Interdisciplinary Perspective

New Directions in Social Ecology: From Climate Action to Housing Justice

This post comes to you from Cultura21

New Directions in Social Ecology: From Climate Action to Housing Justice


An Intensive Seminar for All Levels

Each year, the Institute for Social Ecology hosts intensive seminars for students, activists, and community leaders to come together to explore sets of dynamic and urgent social and ecological issues. This year, the Institute for Social Ecology is thrilled to offer, for the first time, a seminar right in the heart of San Francisco.

We will be partnering with the California Institute for Integral Studies based in the SOMA district and on major transit lines. Classes will include the politics and philosophy of Social Ecology, international social movements for direct democracy, alternatives to capitalism, climate justice with a focus and emphasis on urban housing and land struggles. We have designed this intensive to be a bit longer than previous programs so as to secure time for local field trips that will allow us to get to know the community and history in which we are studying.

APPLY HERE! for the San Francisco Intensive

What is Social Ecology?

Social Ecology is an interdisciplinary perspective that  weaves together aspects of ecology, philosophy,  anthropology, and political theory. As a body of ideas, social ecology favors a moral economy over a market  economy, while striving to foster human and biological   diversity in a directly democratic world.

The Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) was founded in 1974 as an educational institution dedicated to the exploration of social ecology and its relationship to fields  including philosophy, history, economics, the natural sciences, post-colonialism, and feminism. Historically, the ISE has been a pioneer in community-based approaches to alternative technologies, directly democratic organizing, and ecological urban design. ISE faculty, students, and alumna have played key roles in movements to challenge nuclear power, environmental racism, agricultural biotechnology, climate crisis, and global injustice.

What is an ISE Intensive?

The ISE organizes educational ‘intensive seminars’ that deepen students’ understanding of  human/nature relationships, directly democratic movements, climate change, and the historical unfolding of Left politics. At ISE intensives, students establish links between their current political work on the ground to the ‘grounded theory’ of social ecology.  In that spirit, the ISE has organized intensive seminars to among core Occupy NYC organizers while also fostering strategic ongoing movement-building in the New York area.

APPLY HERE! for the San Francisco Intensive

check out the event on Facebook!


“I was able to attend two of these [Intensives] in NYC and would love to go again!” – Jose Whelan

“I am enormously happy that the Institute for Social Ecology is coming to SF!!! Radical, coherent and powerful body of ideas taught by talented and dedicated teachers that can transform your perspective of politics, evolution, nature, revolution, environmentalism, climate change, capitalism, power and hierarchy.” -Liana Sweeney, past Intensive student


Dates: June 12th – 22nd, 2013

LocationCalifornia Institute for Integral Studies, 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco CA

Scholarships: Available, please inquire.

Tuition: $250 – $400 sliding scale or $50 per class. To secure your spot in the seminar, a deposit (30% of your fee) is required. To make your deposit, click on the donate button (up and to the right of this text) and describe your donation as “SF Intensive.”

Readings: coming soon!


Intensive Seminar Instructors

Dan Chodorkoff: What is Social Ecology/the Utopian Tradition

Dan Chodorkoff is a cultural anthropologist and co-founder of the Institute for Social Ecology. He recently published his first novel,Loisaida, a reflection on the rich history of people’s struggles in New York’s Lower East Side.

Chaia Heller: Direct Democracy and Dual Power / The Alter Left (History of the Left)

Chaia Heller is a cultural anthropologist and a professor of gender studies at Mt. Holyoke College. She is the author of Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature, and just released her second book, Food Farms and Solidarity: French Farmers Challenge Industrial Agriculture and Genetically Modified Crops.

Peter StaudenmaierWhat is Capitalism?/A Moral Economy:  Around the world, people dissatisfied with global capitalism face challenging questions about what kind of society could replace the present one: How can we build amoral economy in the wreckage of a market economy? This course will explore how capitalism works and how a fundamentally different economic system can be both possible and practical.

