Social Science Through a Multispecies Lens

Monday 7 September 2020
1.00 - 2.30pm

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Online Event (Zoom)


School of Social and Political Sciences

As environmental crises intensify and we confront the political, social, economic and cultural impediments to addressing them, environmental scholarship has moved from being the preserve of the natural sciences and into the heart of the social sciences.

Social scientists offer critical insights into how our politics, economics and cultures affect the environment, and in turn, how environmental changes are impacting all aspects of our collective lives. By observing and analysing how different groups organise for change, social scientists also provide important insights into how we can better effect comprehensive political, social, economic and cultural transformation.

In this discussion, we reflect on what it would mean for humans to reshape how we understand ourselves and our world, and how to live together with each other and beings other than humans in ways that might sustain life and promote an ethical future. Coming on top of the ongoing climate catastrophe, COVID-19 has awoken increasing numbers of people to the reality of our entanglements in, and reliance on ‘the environment’.

Our panel of environmentally-oriented social scientists will show how they seek to make a difference to the environmental crises unfolding around us. Expect them to connect COVID-19, capitalism, colonialism, BLM, environmental and climate justice movements. There will be time for audience Q&A after the discussion.


Danielle Celermajer is a Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her research stands at the interface of theories exploring the multi-dimensional nature of injustice and the practice of human rights, focusing on the relational intra-space between human and non-human animals. Along with her multispecies community, she has recently lived through the NSW fires, writing in the face of their experience of the “killing of everything”, which she calls “omnicide”.

David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations, Payne-Scott Professor, and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. He has nearly three decades of experience in environmental justice, which is often understood as the experience of slow, ongoing, relentless damage to everyday lives and communities.

Dinesh Wadiwel is lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, and Director of the Master of Human Rights, with a background in social and political theory. He has had over 15 years of experience working within civil society organisations, including in anti-poverty and disability rights roles.

Christine Winter is a lecturer in the Department of Government & International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses at the intersection of intergenerational, indigenous and environmental justice. She is the Research Lead on The Re-(E)mergence of Nature in Culture.

This event is part of the Social Sciences Week Australia series hosted by the School of Social and Political Sciences.