Information on past events organized by the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) and recordings from those events.
Past events and event recordings
We live in times of multiple concurrent crises. Both the climate emergency and the pandemic are forcing us to rethink how human life can be arranged in relation to all other life. Persistent inequality and exploitation of both human and non-human life make visible the violence embedded in the dominant “normality”. Responses to the current crises need to be both immediate and guided by practices for deep transformation in the long-term. In this task, education continues to have a crucial role.
There is however a need to re-think how education, learning and teaching are organized. Universities cannot continue to teach and educate as if we’re not living amidst a mass species extinction and climate emergency, nor can universities continue to prepare students to be members of a society which is destroying the very life that it is premised on. At the same time, the increasing precarity of academic work and neoliberalisation of universities pose huge challenges for fostering critical education.
In this event we discussED and exploreD ways to transform education, teaching and learning in universities in relation to the multiple socio-ecological crises and global inequality. We heard from two brilliant researchers and educators about the work they do in educating “as if people and the planet mattered”. Emphasis was given to collective re-imagination, but also to the practical tools and ways of teaching that participants can incorporate in their own work in higher education.
The event was aimed to be a co-learning space, with the purpose to stop together in the discomfort of living in a world of hurt and crisis, all the while opening up spaces for alternative and transformational ways of learning.
The event was directed towards university educators, lecturers, PhD-students and all others working with or interested in transforming education towards a more just and “care-full” being.
Luis “Iñaki” Prádanos Garcia (professor, Miami University)
Luis Prádanos (Iñaki) is a professor of contemporary Hispanic cultural studies at Miami University. He is the author of Postgrowth Imaginaries (Liverpool UP, 2018). Iñaki's research and teaching interests include environmental humanities, political ecology, critical energy studies, regenerative design, and decolonial extinction studies. His teaching approach is based on "The Pedagogy of Degrowth". In his free time he enjoys dancing and designing a permaculture food forest in his yard.
Sharon Stein (assistant professor at University of British Columbia)
Sharon Stein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research examines the complexities and challenges of internationalization, decolonization, and sustainability in higher education. Through this work, she seeks to interrupt common colonial patterns of educational engagement, including: uneven and extractive relationships between dominant and marginalized communities; simplistic solutions to complex problems; and ethnocentric imaginaries of justice, responsibility, and change. She is the founder of the Critical Internationalization Studies Network, and a founding member of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective.
Facilitator: Saana Hokkanen (PhD researcher at the Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki)
The event is co-organized with the Global Development Studies discipline (University of Helsinki).
This EXALT book launch event on March 17th at 16-17 (UTC+2) on Zoom focused on Gediminas Lesutis’s recently published book The Politics of Precarity: Spaces of Extractivism, Violence, and Suffering (Routledge) that explores how intensifying geographies of extractive capitalism shape vulnerable lives and (im)possibilities of transformative politics in historically marginalised areas of the global economy.
Engaging critical theory on space, precarity, and resistance with ethnographic research on destructive real-life impacts of dispossession in the epicentre of the extractive boom in contemporary Mozambique, The Politics of Precarity theorises precarity as a configuration of space, violence, and politics. Going beyond labour relations, or governance of life in liberal democracies, that are typically explored in literatures on precarity, the book shows how people dispossessed by natural resource extraction are subjected to structural, symbolic, and direct modalities of violence; this, Lesutis argues, simultaneously constitutes their suffering and ceaseless desire, however implausible, to be included into abstract space of extractivism as the sole pathway to a “better life”.
Reflecting on these dynamics of everyday life in the epicentre of extractivism, The Politics of Precarity urges the reader to think critically about how, despite the multifarious violence that it engenders, extractive capital accumulation is sustained even in the margins, historically excluded from contingently lived imaginaries of a "good life" or “development” promised by capitalism.
Two discussants – Jennifer Fluri and Saska Petrova – reflected on the book’s contributions to understanding the complex politics of violence and precarity endemic to extractivism and contemporary capitalist development, as well as possibilities of politicization. After interventions from each of these scholars and an exchange with the author, the floor was then open for a facilitated Q&A session with the attendants.
Author - Gediminas Lesutis, Marie Curie Fellow in Geography, University of Amsterdam
Discussant - Jennifer Fluri, Professor of Human Geography, University of Colorado
Discussant - Saska Petrova, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester
January 31, 2022
Capitalism and Industrialism have been systematically consuming the planet, working to assimilate and homogenize human and nonhumans into their networks of production and consumption. This has had exterminating consequences, taking a serious toll on human and biological diversity, triggering widespread socio-ecological crisis, climate catastrophe, and is making a sixth extinction an imminent possibility. John Clark consequently has argued that the ‘Necrocene’ is far more accurate than the Anthropocene to describe this geological epoch. The harsh realities of technological capitalism raise the conceptual relevance of genocide and ecocide in research. Why are researchers systematically underestimating the progressive and ‘slow’ cumulative impact of capitalism, industrialization, and technological development?