Peter Staudenmaier is a historian, and a professor of modern German history at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. He co-wrote the book Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience with Janet Beihl.

Brooke Lehman: Building Transformative movements: How can we build democratic organizations and movements powerful enough to shift systemic power and grounded enough to evolve the very nature how we relate to each other and to our own deepest sense of purpose? In this class students will develop their own personal mission and vision statements; practice communication skills for effective leadership; and learn how to design healthy organizational
structures and coalitions.

Brian Tokar: Social Justice and Climate Action

Brian Tokar is currently the director of the Institute for Social Ecology and a lecturer of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. His most recent book is Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change.

Hilary Moore with James Tracy: Solidarity and Alliance Building

Hilary Moore is a founding member of Mobilization for Climate Justice- West in the Bay Area. She co-wrote the booklet Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis with Joshua Kahn Russell.

James Tracy is an organizer with the San Francisco Community Land Trust and author of Hillbilly Nationalist, Urban Race Rebels , and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times with Amy Sonnie.

Andrej Grubacic: International Movements for Democracy: What is democracy? This class will focus on several historical instances of direct democracy. From the Cossak “krug,” to the pirate ship, and from the runnaway “palenque” of Maroons, to the Chiapas village assembly.

Andrej Grubacic is a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Global Balkans Network. His most recent work is Don’t Mourn, Balkanize! Essays After Yugoslavia.

*More teachers and evening speakers TBA. The Intensive will also offer a field trip to explore urban land straggles. 

*Schedule and full class descriptions coming soon

For more information, email

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Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

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Otis College of Art and Design, Graduate Public Practice and Graduate Fine Arts present author and public intellectual critic Lucy Lippard

To kick off Street Smart, three events on public art, Graduate Public Practice and Graduate Fine Arts present author and public intellectual critic Lucy Lippard, whose interests and writing include tourism, archaeology, anthropology, and small New Mexico towns.

Seating limited, reservations suggested at or (310) 846-2610. Free to the public.

Since 1966, Lippard has published 20 books on feminism, art, politics and place and has received numerous awards and accolades from literary critics and art associations. In her lecture, “Farther Afield,”she will speak on landscape, history, place-making and tourism from an interdisciplinary perspective. In the hands of many artists, her writing has inspired research and production on the relationship between visual art, space, activism, research, publics, and the social and political uses of art.

In a long history of key publications in the visual arts, The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society and On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place have particular relevance for public artists. Her most recent book Down Country: The Tano of the Galisteo Basin, 1250-1782 is yet another relevant departure.

The informal studio setting of the MFA Public Practice program in the The 18th Street Arts Center –formerly home to the historic production of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party – will set the stage for an intimate and informal engagement with Lippard.

Graduate Public Practice Studios, 1657 18th St, Santa Monica CA 90404

Otis College of Art and Design.

Creating Cities: Culture, Space, and Sustainability – The City, Culture, and Society (CCS) Conference

Jointly organized by Japan Center, Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology and Institute for European Ethnology, and Seminar of Economic History of Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, and Urban Research Plaza of Osaka City University

supported by

The Japan Foundation, Osaka City University, State Ministry for Social Affairs of Bavaria, Münchener Universitätsgesellschaft

The conference Creating Cities: Culture, Space and Sustainability, which will take place from 25 to 27 February 2010, investigates the forces that shape the conditions of urban development and the creation of cities in comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. In recent years, the notion of the „creative city“ has become a guiding framework for thinking about the present and future state of cities and their capability of coping with the impact and challenges of globalization. Cities are regarded as engines of regional, national, and global economic growth because they are the key centers for cultural production and consumption and target areas for mobility and migration. They are also contested sites because of increasing cultural and social diversity. Simultaneously, cities use cultural diversity and even counter-cultures to display appealing images and representations of creativity and innovation. Many citizens aspire to live and work in the cosmopolitan global environments that only metropolitan centers seem to be able to provide, but cities also provide vital space for the challenged, homeless, and other socially disadvantaged groups. The resolution of social disparities is consequently becoming an urgent policy task. Environmental and social sustainability, urban revitalization and amenity are major keywords of our time.

