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Dissertation Workshop

We are thrilled to introduce a dissertation chapter workshop to this year’s Nature-Society Workshop! We invite advanced doctoral students to submit a well-developed draft for one hour of focused, small-group discussion. The objective of the workshop is to enable students to receive valuable feedback on their work in progress from faculty and students based at other institutions. This opportunity will be just as valuable for students whose work is not being workshopped, as they will develop assessment skills that are essential to the peer review process and that will helpfully inform their own research and writing.


Dissertating students will submit their chapters to the participating faculty in their department. Those faculty will then review the submissions and select up to two papers to workshop. Selected chapters must be sent to Kim Thomas ( by Friday, September 8th to be included. Chapters should:

  • Be sufficiently developed to provide a basis for discussion, but not so polished as to not benefit from feedback
  • Be relevant to the interests of the NSW
  • Speak to faculty expertise from other institutions
  • Be 8,000 to 10,000 words long

The workshop organizers at Temple will then match the chapters as closely as possible to the research interests and expertise of faculty at institutions different from the department where the student resides.

Six concurrent workshop sessions will be held twice on Saturday morning. This provides 12 spaces that we will aim to distribute evenly across the institutions. Everyone in the workshop will read TWO chapters. Faculty will be assigned papers, but other participants can sign up to read the papers of their choice. Space in each room is limited, so you’ll want to reserve your spots before spaces fill up. We will post chapters no later than Friday, September 15th so that everyone has at least two weeks to read the papers before the workshop.

You can find the room assignments for each chapter below:

Room Session 1 (9:30-10:30am) Session 2 (11am-12pm)
Mazur 23 Claudia Diaz-Combs (Syracuse)
From Repression to Resistance: Water Politics and Environmental Social Movements in El Salvador – Introduction to the Dissertation
Karan Misquitta (Penn State)
An Aquifer of One’s Own: Atomized irrigation, peasant proprietorship, and the popular hydrogeology of volcanic rock aquifers
Mazur 24 Laura Landau (Rutgers)
Ideology in Action: The Politics of COVID-19 Mutual Aid in New York City
Maddy Kroot (Clark)
Making the Energy Connection: A Review of the Geographies of Energy Transmission
Mazur 25 Matt Marcus (Temple)
To climb or to fell? A critical physical geography of the palm swamps of Loreto, Peru
Liz Reidman (Temple)
Stories of Greening: The Women Building Philadelphia’s Green Spaces
Mazur 26 Julia Wagner (Clark)
Performing Publics: Shifting Interests in Urban Real Property as Climate Finance
Phil Campanile (UC Berkeley via SUNY-Buffalo)
Lake Levels & Wetlands: Steady State Ecologies & the Precursors to Coastal Resilience
Mazur 27 Dominic Wilkins (Syracuse)
Gardens and Growing Things
Asif Mehmood (SUNY-ESF)
Order#628: Legal geographies of coal power at Sahiwal
Mazur 28   Alex Liebman (Rutgers)
Popular illegalisms and experimentations at the plantation interface: Towards a political ecology of smallholder marijuana production in the norte del Cauca, Colombia
Peer Review Guidance

Recognizing that many readers will be relatively new to the peer review process, we post below Kim Thomas’s guidance to students for reviewing research papers. Feel free to use these questions to organize your thoughts and to formulate comments that will support the development of each dissertation chapter.

Carefully evaluate the structure, content, and rationale of another student’s research paper. Preface your review with a discussion of the paper’s strengths, using the questions below to organize your feedback. Use the list of questions as a guide for thinking through the essential components of the paper. Focus your comments on the questions that will provide the most helpful feedback and that will enable the author to best address the paper’s weaknesses.

• What did the author do particularly well?
• What were the strongest elements of their paper?

• Is the significance of the issue readily apparent?
• Are the research questions clearly stated and relevant to the main issue?
• Does the author make a reasonable case for why these questions are important and worthwhile?
• Are the hypotheses reasonable given the information provided?
• Did the author use appropriate evidence throughout (emphasis on primary literature, with limited reliance on media pieces and little to no use of Wikipedia or similar Internet sites)?

• Did the author situate their ideas within the literature? i.e. do the questions, hypotheses, and methods have a clear foundation in existing research?
• Are the conclusions cogently argued? Does the argument follow from the evidence provided?
• Did the author explain how this specific research project relates to the broader issue(s) s/he identified at the outset? i.e. does s/he connect the findings from the specific researchable question(s) to the bigger picture?

• Is the text free of major grammatical errors?
• Is the paper well organized? (e.g. headings, sub-headings, parallel structure)
• Is the writing clear and accessible?
• Do the author’s ideas flow from one to the next?
• Did the author exercise a unique voice or engaging writing style?

Final assessment
• Given your analysis of the above points, what is your overall impression of the paper?