Stefania Barca

19 October 2021

ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2021

contact: stefania.barca@geo.uu.se

Stefania Barca came to Uppsala as our fourth Zennström Professor in Climate Change Leadership, a scholar in Environmental History and Political Ecology.

Photo Mikael Wallerstedt

During her time in Uppsala Stefania Barca brought a strong commitment to questions of climate justice to her work. Recognising the privileged positioning of her professorship within the climate change conversation, a key focus of her activities lay on elevating diverse ways of thinking about climate change. Counter-hegemonic narratives on climate change have been converging in recent years through the global climate justice movement and include, but are not limited to, the perspectives of rural; black, indigenous and other people of colour (BIPOC); women, and LGBTQI+ persons. Taking an approach to climate change leadership that was intersectional and inclusive, foregrounding the struggles, experiences and visions of different peoples emerged as a priority. Her professorship taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic which spotlighted the global care crisis, researching the nexus between care, climate and justice also emerged as a defining interest of her professorship. Stefania takes up her new position at the University of Santiago de Compostela we look forward to seeing how this research develops in connection to a Horizon 2020 research grant on Just Transition to the Circular Economy (Just2CE).

There were two key points of exploration during Stefania’s time at Uppsala University;

  • Decentering and Decoloniality – Approaches to Climate Justice Conversations and;
  • The Just Transition and Care Initiative – A Feminist Political Ecologist approach to the Just Transition movement.

Download the report about Stefania’s time as Zennström Professor here:

Theme 1 : Decentering and Decoloniality – Approaches to Climate Justice Conversations

Approaching Climate Change Leadership within the framing of Climate Justice and with a Decolonial lens was an important focus for Stefania Barca, the fourth professor in Climate Change Leadership. Decolonisation in the context of academia and higher education includes but is not limited to; acknowledging the knowledge systems and practices still structured by imperial enterprises; acknowledging the harm implicit within these historical power differences and; opening pathways to dialogue, repatriations and diverse knowledges. It was termed by indigenous scholars and is increasingly called for in universities around the world. The decolonial process is complex and crucially, must go beyond metaphorical and isolated acts. Decentring in turn, is a preliminary but important step within decolonial approaches, creating space for meaningful decolonial work to become visible. The initiatives undertaken at Climate Change Leadership this year hence reflect only small steps in decentring that form part of a larger process interwoven with the climate justice movement.

There were two strands of activity within this agenda.

  • A webinar series that platformed the stories of climate change leaders and environmental defenders from the Global South.
  • A webinar series known as The Living Library which explored different methods for hosting conversations between artists, researchers and activists gathered around climate justice.

You can find more resources about Climate Justice here

Theme 2: The Just Transition and Care Initiative

The Just Transition Care Initiative is the title given to a new research initiative founded by Dr. Barca during her term as Zennström Professor in collaboration with UNRISD’s Just Transition Research Collaborative and Latinamerikagrupperna (LAG). It aims to establish a discussion space about the relationship between care and  the politics of Just Transition. 


Just Transition (JT) is a policy framework promoted by labour and environmental justice organisations to design climate policies from the perspective of those most affected by both environmental and economic inequalities. The framework indicates how to compensate for the necessary phasing-out of carbon-intensive industries while also responding to the most urgent and vital needs of front-line communities, by creating decent, stable and community-driven jobs in clean energy and infrastructures. The Just Transition concept has been incorporated in International Labour Organisation (ILO), the European Union, and other governmental  strategies for decarbonisation.The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has called attention towards the multiple forms of care work (paid and unpaid) that are needed to re/produce healthy bodies, societies and ecosystems, and that otherwise go  unrecognised, under-valued and undermined in many countries. Further, the pandemic has shown that care for people and for the planet are crucially interconnected through the production of food, calling attention towards the need for supporting food sovereignty and agroecology. Yet, a full recognition of the role of social and environmental care work to the Just Transition agenda is still largely missing.

You can read a background to the Just Transition movement here

As a crucial platform for demanding socially just climate policies, Just Transition can benefit from the production of new knowledge and policy recommendations for care-centred strategies. The Just Transition Care Initiative intends to make these first steps.

The JTC initiative will develop through interactions between academic researchers and  stakeholders (including workers’ representatives, activists, and community-economy actors), over the course of  five webinars from June 2021 and April 2022. Each webinar will address a different aspect of the covid-climate-care nexus through the experiences and perspectives of different stakeholders, with academics playing the role of facilitators and active listeners. 

Where agreed upon by speakers, the webinars may be recorded and made accessible to other interested parties. Language interpretation will be provided as needed.

Based on the knowledge co-created through the webinar series, academics will formulate a public statement or policy recommendation document that will be shared with stakeholders at the end of the process.


Coordination Team
Stefania Barca, Uppsala University
Laila Mendy, Uppsala University
Isabel Baudish, Uppsala University
Oscar Barajas, Latinamerikagrupperna
Dunja Krause, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
Edouard Morena, University of London Institute in Paris
Dimitris Stevis, Colorado State University

Advisory Group
Seema Arora-Jonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Elena Baglioni, Queen Mary University of London
Keri Facer, University of Bristol
Sherilyn MacGregor, The University of Manchester
Naomi Millner, University of Bristol
Nora Räthzel, Umeå University
David Uzzell, University of Surrey
Bregje van Veelen, Uppsala University

Network members and invited speakers (continually updated)
Selma James, Global Women Strike
Leddy Mozombite, Domestic Workers’ Federation of Peru
Roberto Sciarelli, Italy’s Commons Network
Katherine Isaac, Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute


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