Where's the Justice? Critical Approaches to Environmental Justice Research II: Governance, Risk, and Toxins

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Black Geographies Specialty Group, Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Rampart, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Organizers: Dean Hardy, Ellen Kohl
Chairs: Ellen Kohl


In the 30 years since the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice published their transformative report, “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States” (UCC 1987), scholars have pushed for more engagement with critical theory, in particular critical race and feminist theories (Heiman 1996; Pulido 2000; 2015; 2017a; 2017b; Stein 2004; Pellow 2005; 2016; Holifield et al. 2009; Brahinsky et al. 2014). Despite the successes of the Environmental Justice movement at raising awareness of—and at times mitigating—disproportionate exposure to environmental toxins across gender, race, and class in the United States and beyond, it has not yet succeeded at meaningful transformative change within the social and cultural institutions that perpetuate such disparities (Pellow 2016). With the election of the US’s “first white president” (Coates 2017), the importance of a Critical Environmental Justice approach becomes more urgent to challenge the practices of a racial state and the motivations of white supremacy. As a discipline intimately entangled with defining and practicing Critical Environmental Justice to affect transformative social change, there is still much to be gained from critical engagement with gender, human/non-human relations, and overcoming the still “impoverished nature of geographer’s study of race” (Pulido 2017:1). In this session, we hope to move this conversation forward with papers that explore, conceptualize, and theorize Critical Environmental Justice Studies.

Brahinsky, R., Sasser, J., Minkoff-Zern, L.A., 2014. Special issue on “Race, space, and nature: an introduction and critique.” Antipode 46 (5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/anti.12109

Coates, T. 2017. The first white president. Atlantic Monthly (October):74–87. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/.

Heiman, M. (ed.). 1996. Special issue on “Race, waste, and class: New perspectives on Environmental Justice.” Antipode 28 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.1996.tb00517.x

Heynen, N. 2016. Urban Political Ecology II: The abolitionist century. Progress in Human Geography 40 (6):839–845. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0309132515617394.

Holifield, R., 2009. Actor-Network Theory as a critical approach to Environmental Justice: A case against synthesis with Urban Political Ecology. Antipode 41 (4), 637–658. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2009.00692.x

Holifield, R., M. Porter, and G. Walker (eds.). 2009. Special issue on “Spaces of environmental justice: Frameworks for critical engagement.” Antipode 41 (4). http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2009.00690.x

Pellow, D. N. 2016. Towards a critical Environmental Justice studies: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental Justice challenge. Du Bois Review 13 (2):221–236. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742058X1600014X.

Pellow, D. N., and R. J. Brulle. 2005. Power, justice, and the environment: Toward critical environmental justice studies. In Power, justice, and the environment: A critical appraisal of the environmental justice movement, 1–19.

Pulido, L. 2000. Rethinking environmental racism: White privilege and urban development in southern California. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 90 (1):12–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0004-5608.00182.

Pulido, L. 2015. Geographies of race and ethnicity 1: White supremacy vs white privilege in environmental racism research. Progress in Human Geography 39 (6): 809-817. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132514563008

Pulido, L. 2017a. Geographies of race and ethnicity II: Environmental racism, racial capitalism and state-sanctioned violence. Progress in Human Geography 41 (4): 524–533. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132516646495

Pulido, L. 2017b. Geographies of race and ethnicity III: Settler colonialism and nonnative people of color. Progress in Human Geography. http://dx.doi.org/doi/10.1177/0309132516686011.

Stein, R. (ed.) 2004. New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

UCC. 1987. Toxic wastes and race in the United States: A national report on the racial and socio-economic characteristics of communities with hazardous waste sites. New York, NY: United Church of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice. https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1310/ML13109A339.pdf.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Ember McCoy*, University of Michigan, The Political Ecology of Air Pollution Regulation & Monitoring 20 3:20 PM
Presenter Travis K Bost*, University of Toronto, Nuisance and other "truths" about nature in the ideological management of whiteness 20 3:40 PM
Presenter Cristina Faiver-Serna*, , Tianna Bruno, University of Oregon, Back to “Sound Science”: Racialized Expendability at the Hands of the “Corporate-State” 20 4:00 PM
Presenter Clare Cannon*, UC Davis, Applying intersectionality theory to environmental inequality outcomes: A critical analysis of interactive effects of race, class, and gender on all landfills across the United States 20 4:20 PM
Presenter Richard Milligan*, Georgia State University, Dean Hardy, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, Taylor Hafley, University of Georgia, Steven R. Holloway, University of Georgia, Socio-Ecological Segregation in Atlanta’s South River Watershed: Race, Income, and Environmental Injustice in one of the United States’ largest Black Suburbs 20 4:40 PM

To access contact information login