingham, UK. His research broadly addresses how our personal experiences, the media we consume, and the attitudes of people around us shape the way we respond to environmental issues. He is also interested in how engaging with nature and the environment affects our wellbeing.

Posted on September 29, 2022