Institute for Social Ecology Newsletter: Winter 2019





The Institute for Social Ecology has had an exciting summer and fall full of events! Here’s a short update on some of our recent and upcoming activities, including the relaunch of Harbinger: A Journal of Social Ecology, our various online courses – including a new seminar on Frankfurt School Critical Theory, information about our next in-person Intensive in June, and updates from our staff and faculty.

Recent and Upcoming Events

2019 Summer Gathering. Our 2019 Gathering in Marshfield, Vermont once again brought together over 60 people to discuss social ecology in relation to a variety of topics, including disability justice, animal liberation, agriculture, racism, localism/confederation, and contemporary global movements. Comrades from Cooperation Jackson joined us for an inspiring presentation on their movement for democracy in Mississippi. If you couldn’t make it, you can watch all the panels via our YouTube channel.

ISE Online Courses: We’ve had fantastic fall sessions for all three of our online courses, Ecology Democracy Utopia: An Introduction to Social Ecology, Rethinking Social Transformation, and Understanding Antisemitism. If you missed them, we’ll offer most of them again in late spring (dates TBA). And in February, we’re rolling out a brand-new course on Frankfurt School Critical Theory, the rich yet challenging body of ideas that has been foundational to social ecology. This seven-week seminar will introduce participants to the core concepts, thinkers, and texts of this tradition – Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man, and more – and explore their continued relevance for a variety of contemporary political and theoretical questions. All our classes are also available in a self-directed format that can be started at any time – write us to enroll today!

After three amazing events on the west coast, we’re heading back east for our next Social Ecology Intensive: June 15-20 at the Watershed Center in Millerton, New York. Our Intensives bring together ISE faculty, local activists and scholars, and participants from around the world for a week of classes, workshops, and field trips that explore social-ecological transformation in theory and practice. It is always an inspiring experience of radical education, political strategizing, and utopian envisioning – share the word, bring your crew, and join us!

We’re happy to announce the online relaunch of long-running ISE publication Harbinger: a Journal of Social Ecology! From its inception in the early 1980s to its last few issues in the 2000s, Harbinger has provided a space for analysis and exploration of practical and theoretical questions relevant to social ecology. Our inaugural online issue features eight exciting original contributions on a wide range of topics spanning state theory, plant bioacoustics, Jordan Peterson, disability and ecology, and direct democracy in Fiji. We are now accepting submissions for our second issue, themed on social ecology and race/racism, broadly construed. We are proud to continue this legacy of collective reflection on the struggle for a free and ecological society, and we hope you will join us in this endeavor.

After two years of work supported by the ISE, the inaugural Symbiosis Congress of Municipal Movements took place in Detroit, Michigan in September, successfully launching a new network dedicated to building radical democracy across North America. If you haven’t checked out this exciting project yet, you can check out reports from the Congress here, here, here, and here.

Our blog has recently featured a lovely new illustrated pamphlet on social ecology by former student Emily McGuire, an original essay exploring indigenous forms of direct democracy in Fiji by Glenn Hall, a commentary on ideological affinities between ecofascism and primitivism, and a report on a talk on the Kurdish movement by Dilar Dirik at the recent Transnational Institute of Social Ecology conference in Athens, Greece. If you missed them the first time around, be sure to give them a read.

ISE Board & Faculty News

Brian Tokar and co-editor Tamra Gilbertson submitted the manuscript for their new book, Climate Justice and Community Renewal, an international collection of grassroots climate responses with contributions from Bolivia, Puerto Rico, India, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, Canada and the U.S. that will be published by Routledge next spring. Brian also gave the closing keynote lecture at the 5th conference of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology in Athens, Greece in October – watch his talk on Social Ecology and Climate Justice here. In mid-September, Brian also participated in a launch and panel discussion at the New School in NYC on the book Globalism and Localization: Emergent Approaches to Ecological and Social Crises, to which he contributed a chapter.

Grace Gershuny will speak on a panel on Climate Change & Food Security with Joseph Kiefer and Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman December 10th at the Garage Cultural Center, in Montpelier, VT. The 3rd Edition of her book Organic Revolutionary will be available soon from Black Rose Books. ISE co-founder Dan Chodorkoff’s second novel Sugaring Down will be published by Fomite Press in 2020. Blair Taylor’s chapter “Alt-Right Ecology: Right-Wing Environmentalism and Ecofascism in the United States,” was published in the anthology The Far Right and the Environment: Politics, Discourse and Communication (Routledge 2019), and his co-authored article “Antisemitism and the Left” will also soon be published in Theory in Action: Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute. Board members Katie Horvath and Mason Herson-Hord will both have articles in the upcoming ROAR Magazine special issue on dual power, and Mason’s article “Wither the State” appeared in the first issue of Harbinger.

In addition to teaching the ISE online seminars Rethinking Social Change and Understanding Antisemitism, Robert Ogman recently had two articles published in Haaretz: “A neo-Nazi Massacre of German Jews on Yom Kippur Was Averted – This Time,” and “When a white supremacist murdered Muslims, Jews were blamed. How did that happen?” His article “Ethical capitalism” in the city: Embedded economy or marketization?” appeared in the Journal of Urban Affairs. In November, he was invited to give a lecture titled “Far Right Parties in Austria and Germany are making anti-Semitism acceptable again” at Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany.

ISE faculty member Peter Staudenmaier delivered the lecture “From Fascist Italy to the Alt-Right: Julius Evola and the Revival of Radical Antisemitism” at the “Contending with Antisemitism in a Changing Political Climate” conference at Indiana University in March. He also organized the panel “The Politics of Alternative Agriculture and Natural Foods in the Twentieth Century” at the American Society for Environmental History conference at Ohio State University in April; his contribution covered “The Politics of Organic Agriculture in Interwar Germany: From Nature to Nation.” His article “Racial Ideology between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: Julius Evola and the Aryan Myth, 1933 – 1943” was published in the most recent issue of Journal of Contemporary History.

For more information or to register for any courses or events, please contact us at: If you appreciate the Institute’s work, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation here.

Until next time, stay connected with the ISE through our website, Facebook, Harbinger, and Twitter!

Institute for Social Ecology