In this context, this conference focuses on the interactions among culture, sustainability, and space. We would like to emphasize inquiry into the dynamics of cultural creativity, industries and production, the risks and benefits of both cultural diversity and social inclusion or exclusion, the sustainability of efforts to plan and redesign the urban built environment to promote creativity, and the identity politics of representations of the city and creativity in the popular imagination as well as spaces of heritage and tourism. We recognize that there are many different groups and focal points related to creating cities, so one major purpose of this conference is to create a framework in which both practitioners and researchers of different disciplines can interact and share ideas about how urban environments are being transformed.

Introductory Session: Creating Cities & Creative Cities

As global market forces penetrate hitherto closed rural areas wherever market liberalization occurs, urbanization, too, is progressing rapidly. Even though regional differences obviously do exist the global ratio of urban population has now crossed the 50-percent line. While mega cities may be one of the most conspicuous phenomena of the present urbanization the term urban must be understood in a much broader sense. The fact that the majority of urban dwellers still lives in smaller and medium-sized settlements is frequently overlooked. Only through a combined effort of local supplier development, national institutional support, and foreign investment can there be any real benefits from for example creative cluster development and economies of scale and scope. Two prominent regions of Southeast Asia, namely the Greater Mekong Region and Singapore, will serve as examples as this session will investigate the relationship between the process of creating cities and the making of creative cities.

Session 1: Creative Diversity, Socioscapes, and Cultural Politics

This session critically reviews current notions and implications of cultural diversity in cities by bringing together broadly three strands: representation, socioscapes, and cultural politics. The interplay between creating particular urban images and the urban condition of particular socioscapes, ranging from less empowered groups such as those that are affected by transnational precarization to elite diasporas, will be examined.

Session 2: City Marketing

Cities are increasingly undertaking marketing activities to support their local economy. By way of example, this section will look at how city marketing may cope with challenges in terms of communication content, tools or media, and with regard to underlying organizational structures and processes.

Session 3: Mobility and Built Environment

Mobility is a crucial aspect of globalization and the development of more efficient mobility systems on a grand scale is a significant locus for planning activity in global cities. This session will compare and contrast corporate and planning approaches to mobility issues in several global cities.

Session 4: Networks

Global cities rely upon networks with other cities, and the institutions, infrastructure, character, extent and effects of such inter-city networking are the subject for this session. It will identify the possibilities and constraints on such network development.

See also the detailed conference program (as of 2010-01-14, pdf format, 600 KB).

Please note:

  • The conference will take place at the IBZ Munich, Amalienstraße 38, D-80799 Munich / Germany (how to get there).
  • Admission fee (regular/student) will be EUR 40/20 for the whole conference, or EUR 20/10 for participation on Thursday and EUR 10/5 for participation on Friday or Saturday, respectively.
  • If you would like to attend the conference, please register until February 15th, 2010 via E-Mail schicken an E-Mail(Subject: Registration Creating Cities)
  • Please also consult our list of accomodations near the conference site.
  • For the duration of the symposium (25-27 February) our invited guests will be staying at the Savoy Hotel Munich at Amalienstrasse 25 (Tel. +49 (0) 89 / 287870 – how to get there). At the hotel, they will receive the conference folder, containing also a map with the symposium venue indicated. The symposium venue is literally just down the street, at Amalienstrasse 38, i.e. in easy walking distance (cf. the Google Maps location of the hotel).

Prof. Dr. Evelyn Schulz

LMU Japan Center

phone: +49 89 / 2180-9800
fax: +49 89 / 2180-9801

For further inquiries, please E-Mail schicken an E-Mail us.

via Veranstaltungen – Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.