Visualizing (Some) Political Ecological Thought

As a complement to my reading in a graduate seminar on (beyond) political ecology this semester, I created word clouds at regular intervals to help myself track themes throughout the course. I wanted to share a few, because I think they efficiently demonstrate some interesting convergences, divergences, and strands of thought on nature/society within and beyond the canon of political ecology.

The first word cloud is composed of themes from texts in the first section of the course, which dealt with foundational concepts in political ecology:

James Scott's Seeing Like a State
Bruno Latour's Politics of Nature
Timothy Mitchell's Rule of Experts
James Ferguson's The Anti-Politics Machine
Anna Tsing's Friction

 Foundational Political Ecology

Foundational Political Ecology

The second word cloud is composed of themes from later sections. The books from these later sections, at least in the estimation of this course's syllabus, moved beyond political ecology in some important way. Among these various subsets of texts were feminist, materialist, anti-capitalist, non-white, and post-humanist contributions to nature/society thought. These books include:

Maria Mies & Vandana Shiva's Ecofeminism
Wendy Harcourt & Ingrid Nelson's Practicing Feminist Political Ecologies
Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter
Tania Li's Lands End
Anna Tsing's The Mushroom at the End of the World
Carolyn Finney's Black Faces, White Spaces
Timothy Morton's Hyperobjects
Jedidiah Purdy's After Nature

 Beyond Political Ecology

Beyond Political Ecology

In the juxtaposition of these two word clouds, we see a thematic shift or evolution from a focus on power, knowledge, science, and the state, towards a focus on assemblages, difference, nature, social reproduction, materiality, and the everyday, among other themes.

Combined, these themes yield a final, synthetic word cloud and offer a fascinating, schematic view of political ecological (and beyond political ecological) thought:

 Synthetic Political Ecology

Synthetic Political Ecology