Dr. Schwartz is a qualitative social scientist working in the interdisciplinary field of political ecology. She is currently writing a book on the politics of implementing large-scale ecosystem restoration in the Everglades. The project draws on ethnographic research conducted since 2010 and supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Florida. Her first book, Nature and National Identity after Communism: Globalizing the Ethnoscape (Pittsburgh 2006), explores the interweaving of discourses of nature and nation through case studies of nature management policy conflicts in post-Soviet Latvia. She has published articles in Environment and Planning A, Environmental Politics, Political Geography, Cultural Geographies, East European Politics & Societies, and Comparative European Politics. Her earlier research was supported by ACLS, Fulbright-Hays, IREX, and the MacArthur Global Studies Consortium. She received her doctorate in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001.

Project Summary

This project investigates the world’s most ambitious ecosystem restoration program. The Everglades program seeks to mitigate damage to natural systems and urban water supply caused by decades of flood control and agricultural pollution and exacerbated by climate change. Despite broad stakeholder consensus and billions spent since the 1980s, program implementation has been maddeningly slow and ecosystem decline continues apace. Drawing on ethnographic and historical research conducted over three years, this project explores the political, institutional and biophysical complexity that produces this gridlock, focusing on four intersecting dynamics: stakeholders’ competing land-use claims and restoration visions, intergovernmental tensions, the pursuit of technical solutions to avoid confronting powerful interests, and nature’s capacity to undermine those solutions. Informed by theories of antipolitics, hydraulic society, and nature’s agency, the project helps fill a gap in governmentality studies by examining not only the genealogy, rationale and techniques of state improvement schemes, but also the challenges of implementation.

Major Publications

“Panther Politics: neoliberalizing nature in southwest Florida.” Environment and Planning A 45, 10 (2013): 2323-2343.

Nature and National Identity after Communism: Globalizing the Ethnoscape (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006).

“‘The Occupation of Beauty’: Imagining Nature and Nation in Latvia.” East European Politics and Societies 21, 2 (2007): 259-294