The webinar focused on bridging this gap by exploring colonial/critical genocide studies in relationship to political ecology, anthropology, and human geography. Discussing critical genocide studies in relationship to fieldwork, this webinar unpacked the particular relevance of the ‘genocide-ecocide nexus’ to political ecology, but also the difficult dilemmas faced when substantiating the claims of research participants on the ground.
The webinar began with the keynote speaker, Dr. Alexander Dunlap, who gave a presentation based around two open access articles (see links below) discussing how they came to critical genocide studies, their experience with applying these terms, their relevance, and the dilemmas. Laying out a terrain of terms, reasons, and concerns, 3 discussants— Markus Kröger, Sakshi Aravind and Martín Correa Arce—reflected on these studies, concerns, and dilemmas in relation to their own experiences, work, and ideas. After short presentations from each these scholars and an exchange, a facilitated Q&A session with the attendants was hosted.
- Alexander Dunlap, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo
- Martin Correa-Arce, Universidad Autonoma Comunal de Oaxaca UACO
- Sakshi Aravind, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
- Markus Kröger, Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki
Here are links to the featured articles by Alexander Dunlap:
If you are interested in these topics, please check out the following readings:
EXALT Conference 2021 sought to draw together diverse critical analyses of the phenomena of global extractivisms and the myriad alternatives being actively pursued in both theory and practice. It was the intention of this conference to contribute to, expand, and deepen the concept of extractivism and the role of alternatives beyond the conventional usage connected to natural resources. We hoped to catalyze and facilitate inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration therefore we invited researchers of all academic career-levels to join the discussion.
EXALT Conference 2021: Andréa Zhouri's plenary talk
EXALT Conference 2021: Robin Broad's and John Cavanagh's plenary talk
EXALT Conference 2021: Lochner Marais's plenary talk
EXALT Conference 2021: Deborah McGregor's plenary talk
October 5, 2021
What is Indigenous womens' role in self-governance, self-determination and autonomy building? This forum brought different knowledges from Finland, Sápmi, and Mexico to discuss womens' contributions to self-determination, self-governance, and autonomy building. These processes are also closely linked and intersect with education, well-being, environmental justice, language, and cultural heritage. The speakers of the forum shared their experiences in collectivity- and communality-building as well as gender equality in Indigenous societies. How have speakers’ own practices and methodologies been drawn from or impacted communality- and collectivity-building in Indigenous societies? From women’s perspectives, how have they impacted transformation and health in Indigenous territories and of Indigenous societies?
Speakers included, Helga West, Irja Seurujärvi-Kari, Eija Ranta, and Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen. Five Indigenous women guests from Mexico will comment on the panelists, which will be followed by a Q&A and collective discussion.
- Helga West is a doctoral researcher in Theology, from Sápmi and also a poet.
- Irja Seurujärvi-Kari is associated researcher in Global Indigenous studies and emerita lecturer in Sámi studies. She has extensive experience leading and participating in Indigenous movements and her doctoral dissertation focused on Sámi nation building.
- Eija Ranta is an Academy of Finland research fellow, and she has worked with Indigenous societies in Bolivia.
- Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen is associate professor in Indigenous studies, and has carried out community-based research in Brazilian Amazonia, especially with two Indigenous nations.
The event was organised by University of Helsinki Indigenous Studies and the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) in collaboration with Armadillo Collective Finland. This activity was funded by the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID).
July 15, 2021
One of EXALT's contributors University of Helsinki researcher of Global Development studies Eija Ranta gave a presentation on "Learning from Indigenous views of quality of life in Latin America" at the Reimagining 'Quality of Life' and 'Social Wellbeing': Indigenous Perspectives About Quality of Life online workshops hosted by New Economy Network Australia (NENA) and the University of Newcastle (UoN). Ranta sheds light on some comparisons between diverse indigenous experiences and on possible similarities and differences. She gives examples of indigenous quality of life and wellbeing by referring to the work of Sámi indigenous scholars in Finland. You can find the online workshop in its full length on NENA's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXH2IWGl338
May 20, 2021 16-17.30 GMT
EXALT got to host a book launch for Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance edited by Judith Shapiro and John-Andrew McNeish. The event included an introduction by the editors, short interventions by the chapter authors, and an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
Our Extractive Age emphasizes how the spectrum of violence associated with natural resource extraction permeates contemporary collective life. It records the increasing rates of brutal suppression of local environmental and labor activists in rural and urban sites of extraction and recognizes related violence in areas we might not expect. Contributors argue that extractive violence—visible, symbolic, and structural—is not an accident or side effect, but rather it is a core logic of the 21st century planetary experience. This book also explores how much of the new violence of extraction has become cloaked in the discourse of "green development," "green building," and “green technologies,” which often depend on the continuance of social exploitation and the contaminating practices of non-renewable extraction. The volume also presents that resistance is as multi-scalar and heterogeneous as the violence it inspires.
