School of Social and Political Science

Grace Garland

Job Title

PhD: In Search of Responsible Environmental Political Theory

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I am exploring ways of doing and thinking about environmental political theory, an exciting field at the intersection of political science and environmental ethics. I argue that this intersection - I use the metaphor of a "confluence" - between political and environmental thought is what makes the field both challenging to work in, but also highly promising for thinking through the many deep crises of the 21st century. I critique some key literatures, including climate justice, as being ecologically naive, partly as a result of anthropocentrism and conservatism. I go on to defend Plumwoodian ecofeminism as a standout example of getting the environmental-political confluence right, insofar as it is able to both articulate ways of overcoming structural exploitation among people (and is thus animated by a political agenda) while also framing its critique as a fundamental challenge to the hegemonic separation of humans from nature. In the course of this discussion, I explore challenges to delivering on the promise of the environmental-political confluence, not just in terms of research methodology, but also in terms of the theorist's role as pedagogue and activist. I find that the emergent literature calling itself multispecies justice offers attractive and appropriately radical pathways for doing so in ways that are politically and ecologically responsible. 


Dr Elizabeth Cripps (Politics), Dr Mathias Thaler (Politics), and Dr Matthew Chrisman (Philosophy)


Garland, G. (2017) 'Economic growth and progress: A paradigmatic conflation', African Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 11 No. 2, February 2018, 77‑95.


BA: History, Film studies (University of Cape Town)

BA (Hons): History documentary film-making (University of Cape Town)

Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE): History and english literature (University of Cape Town)

Master of business administration (MBA) (University of Stellenbosch Business School)

Master of applied ethics (MA): Environmental ethics (University of the Witwatersrand)


Introduction to Ethics tutor (University of the Witwatersrand 2018)

History of Western Philosophy tutor (University of the Witwatersrand 2019)

Political Thinkers tutor (University of Edinburgh 2021)


Graduate fellow of CRITIQUE (Centre for Ethics and Critical Thought)

Edinburgh Political Theory Research Group


A.W. Mellon Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities 2009-2011

Director's Award for Best MBA Student 2017

Mark Leon Award for Best Philosophy Tutor 2019

Alice Brown Part-Time PhD Scholarship 2020-2026

Research interests