Innovations in Human Ecology: Looking Back and Moving Forward Day 1

Mon, October 17, 2022 at Kellogg Center

Ecocultural Studies Workshop

Innovations in Human Ecology – Looking Back and Moving Forward

October 17th 9 am – 5pm Kellogg 105AB
October 18th 9 am – 1:30 Kellogg 105AB
Please join us in a scholarly conversation on Innovations in Human Ecology - Looking Back and Moving Forward
Tom DietzIn 2003, Drs. Tom Dietz and Linda Kalof were hired at Michigan State University’s Sociology Department and initiated the Ecocultural Studies Research Group. The group brought together scholars that worked at the intersection of environment, animals and humans in the tradition of human ecology. The underlying idea is that an ecological system is constituted by humans, other animals, and the biophysical world all influencing each other. For example, it is now popularly accepted that humans have a significant influence on ecological systems - both its animal species and biophysical processes (Dietz et al., 2013).
Significant work emerged from this group on how animals and
environmental factors influence human behaviors, such as recognizing the role of animals in history (Kalof, 2007; Pohl-Resl and Kalof, 2021), the role of underlying human values but also of social structural forces in shaping ecosystem change (Dietz et al. 2005), and how companion animals influence crucial decisions such as those to leave relationships where there is domestic violence (Barrett et al., 2018).
Linda Kalof
Both founding scholars are assuming emeritus status and the 20th anniversary of the community is upon us. This is a workshop discussing a set of papers that have been invited to submit for a special issues of Human Ecology Review. The topics include:
• Intersections of animals, environment, and humans
• Values and networks
• Advancing justice
Invited authors will present the ideas for their papers and commentators and attendees will provide feedback and discussion on these ideas and their connections to the larger research agenda of human ecology. This workshop is meant to be friendly and provide scholarly conversation. We think it will be especially useful for those interested in learning and exploring new connections between environment, humans and animals and we welcome undergraduate and graduates students from a variety of majors. To learn more go to the Final Agenda Link here.
Pre-registration is not necessary, but to reserve your spot click here. Email Rachael Shwom at with any questions.


 Workshop Agenda

Ecocultural Studies Workshop Agenda - Final

Kellogg Center 105AB


October 17th, 2022 – Day 1 Ecocultural Studies Workshop

9:00 – 10:00 Welcome and Breakfast, Introductory remarks and introductions (Rachael lead facilitate)

(9-9:15) Jianguo "Jack" Liu, PhD, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, Director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability


10:00-12:30  Intersections for Insights - Lead Cameron Whitley

Clare Cannon, Assistant Professor, UC Davis and Alex McInturff, Assistant Professor, University of Washington discussing “A Critical POET Framework: Linking Critical Environmental Justice and Human Ecology to understand shared logics of oppression” (remote)

Mark Suchyta, Instructor, Butler University “Identification with Nature, Race, and Subjective Well-Being”

Amy Fitzgerald, Professor, University of Windsor  and Linda Kalof, Professor Emeritus, Michigan STate University, “Sport hunter backlash: How and why one academic article about sport hunting received national attention”

Seven Mattes, Assistant Professor in the Center for Integrative Studies, Michigan State University. “Building Resiliencies for Multispecies Communities”

12:00-1:30 Lunch and conversations

1:30-4:00   Values and Networks (Lead - Rachael Shwom)

Kenneth Frank, MSU Foundation Professor of Sociometrics, “The Evolution of Network Structure Related to Knowledge Flows about Climate Change in the Great Lakes”

David Bidwell, University of Rhode Island, “Traditionalism and the Environment: Lessons for Sustainability”

Cameron Whitely, Western Washington University, “Leaving my Pet Behind: Assessing Values, Beliefs and Norms as Factors in Including Companion Animals in Estate Planning”

Ben Leffel, University of Michigan, Erb Institute - commentator


4:00-5:00  Discussion of Topics (Lead - David Bidwell)

Identification of themes and research gaps

Comments by Drs. Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz

Facilitated Discussion 

Wrap up

October 18th, 2022 – Day 2 Ecocultural Studies Workshop

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

9:30-11:30 Advancing Values of Justice  (Amy facilitator)

Craig Harris, Michigan State University, “Seafood Justice”

Troy Abel, Western Washington University, “Civic Environmental Justice Science and Stewardship”  (remote)

Jennifer Rebecca Schauer, “Rewilding of Large Carnivores: Building a Theory of Nationhood” (arriving at 10:15 remote)

Jennifer Carrera, Sociology and ESPP, Michigan State University – commentator

11:30-12:15 Discussion (Lead Rachael Shwom)


New  themes

Future research paths pointed to

12:15  Closing

Rebecca Jordan, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Community Sustainability

12:30-1:30 Lunch and goodbyes