CALL FOR ABSTRACTS for the Workshop Transitions in Water-/Energy-/Food-Infrastructures

Vrije Universiteit, Friday 1 November 2019

A collaboration of the Environmental Humanities Center and Amsterdam Sustainability Institute

Global climate change requires far-reaching transitions of water-, energy-, and food-infrastructures. We conceptualize these three transitions as situated on a continuum of timescales. On one side, on the long term, is (the prevention of) climate change (through energy transitions for example), on the opposite side are the short-term issues like natural disasters (where we aim at mitigation of impacts in the present). In the middle, the food transition is situated, which is (often) concerned with adaptation on the medium term.

While such transitions are often perceived as technologically challenging, they also concern overcoming behavioral, societal, and cultural burdens.

The workshop Transitions in Water-/Energy-/Food-Infrastructures aims to bring together a diverse audience of graduate students and other scholars in order to investigate and discuss how the humanities, social and environmental sciences can be bridged to reflect on the transitions needed to cope with global warming and to devise manners to enhance and operationalize them. By bringing together experts in the field and students and junior researchers from various scientific fields, the workshop particularly aims to compare and discuss research on perceptions of transitions and how differences in perceptions influence actions adapting to or mitigating climate change.

The workshop will have introductions by experts on the topic of transitions. In the morning and afternoon, participants have ample opportunities to present their work and exchanges results and ideas.

We welcome (maximum) 300-word abstracts for presentations (20 minutes long, including 5 minutes of discussion), including three keywords. A maximum of three references may be included.

Examples of research questions for your presentation:

  • What are transitions, how do they come about and how do we manage them? (Rotmans, 2017)
  • What are ethical and other philosophical questions regarding transitions? What are our obligations to future generations? (Davidson, 2008)
  • How can we model patterns for future transitions?
  • How do human-environmental interactions lead to transitions in /water/energy/food regimes?
  • How do we manage transitions in order to reach a more resilient society, and what is the role of societal stakeholders in this process?
  • How can we change human perceptions and emotions to identify with transitions?
  • How can we make imaginaries about the past, the present and the future, based on art, literature, and history, to inspire people to work on transitions? (Ritson, 2018)
  • How can we get academic research results to politicians and other decision takers?

Who can apply:

  • Research master students, PhD students, early career scholars, and all scientists interested or working in water-food-energy transitions


  • Publication of the (edited) abstracts on
  • A selection of articles will be published in a scholarly journal


Please send your abstract to before the 1st of July 2019. Include: your full name, institutional affiliation, email address, title of abstract, abstract of max. 300 words.

Recommended literature:

  • Davidson, Marc D. “Wrongful harm to future generations: the case of climate change.” Environmental Values (2008): 471-488.
  • Eyre, Nick, et al. “Reaching a 1.5 C target: socio-technical challenges for a rapid transition to low-carbon electricity systems.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 376.2119, 2018.
  • Hawken, Paul, ed. Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Penguin, 2017.
  • Hawken, Paul, ed. Drawdown – Het meest veelomvattende plan om klimaatontwrichting te keren. Uitgeverij Mauritsgroen.Mgmc, 2018.
  • Loorbach, Derk, and Jan Rotmans. “Managing transitions for sustainable development.” Understanding industrial transformation. Springer, Dordrecht, 2006. 187-206.
  • Ritson, Katie. The Shifting Sands of the North Sea Lowlands: Literary and Historical Imaginaries. Routledge, 2018.
  • Rotmans, Jan. Omwenteling: van mensen, organisaties en samenleving. Singel Uitgeverijen, 2017.

Organising committee:

Prof. dr. P.J.E.M. van Dam, Dr. S.J. Kluiving FGW/Environmental Humanities Center

Dr. F.K. Boersema, FSW/Institute for Societal Resilience

Dr. T.I.E. Veldkamp, MSc., FSc/Institute for Environmental Studies


Joëlle Koorneef, student-assistant of the Environmental Humanities Center Contact:

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