Ecocultural workshop celebrates Dietz, Kalof retirement

CSIS co-sponsors the two-day workshop Innovations in Human Ecology: Looking Back and Moving Forward Oct. 17-18.

Portraits of Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz

In celebration of the retirement of Tom Dietz and Linda Kalof, the Sociology Department is hosting a two-day workshop on ecocultural studies Oct. 17-18 at the Kellogg Center 105AB.

The event will kick off with a breakfast welcome at 9 a.m. with remarks from Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, and director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS). Dietz is a member of CSIS, which is a sponsor of the event.

Event Schedule Oct. 17

Event Schedule Oct. 18

In 2003, Tom Dietz and Linda Kalof were hired at MSU’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.

Significant work emerged from this group on how animals and environmental factors influence human behaviors, such as recognizing the role of animals in history, the role of underlying human values but also of social structural forces in shaping ecosystem change, and how companion animals influence crucial decisions such as those to leave relationships where there is domestic violence. This work has been characterized by a dual commitment to quantitative and qualitative approaches. It has also employed an empirical research approach that takes seriously both critical realist and social constructionist paradigms.



Did you find this article useful?