National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
This seminar presents ongoing qualitative research on the politics of implementing the world’s largest ecosystem restoration program in the Everglades, where flood control and agricultural pollution have gravely imperiled natural systems and urban water supply. Despite broad stakeholder consensus on restoration strategies and billions spent since the late 1980s, implementation has been maddeningly slow and ecosystem decline continues apace. Dr. Schwartz explores the sociopolitical, institutional, and biophysical complexity that produces this gridlock, focusing on four intersecting dynamics:
- competing stakeholder claims and entitlements to flood protection and water supply,
- intergovernmental tensions,
- a tendency to pursue technological “silver bullets” rather than confront powerful interests, and
- nature’s capacity to undermine those solutions.
Katrina Schwartz served on the political science faculty at the University of Florida from 2003–2014, was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute in 2002–2003, taught at Penn State University in 2001–2002, and received her PhD in political science in 2001 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her primary research interests are in environmental politics. She is currently writing a book on the politics of implementing ecosystem restoration in the Florida Everglades, which is a departure from her previous geographic focus on the former Soviet region. Her first book, Nature and National Identity after Communism: Globalizing the Ethnoscape (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006), explores the interweaving of discourses of nature and nation through case studies of nature management and rural development policy conflicts in Latvia. She has published articles in journals including Environment & Society A, Environmental Politics, and Political Geography. She is a collaborator with the NSF LTER program for the Florida Coastal Everglades, and her research has been supported by grants from NSF, the University of Florida, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright-Hays, IREX, and the MacArthur Global Studies Consortium.