For all its ‘extraordinary vitality’ (Peet and Watts, 1993:242), the origins and development of Third World political ecology remain poorly understood. Scholars adopting a political ecology perspective have rarely paused to consider the history of the field or its disciplinary location. Rather, the emphasis has been on the empirical application of a broadly defined political economy to the political and ecological problems of the Third World. Yet to understand the significance of research in any field of inquiry is partly to appreciate the development of that field. This chapter presents an overview of the origins and development, disciplinary location and approaches to Third World political ecology.