May 18, 2021, 12.15 – 14 EEST (UTC+3)
EXALT hosted a session called “Extractivisms and Alternatives” at the Sustainability Science Days organized by Aalto Sustainability and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS). This session was a robust exploration of renewables, recycling, and new tech developments that could help to address the current forms of destructive and unsustainable extraction of raw materials.
The topic of extractivism is gaining more importance as a new key concept that helps to understand, at a deeper level, the causes of destructive resource extractive projects and overall political economic models built on this extractivist paradigm. There is a growing debate around how to find alternatives to destructive extractive processes, and how to identify and implement alternative ways to provide raw materials and create sustainable livelihoods and production processes. The Extractivisms and Alternatives -session will focus on unsustainable extraction practices and the technological and political solutions that stand as alternatives in the face of extractivism. The session creates opportunities for dialogue and development of common vocabularies across disciplines.
Associate professor Markus Kröger, Doctoral Student Sophia Hagolani-Albov, Postdoctoral Researcher Ossi Ollinaho (University of Helsinki)
Assistant Professor Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio (Aalto University)
Speakers and their presentation titles
Circular textile economy: social and environmental synergies or tradeoffs? Anna Härri, Helena Dahlbo, and Jarkko Levänen
Critical factors for enhancing the circular economy in waste management, Hanna Salmenperä, Kati Pitkänen, Petrus Kautto and Laura Saikku
Reusing mine tailings as cemented paste backfill material (CPB), Soili Solismaa and Tommi Kauppila
Saving the Environment by Being Green with Fintech: exploring the contradictions between environmentalism and reality in the case of Ant Forest, Zeng Zhen
Exploring Kiertovalu, Tommi Sappinen
Why is agroforestry not expanding but industrial monocultures are expanding in Brazil?, Markus Kröger and Ossi Ollinaho
April 29, 2021, 14-15.15 EEST (UTC +3)
EXALT's book discussion about Markus Kröger’s recent book Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India, which explored the role of extractivist policies, their global significance and the local efforts to resist them, in the context of iron ore mining in Brazil and India. To discuss his book Kröger was joined by Professor Alf Nilsen and Sakshi Aravind.
Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India lays bare the role of extractivist policies and efforts to resist these policies through a deep ethnographic exploration of globally important iron ore mining in Brazil and India. It also addresses resistance strategies to extractivism and tracks their success, or lack thereof, through a comparison of peaceful and armed resource conflicts, explaining how different means of resistance arise. Using the distinctly different contexts and political systems of Brazil and India highlights the importance of local context for resistance.
Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and a research fellow at the Academy of Finland. Alf Nilsen is professor of sociology at the University of Pretoria and a scholar of social movements, political economy, and global development. Sakshi Aravind is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, working on Indigenous Environmental Justice in Australia, Brazil, and Canada.
April 8, 2021 11.00 – 12.15 EDT (UTC -4)
EXALT hosted a roundtable discussion on Global Extractivisms at the ISA Annual Convention #ISA2021. This event included a rousing discussion and exploration of global extractivisms.
The panelists study the extractive nature of renewable energy megaprojects, agroforestry, world politics, resistance to extractivisms, and data/intellectual extractivism.
Panelist in the session included:
March 26, 2021 11.00 – 12.00 EET
Contributors to EXALT gave a talk called "Our Extractive Age: Exploring Extractivisms" at HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch event hosted by Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science. The presentation was drawn from our co-authored work in chapters 1 and 9 from the forthcoming Routledge book Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance, which will be published in May 2021.
Extractivism characterizes the modern era. Since the 2000s extractivisms have intensified, becoming ever-more global, propelled by land and resource rushes. Whether we realize or not, extractivisms deeply shape our experience of everyday life. We conceptualize extractivism here as, “a particular way of thinking and the properties and practices organized towards the goal of maximizing benefit through extraction, which brings in its wake violence and destruction.” On the academic front, the use of the concept of extractivism has expanded from mining to new arenas like agriculture, forestry, finance, and even the digital. This presentation provides a brief introduction to the complex web of extractivisms, where data and the digital intersect with natural resource extractivisms and provoke resistances to these processes and underlying ideological and historically-situated logics.
