Oct 13: Open lecture “Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes” with Julie Klinger

Warmly welcome to an exciting and important open lecture with Julie Klinger “Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes”

When: October 13 kl. 10.15-12.00

Where: Room Norrland 2, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, see map here: https://link.mazemap.com/gtvjRzAn

Julie Michelle Klinger (she/her) holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware and Associate Director of the Minerals, Materials, and Society Program. Focusing on the dynamics of global resource frontiers and space-based technologies with particular emphases in China, Brazil, and the US, Dr. Klinger has conducted extensive ethnographic, qualitative, and quantitative fieldwork over the past 15 years. She has published numerous articles on rare earth elements, natural resource use, environmental politics, and outer space. Her 2017 Book Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes was awarded the Meridian Book Prize for its “unusually important contribution to the art and science of geography.”

Dr. Klinger’s global research agenda consists of three distinct yet interlinked initiatives: critical minerals supply chains, global space politics, and rural and Indigenous community survival strategies.

The first initiative is situated at the intersection of technology-critical minerals, environment, and society. In collaboration with diverse stakeholders, Dr. Klinger’s current work focuses on characterizing the environmental, social, and climate impacts of rare earth and other critical mineral supply chains, from extraction to disposal, to accelerate a just transition to a low-carbon future. She is a member of the US delegation to the International Standards Organization Technical Committee 298, which is tasked with developing transparency and sustainability standards for rare earth mining and processing. Dr. Klinger is the Principle Investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded project Characterizing the Global Illicit Trade in Energy-Critical Materials using Machine Learning, Remote Sensing, and Qualitative Research.

The second initiative has followed rare earth elements from extraction to the satellites and satellite-linked technologies for which they are crucial, with particular attention to the use of these technologies by countries in Africa and Latin America, and among Indigenous communities living on the front lines of global change. Rather than viewing outer space as too remote for daily concern, Klinger’s research illuminates the environmental geopolitics connecting human-environment relations within and beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

The third initiative is informed by Dr. Klinger’s observation that large-scale resource extraction and space infrastructure construction has proceeded at the expense of already-marginalized communities, often costing them their lives and ancestral lands. With her students and research partners, Dr. Klinger collaborates with communities living in the shadow of current and former mining and space infrastructure sites as well as remote Indigenous and nomadic communities.

Dr. Klinger’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Irmgard Coninx Stiftung, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative, and the Boston University East Asian Career Development Professorship. She is the current associate director of the Minerals, Materials, and Society Program at the University of Delaware, and previously served as the co-director of the Land Use and Livelihoods Initiative at the Global Development Policy Center.