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Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences

2014 Annual Meeting

June 11-14, 2014 in New York, NY U.S.A.


Conference Theme:

“Welcome to the Anthropocene:  From Global Challenge to Planetary Stewardship



Call for Proposals


We are pleased to announce that the 2014 annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) will be held on June 11-14, 2014 at Pace University in New York City, NY. We invite your participation.


Please note that we are departing from past practice and issuing only one call for proposals.


We invite proposals for individual abstracts for individual paper and poster presentations, as well as workshops, discussion symposia, full panels, and mealtime roundtables in which all (or a substantial number of) scholars have already agreed to participate (see descriptions below). AESS will make every effort to group individual presentations together as thematic sessions.


Proposal deadline EXTENDED: February 18, 2014


The theme for the conference is “Welcome to the Anthropocene: From Global Challenge to Planetary Stewardship.”  This theme focuses on the argument advanced by many environmental scholars that Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene (the recent age of humans). Proponents of this theory contend that humans have become a global geophysical force capable of disrupting the grand cycles of biology, chemistry and geology by which elements like carbon and nitrogen circulate between land, sea and atmosphere. This disruption is resulting in profound alteration of the planet’s climate, serious threats to a large array of species and critical ecosystems and conversion of fertile lands to desert. 

The conference theme will allow AESS to showcase its interdisciplinary strengths on this vitally important topic.  Questions to be explored include:
  • What are the roles of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in helping to confront planetary threats posed by anthropogenic activities and to develop a sustainable future?
  • How can creative interdisciplinary linkages help us address profound environmental challenges e.g. climate change, ocean acidification, and species extinctions?
  • How do we address planetary-scale challenges at the local, regional, and international levels?
  • What should the dialog with our students and the general public look like in discussing anthropogenic impacts on the planet? How do we balance the need to discuss profoundly serious threats with the need to offer hope?
  • What pedagogical approaches are most effective in discussing these issues?
  • How can we partner with communities, governments, NGOs, the media, to generate more effective frameworks and solutions to addressing planetary challenges? Can we showcase innovative case studies and partnerships to highlight what’s working—and importantly—what’s not working?

As always, we invite proposals that speak to the conference theme or otherwise advance the mission of AESS: to encourage interdisciplinary approaches to environmental research, teaching, and problem-solving.


We encourage you to organize a session: get a group together, decide on a session theme and title, write the proposal, and submit it to us. 

If you have an idea for a session but are having trouble finding like-minded people, we encourage you to use the AESS Listserv (or any other listserv or professional networking venue). Share your idea, have people contact you, and organize your session. 


There are six categories of proposals: 
  • Individual Paper Presentations
  • Full Presentation Panels
  • Discussion Symposia
  • Mealtime Roundtables
  • Workshops
  • Poster Presentations

Individual Paper Presentations

An individual paper proposal is appropriate for those wishing to share the results of research or pedagogical or program innovations.  Abstracts should describe the research or innovation concisely, explain briefly why it is of interest to AESS members, and describe the methodology in sufficient detail so that readers can understand what you did. Abstracts should be written for a broad, multidisciplinary audience; keep technical language to a minimum.

A paper proposal must contain:
  1. Paper title
  2. Presenting author’s name, affiliation, and contact information
  3. Co-authors’ name, affilliation, and contact information 
  4. Abstract (in 300 words or fewer)

Full Presentation Panels

A presentation panel proposal must have a partial (at least 2) or full set (3-4) of participants. We particularly encourage sessions that include multiple disciplines, professions, and perspectives. Presentation panels are designed for presentation of research or other scholarly AESS-related endeavors. When filled, they consist of 3-4 presenters who are each allotted approximately 20-30 minutes (including presentation and discussion).  Presentation panels are 1.5 hours in length, and will take place on June 12, 13, and 14 in parallel with symposia and other presentation panels.   

A panel proposal must contain:
  1. Panel session title
  2. Organizer’s name, affiliation and contact information
  3. Chair, who facilitates the presentation and who may or may not be the same person as the organizer
  4. Proposed theme and justification (in 300 words or fewer)
  5. A list of confirmed participants and their presentation titles 
  6. Individual abstracts for each participant (each should be 300 words or fewer)

It is the responsibility of the panel organizer to make sure that all speakers register for the conference. The organizer is also responsible for coordinating the panel members before the conference to ensure coherence. The chair, in consultation with panel members, can adjust overall presentation and discussion times.

For partially full panels, the AESS Program Committee will populate the panel up to a maximum of four (4) presenters.

Discussion Symposia

Discussion symposia are designed for focused discussion on important questions of interest to the AESS membership.  The topic, for example, might be one that could be used to generate a post-conference working group, follow-up discussions using the Listserv, articles in AESS’s journal, or follow-up sessions at next year’s conference.  Examples from previous years have included the role of theory in ESS, interdisciplinarity, and capstone experiences.  Playing off of the original ancient Greek symposia, the emphasis is on in-depth intellectual exchange. Opening remarks are appropriate but it is not expected that participants will deliver a formal presentation. Discussion symposia are 1.5 hours in length, and will take place on June 12, 13, and 14 in parallel with presentation panels and other symposia.