Christopher Chagnon is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
Francesco Durante is a PhD candidate in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC) in affiliation with the Aleksanteri Institute and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (DENVI), University of Helsinki.
Saana Hokkanen is a Graduate student in Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki.
Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland.
Will LaFleur is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
The EXALT Symposium 2020 was a series of convivial online discussions stretching across three days on 21.-23. of October, 2020. The event drew together diverse critical analyses of the phenomena of global extractivisms and the myriad alternatives pursued both in theory and practice. The main aim of the Symposium was to contribute to, expand and deepen the concept of extractivism and the role of alternatives beyond the conventional usage connected to natural resources. The Symposium consisted of a main Roundtable-discussion (see recording below) with some of the world’s leading scholars working on extractivisms, followed by seven sessions (see recordings below) covering different aspects of global extractivisms and alternatives.
Opening Plenary: Roundtable Discussion
Performance: KO:MI - EXALT Symposium
Urbanity and Extractivisms (with Ali Almoghazy and Joe Collins)
Colonized By Data: The Costs of Connection (with Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejías)
Transitions to Alternatives
Arcanes of Terran Reproduction (a perfomance by Mirko Nikolic)
People's Sov Network
Global Extractivisms (with Julie Ann De Los Reyes, Anja Nygren and Natacha Bruna)
Indigneous Sovereignty, Modernity Projects and Alternatives (with Deborah McGregor)
(DE)NATURALISING EXTRACTIVISM: INVESTIGATING ITS SOCIAL ORDERS AND RESISTANCES
This event (held in 20-21. of October) was a collaboration between EXALT and two doctoral programs from the Faculty Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki to coproduce an online annual conference as a pre-conference to the EXALT Symposium 2020. EXALT's partners in the event were the doctoral programme in Social Sciences and the doctoral programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change.
Desrciption: The 7th Annual Conference for the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences & the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change explored the (de)naturalisations of extractivist practices. Extractivism refers both to material extraction of natural resources prevalent in industries such as mining and agribusiness, as well as old and new extractivist practices forming around e.g. data, cultures, knowledge, and bodies. We understand extractivism as inherently linked with the operations of capital, but also with the shaping of social processes. Our conference asked how extractive practices — and the industries and capital enacting them — are made out to be part of a naturalised and thus often invisible social order. The event also brought forth perspectives on how such naturalisations are resisted and deconstructed in diverse discourses and practices, in and beyond decolonial research and activism.
Cori Hayden Keynote
Degrowth and Post-Extractivism - a Good Life for All?
When? Friday June 5th at 14.00-15.30 EEST
Where? Online on Zoom.
Speaker: Dr. Marta Conde
The earth and all of its inhabitants are on a trajectory of cascading socio-ecological crisis driven by extractivist development and growth-centered economism. Like a snake eating its own tail, our progress-orientated and human-centered civilisation is built on the premise that there are no limits to growth. But rethinking growth and the current societal realities cannot be avoided anymore. Concurrent crisis such as the Climate Emergency are showing that the we are approaching the final frontiers of capitalist development. This realisation has given rise to calls such as “degrowth” and post-extractivism.
In this online seminar EXALT and HELSUS collaborated in bringing together Degrowth and steady-state economics with post-extractivism to seek alternatives for the current crisis-prone world-system. Through inclusive discussion the aim was to explore the possibilities of building ecological and economic systems which function within the regenerative capacity of the planet, while at the same time enabling a "good life for all".
This seminar was part of a wider Global Degrowth Day organized each year to unite diverse organizations and communities, which support the idea of degrowth and want to show that “A good life for all” is possible beyond economies built on growth and consumption. The seminar was a joint venture between the EXALT initiative and the HELSUS Global South Encounters seminar series.
About the speaker:
Bio: Marta Conde is a researcher at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona at the Department of Political and Social Sciences. She holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering (UPC), masters in Environmental Science (Birkbeck College, London) and a doctorate in Ecological Economics (UAB). Dr. Conde has previously worked as a researcher at Durham University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Conde's research focuses on the social reactions to the expansion of extractive industries at the commodity frontiers, where succesful contestations of the imperative of endless economic growth can have direct and positive impacts in the lives of these communities. Using political ecology, ecological economics and political economy Conde studies the the drivers, strategies and discourses of resistance movements to mining. Conde's other research interests include the interactions between science, activism and knowledge-creation by grassroots organisation, the use and expansion of the concept of environmental justice in the South and the link between resource extraction and economic growth.
