Advancing Critical Climate Change Studies: Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Black Geographies Specialty Group, Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Washington 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Dean Hardy, Benjamin Warner
Chairs: Dean Hardy


Session Description
Research on vulnerability to environmental and climatic change has shown that marginalization and disproportionate suffering occurs across categories of social difference such as gender, race, class, and other axes of social difference. Feminist theory on intersectionality offers a framework for examining such multidimensional problems via interrogating structural and institutional systems of oppression, but “issues of equity and intersectionality are largely absent from [climate change] literature” (Terry 2009 in Kaijser & Kronsell 2014; though see Sultana 2014 for an example where it is included). Class, with its long history of theorization in geography, has been shown to structure differential social vulnerability along lines of market access, capital and property ownership, and structural changes within economies (Sugden 2009, Warner et al., 2018). And while geographers have started building substantive theory on race (e.g., Woods 1998, Gilmore 2002, McKittrick 2006, Kurtz 2009), we still have much work to do (Pulido 2018). Identifying intersections of class and race in environmental racism, Pulido has argued that “environmental racism is constituent of racial capitalism” (Pulido 2017, 524). Both Pulido (2017) and Kaijser & Kronsell (2014) highlight the production of social (racial/gender/class) difference as an ongoing process and a place to intervene and create social transformation.

In this session, our goal is to engage in a critical assessment of the institutions that perpetuate vulnerability under changing climates and work toward identifying a “pathway that stays clear of traps of essentialisation [to enable] solidarity and agency across and beyond social categories” (Kaijser & Kronsell 2014, 417). We hope this session reveals how social categories are reinforced through structural institutions, but also how those can be challenged, resisted, and transformed, under the realities of climate change. We seek papers that build on this rich body of work to advance “critical climate change studies” on vulnerability at the intersections of race, class, and/or gender. While we recognize that not everyone doing critical climate change studies is taking an intersectional approach, we also invite scholars working on these topics individually with the hopes that this session will spur conversation, dialogue, and even collaborations that lead to doing intersectional work.

Gilmore, R. W. 2002. Fatal Couplings of Power and Difference: Notes on racism and geography. The
Professional Geographer 54 (1):15–24.

Kaijser, A., and A. Kronsell. 2014. Climate change through the lens of intersectionality. Environmental
Politics 23 (3):417–433.

Kurtz, H. E. 2009. Acknowledging the Racial State: An agenda for Environmental Justice research.
Antipode 41 (4):684–704.

McKittrick, K. 2006. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis
& London: University of Minnesota Press.

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

Pulido, L. 2018. Geographies of race and ethnicity III: Settler colonialism and nonnative people of color.
Progress in Human Geography 42 (2):309–318.

Sultana, F. 2014. Gendering Climate Change: Geographical Insights. The Professional Geographer 66 (3):372–381.

Sugden, Fraser. 2009. Neo-Liberalism, Markets and Class Structures on the Nepali Lowlands: The Political Economy of Agrarian Change.” Geoforum 40.4. 2009: 634–644.

Terry, G. 2009. No climate justice without gender justice: an overview of the issues. Gender &
Development 17 (1):5–18.

Warner, B. P., Childers, D. L., Kuzdas, C. and Stocks, G. 2018. Smallholder Adaptation to Drought in Costa Rica's Crony Capitalist Rice Economy. Development and Change. doi:10.1111/dech.12420

Woods, C. A. 1998. Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Paul O'Keefe*, Rutgers University, "A dialectical framework for exploring climate change and agrarian change: using Harvey’s ‘Moments’ in rural Tanzania 20 5:00 PM
Presenter Anna Erwin*, Purdue University, Glenn Arce Larrea, Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa, Jonathan Bauchet, Purdue University, Zhao Ma, Purdue University, Ruxandra Popovici, Purdue University, Nelly Ramírez Calderón, Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa, Patricia Salas O’Brien, Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa, Laura Zanotti, Purdue University, Eliseo Zeballos, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Jorge Zegarra López, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Social-ecological Change and Intersectional Adaptation in Arequipa, Peru 20 5:20 PM
Presenter A.R. Siders*, Harvard University, Social (in)justice in coastal relocation 20 5:40 PM
Presenter Monica Barra*, University of South Carolina, Inequality, justice, and the politics of making "good" coastal science 20 6:00 PM

To access contact information login