Discussion symposia consist of up to 4 participants and must be fully organized in advance. In only rare cases will the Program Committee add a member to a symposium. 

A symposium proposal must contain:
  1. Symposium title
  2. Organizer(s) name, affiliation and complete contact information
  3. Moderator, who facilitates the discussion and who may or may not be the same person as the organizer
  4. Proposed theme and justification (in 300 words or fewer)
  5. A list of confirmed participants. 

Individual abstracts from the speakers are not required. The critical elements of a symposium proposal are the theme and justification and corralling a group of confirmed participants. It must be made clear why the topic and group warrant the time block offered by the symposium format. 

If your discussion symposium is accepted, it is the responsibility of the symposium organizer to make sure that all speakers register for the conference. 

Mealtime Roundtables

Mealtime roundtables are designed to foster informal discussion around a topic of general and collective interest to the AESS community. Roundtables are scheduled during mealtimes on June 12 and 13, either breakfast or lunch, at a designated location in conference dining venue. Because of the time limits associated with mealtimes, all roundtables will be one hour in length (however, they may continue formally or informally beyond the designated roundtable period). 

Roundtable proposals are contingent only on the strength of the central idea being proposed for discussion and the willingness of the submitter to facilitate the discussion. We will only accept roundtable proposals that include one or more confirmed facilitator. 

A roundtable proposal must contain:
  1. Roundtable title
  2. Organizer/facilitator’s name, affiliation and contact information
  3. Roundtable leader, who facilitates the discussion and who may or may not be the same person as the organizer
  4. Proposed theme and justification (in 300 words or fewer)


Workshops differ from symposia and panels in having a formal educational or professional development component that involves clear goals and learning outcomes, as well as appropriate teaching methods.  Content may include presentations, discussions, exercises, formal training, assigned pre-conference readings, or other methods of promoting heuristic goals.

Workshops will be held Wednesday, June 11. They are either half-day (3-hour) or full-day (6-hour) duration. Half-day workshops will be scheduled during either the morning (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) or afternoon (1:00 – 4:00 pm). Full-day workshops will occupy both the morning and afternoon time slots divided by a one-hour lunch break. 

A workshop proposal should contain sufficient detail to justify the length of time participants will commit to this session.  The proposal must cover:
  1. Workshop title
  2. Length (half-day or full-day)
  3. Organizer’s name, affiliation and contact information
  4. Proposed theme, justification, and description (in 1000 words or fewer).  Description should include:
    o An outline of goals and learning outcomes, and, if appropriate, plans for communication of results
    o An outline of the progression of topics and types of learning activities or teaching methods
  5. A list of confirmed workshop leaders and a sentence or two about their qualifications and proposed role in the workshop

Although no abstract is required of individual workshop presenters, all workshop leaders must register by the conference’s early registration deadline or the workshop may be canceled. 

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations are designed for the presentation of research or pedagogical or program innovations in a less formal and more interactive way than a formal panel.  Effective posters focus on the main points of the research (the question, key findings, basic methodology); the main value of the session is the dialog between presenter and session attendees.  Presenters should be prepared to be present for the whole 90-min session. The poster session will be held in the afternoon of Friday, June 13.  Participants should prepare poster. Easels, thumb tacks, etc. will be provided.

Addressing AESS themes

Sessions that directly address the conference theme will be designated with a special logo in the final program. It is not a requirement that all sessions address the theme. However, if your session is designed to respond to the theme, please include this in your submitted proposal. If approved by the Program Committee, the logo will be attached to your session when it is listed in the final program. 

We also welcome proposals that address race, ethnicity, class, or gender inequalities. If you indicate that your proposal speaks to these issues, a logo will be attached to your session in the listing in the final program. 

AESS is proud of its breadth. To continue our efforts to reach out, we encourage session proposals that:
  • combine scholars from multiple disciplines—physical and natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts
  • are submitted by students, faculty, or administrators
  • bring together theorists and practitioners
  • blend those who work in government, business, foundations, and other areas of society
  • are organized by or include presenters from a diversity of racial, ethnic, and international backgrounds
  • are organized by or include practicing artists
  • enhance conference participants’ awareness of a sense of place—in the case of the AESS 2014 conference in New York City, this means that we encourage proposals with a geographic focus on New York and the surrounding region.

To submit a proposal, please click here:

Upon receipt, the AESS Program Committee will review your proposal. To increase the probability that it will be accepted, please consider the following criteria:
  • Inclusion of participants from multiple disciplines, sectors, professions, or perspectives
  • Scholarly and professional merit
  • A clear connection to the mission and goals of AESS and the broader environmental studies and sciences professional community.

Individuals may submit up to three proposals. 

In order to be included in the 2014 AESS conference program, all organizers of accepted proposals and their invited speakers and attendees must be registered and be paid in full by the early registration deadline [to be announced]. Proposals from participants who don’t comply with this rule may be dropped from the conference program. While we do not require that you be a member of AESS in order to submit a proposal, we strongly urge you to consider becoming a member.  Membership information may be found at

AESS and the 2014 AESS conference organizers are not responsible for obtaining funds to support speaker or participant travel to the meeting, and cannot guarantee that any support will be available. 

If you have questions, please contact Kim Smith, chair of the AESS Program Committee, at