Listen to the seminar-recording:
EXALT-presentation: "Global Extractivisms: Unpacking and broadening the concept"
The HELSUS Global South Encounters is a series of seminars and small talks intended to sharpen critical research in sustainability science. Recognizing the complexities and peculiarities of the Global South, these seminars engage mainstream sustainability science in order to transcend it, among others by decolonizing nature, economy, society and methodologies. The seminars aim to open up space to get prior feedback on a forthcoming talk, an ongoing dissertation, a draft article, and a variety of research from students at all levels, academics, and members of the general public. Encounters also welcome discussions on giving conference papers and celebrate/publicize published papers.
April 15th, at 13.00-14.30
Join the online-seminar via this link.
- Professor Barry Gills - professor of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and a founding member of the EXALT Initiative
- Saana Hokkanen - Research Assistant at EXALT
- Chair: Markus Kröger - Associate professor of Development Studies, University of Helsinki
The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) is a new international network of scholars, activists, and policymakers dedicated to collaboration and knowledge creation around the pressing crises stemming from extractivist policies and practices. This Initiative draws together diverse critical analyses of the phenomena of global extractivisms and the myriad alternatives being actively pursued in both theory and practice. This presentation aims to continue the discussion around extractivism and its alternatives, by offering a discussion-opener of critical and holistic understandings of extractivism as an organizing concept, beyond the conventional usage connected to natural resources. The presentation aims to explore the concept of “extractivism” via a range of social, cultural, and ecological perspectives.
Climate Emergency and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic
March 12, 2020
13 – 15 at the Think Corner Stage
Climate emergency is accelerating in the Arctic region at an alarming rate. It is impacting the fragile ecosystems and diverse linguistic and cultural communities. Rampant extractivism and its consequent ecological destruction are eroding nature as well as the cultural fabric of local Indigenous communities. Intensive extraction of natural resources is fueling the scramble for the Arctic and tying the area tightly to the capitalist world-system.
This panel discussion will tackle the situations of Indigenous peoples in the changing Arctic, how livelihoods have started to alter and what roles does extractivism play with its myriad of direct and indirect consequences for the well-being of the Arctic. The panel offers a forum for Indigenous representatives and researchers to offer insights on the complex entanglement of climate emergency, Indigenous peoples' sovereignty and Arctic extractivism. It also addresses the questions of future generations and the Anthropocene from the perspective of Arctic Indigenous peoples.
In the context of changing ecosystems and neocolonial practices taking place in the North, there is an urgent need for radical new governance models for the whole of Arctic. As Indigenous peoples hold environmental knowledge crucial for producing sustainable practices in the region, their knowledge is vital in creating new governance models and offering already existing examples of sustainable resource management in the Arctic.
- Leo Aikio - Elected Vice-president of the Finnish Sámi Parliament (saamelaiskäräjät) and a reindeer-herder from Inari, Sápmi
Dmitry Arzyutov - Researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
Atte Korhola - Professor of Environmental Change at the University of Helsinki
Panel host: Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen (Indigenous Studies, University of Helsinki)
The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT), the Indigenous Studies programme and ALL-YOUTH -research project funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC).
January 16, 2020, 13 – 15 at the Think Corner Stage
Earth is currently facing an unprecedented climate emergency, which has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. The need for deep and transformative action is urgent, and universities are in a key position to work as pioneers in sustainable climate action.
This brainstorming dialogue will feature 3 short talks (from a representative from the university management, a professor, and a student activist) and a facilitated panel discussion exploring questions such as: How could and should the University of Helsinki address the climate emergency? What can researchers, students and university governance do? What does a university as a climate actor look like?
University Management: Vice-Rector Tom Böhling
Professor: Dr. Barry Gills, Development Studies
Student Activist: Laura Kolehmainen, founder of Ilmastoveivi and Climate Move, student of politics and law
Facilitator: Dr. Ossi Ollinaho, HELSUS and EXALT
The aim of the event is to offer a forum to discuss and reflect on the university's own position as part of a currently unsustainable society, but also to tap into its potential in countering the climate emergency and finding solutions toward a sustainable future with a focus on developing the basis for concrete proposals for action by the University.
The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).
The event at the Think Corner stage is open for all with no registration. If you are planning to join us from 15 – 16 for Coffee/Conversation at the HELSUS Hub Lounge (Porthania 2nd floor, Yliopistonkatu 3), please fill in this e-lomake to let us know. We ask for registration so we can order an appropriate amount of coffee and reduce any potential waste.
We hope to see you on January 16 to discuss this important and timely topic!