Racial Ecologies

Edited by Leilani Nishime and Kim D. Hester Williams

  • Published: July 2018
  • Subject Listing: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Environmental Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 11 bandw illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

From the Flint water crisis to the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, environmental threats and degradation disproportionately affect communities of color, with often dire consequences for people's lives and health. Racial Ecologies explores activist strategies and creative responses, such as those of Mexican migrant women, New Zealand Maori, and African American farmers in urban Detroit, demonstrating that people of color have always been and continue to be leaders in the fight for a more equitable and ecologically just world.

Grounded in an ethnic-studies perspective, this interdisciplinary collection illustrates how race intersects with Indigeneity, colonialism, gender, nationality, and class to shape our understanding of both nature and environmental harm, showing how and why environmental issues are also racial issues. Indeed, Indigenous, critical race, and postcolonial frameworks are crucial for comprehending and addressing accelerating anthropogenic change, from the local to the global, and for imagining speculative futures. This forward-looking, critical intervention bridges environmental scholarship and ethnic studies and will prove indispensable to activists, scholars, and students alike.
LeiLani Nishime is associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. She is the author of Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture. Kim D. Hester Williams is professor of English at Sonoma State University. The contributors are Sunny Chan, Yu-Fang Cho, Zoltán Grossman, Dominique Bourg Hacker, Stephen Nathan Haymes, Tiffany Jeannette King, Dian Million, Curtiz Marez, Catalina Maíre de Onís, Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, Jessi Quizar, Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Min Hyoung Song, Julie Sze, and Erica Tom.

"An important contribution to the fields of critical race studies, Indigenous studies, and environmental justice studies."
-Neel Ahuja, author of Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species

"This groundbreaking project centers on how the neglect of certain communities (like Flint, Michigan, and the Standing Rock Sioux community) reflects the ways in which racial difference is produced and, in turn, reinforces logics and practices that support environmental racism and environmental injustice more broadly. . . . Very impressive."
-David Pellow, author of Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement

"The authors in this wonderful volume make an utterly compelling case for why ecological discussions can no longer be taken seriously if they do not center race, indigeneity, and coloniality. This is a powerful and important book that should be read by everyone concerned with how to understand and address the ecological crisis that is upon us."
-Claire Jean Kim, professor of political science and Asian American studies, University of California, Irvine

"This scintillating collection surveys the emergence of radical new ways of connecting the degradation of the environment to struggles for racial justice. Ranging boldly across countries and continents for its objects of study, Racial Ecologies reveals how contemporary social movement mobilizations and works of expressive culture resonate with a fundamentally new sensibility. The impassioned and insightful chapters in this book demonstrate that the creation of bold new relations between humans and the natural world requires coming to grips, at long last, with deeply entrenched and long established patterns and practices of racialized suppression and oppression."
-George Lipsitz, author of How Racism Takes Place