Franz Fanon poignantly argued that trauma is both an act and a memory of wounding that haunts subjects of violence. Addressing geographies of trauma, and the way that trauma is treated in the discipline of geography, is a matter of both theoretical and practical importance for critical human-environment scholars. However, discussions about uneven and ongoing geographies of trauma and violence – particularly in ways that enroll researchers themselves as agents within these landscapes – have been limited among political ecologists. When broached, these conversations are sometimes short-circuited by post-racial liberalism, whiteness or Eurocentricity, and academic respectability politics. This risks the continuance of logics that separate "researchers" from "communities" and lionize representational commitments to justice over material practices of transformation. In this article, we interrogate some of the theoretical and personal implications for political ecologists working with the legacies of dispossession, disruption, displacement and death. We draw on a wide collective of scholarship on haunting, hope, and geographies of trauma as well as our current work as geographers and educators. In the process, we build an argument for an approach that encourages unsettling, uncomfortable, and generative conversations about and beyond trauma. We end with three suggestions for engaging more substantively with the traumatic fallout that has long been at the center of political ecology.
Keywords: care, Black geographies, healing, hope, Indigenous Studies
How to Cite:
Moulton, A. A. & Velednitsky, S. & Harris, D. M. & Cook, C. B. & Wheeler, B. L., (2021) “On and beyond traumatic fallout: unsettling political ecology in practice and scholarship”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1), p.677–695. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.3051