I. Type of posts
The aim of Undisciplined Environments is to have a space outside the confines of the academe and its publishing houses to share, debate and critically reflect on research and activist experiences, observations, methodologies, publications, news, art, events, music and other themes and objects related to political ecology (see more in About the platform). We aim to offer accessible, engaging posts to a broad and diverse audience. Within these criteria, different types of posts are possible. A post can be a narrative related to your research, a reflection on an experience in the field, a political ecological analysis of current events, some more theoretical/philosophical musings, an interview, a book review, thoughts on a documentary or a film, a commentary on a museum exhibition, or a photographic essay. Posts can be collectively written as well, or they could take the form of a conversation. To organize these possibilities, we have seven general types of posts: short essays, long(er) reads, reviews, interviews, resources, events & calls, and art & multimedia.
- Short essays are the most common form we publish. They are short and sharp Political Ecology analysis, ranging from 1000 words to 1500 words
- Long reads are in-depth and detailed Political Ecology essays of between 2,500 and 3,500 words that either elaborate more on key concepts and theories, or narrate an engaging story.
- Reviews of political ecology books, films, and events (including scholarly, activist and hybrid events)
- Interviews with political ecology scholars and activists. These could be written, or in the form of video or an audio podcast.
- Resources are pedagogical and organizational materials such as syllabi, direct-action manuals, special issues, and other writings that are useful for practicing political ecology action and research. A typical post in this category will briefly present/ review one of these resources.
- Events & Calls are calls for papers (CFPs) for conferences, calls for participation in meetings, for protests, mobilizations and other direct actions, or for other events.
- Art & Multimedia are videos, podcasts, pictures, drawings, and other audio-visual formats and artistic forms of expression. They could include some accompanying text, but the main content is non-written.
Think about how you can get your reader to think in a different way, provoking them to write a comment to enter into a discussion or to ask questions. Contributions can also be organized into thematic Series focused on a specific topic. If you are interested in co-organizing such a Series, please contact the editorial collective for more details.
II. Post guidelines: format, style, images, hyperlinks, tags
Send your completed post to [email protected] (for authors who are not in touch with one of us directly), or to the email of the person you were first in contact with, who will then share it with the rest of the editing team. If any significant changes are made, the editing team will contact you; otherwise we will let you know when it is posted on the blog.
2. Post format and style
All blog posts need a short one or two-liner at the beginning to draw the reader in. The idea here is to concisely communicate the point of your text. The format should be normal paragraph style and italics. They should also include a 2-3 sentence (max) biography. This will appear at the end of the post.
Review your post, and see if a paragraph looks too chunky. If so, break it down into smaller paragraphs, maximum 3-4 sentences. Web readers are turned off by large blocks of text. Blockquotes can be inserted when citing texts, when it makes sense to make them stand out from the rest of the text.
In terms of language style, try not to be too “academicky”. In general, we are not in favour of citing more than handful of academic texts (with hyperlinks – see below); if you do this, contextualise the author and provide a link to their work. For example:
“As argued by environmental historian William Cronon in his now (in)famous essay The Trouble With Wilderness…”
To avoid “academicky” language, here are some tips adapted from The Conversation to keep in mind:
- Keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences.
- Less than 17 words per sentence on average.
- Eliminate acronyms.
- Avoid jargon.
- Avoid stringing together multiple prepositions.
- Don’t verb nouns.
For more tips on writing simply, see this post on Giorgos Kallis’s blog.
3. Images and image credits
Always include 3-4 images for a short essay, 5-6 for a long essay. This can be photographs you took or something you found on-line (diagram, graph, chart…). A video can also be embedded in the blog post, and so can audio (e.g. soundcloud). If you are using images that are not of your own making, make sure that you have obtained the permission to use them, or use images under a license that allows them to be shared and distributed freely (e.g., Creative Commons). If you do not have pictures of your own, Unsplash is a good repository of open access photos.
Send the person editing your post as high-quality images as possible, in .jpg format and as separate attachments. Refer to each image in text where you would like them to be inserted. You can also decide which of your images will be the featured image. The latter is the image that appears on the homepage of the blog alongside, it can be any image from the text or another image which is not in the text. If instructions are not given, the editor will insert images and select the featured image as they see fit.
Always include image credits. This is really important. These should appear below each image:
One phrase description. Source: ____.
The source should be hyperlinked (unless it’s a print source). No parentheses. Note the full stops.
Include hyperlinks in your posts if at all relevant (they almost always will be). Link to websites about key organisations, people, events, or sources you reference – you don’t have to go overboard, but do provide links where a reader may want more information.
As often as possible (if relevant), link to other posts from the Undisciplined Environments blog – it can be in response to something that someone else wrote, or as a contrasting viewpoint, etc. This will help reinforce links between what we are thinking and for readers to perhaps visit an earlier post they had not read.
We have the Facebook and Twitter feeds, but please repost blog entries on your personal social media sites. If you write about an organisation, a book, an exhibition, a documentary etc., share what you have written with them through email, twitter and other means – this helps us get the word out about what we are doing and to build a readership base.
Let’s try to read others’ posts consistently, and make meaningful comments when we can.
Also, invite other people to write something with us!
All articles published on Undisciplined Environments are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0