Contemporary Feminisms: Ecofeminisms

 

The panel addresses various ways that feminist scholars are addressing questions related to the environment, ecology, and environmental justice while also showing how these issues play an important role in current feminist thinking and organizing.

Shannon Bell, Virginia Tech: Fighting Fire with Fire: Fossil Fuel Industries and the Gendering of Public Relations Strategies

The environmental and public health risks associated with fossil fuel industries have been met with increasing citizen resistance in recent years. As partnerships between grassroots environmental justice movements and scientists have demonstrated links between the extraction of fossil fuels and negative health outcomes in nearby communities, citizen groups’ claims of injustice have gained legitimacy and power, threatening the hegemony that fossil fuel industries have long enjoyed, whereby their “pass” that they have received to externalize their environmental and public health costs onto people and communities is being contested. How have these industries sought to retain power and dominance in the face of these challenges? Through employing a gendered, Gramscian analysis of the public relations strategies of the coal, oil, and natural gas industries, this project examines the counter-tactics deployed by these industries in their endeavor to remain hegemonic over environmental justice movements. Findings suggest that a key industry response is appropriating the very identities of their fiercest opponents: concerned women and mothers.The environmental and public health risks associated with fossil fuel industries have been met with increasing citizen resistance in recent years. As partnerships between grassroots environmental justice movements and scientists have demonstrated links between the extraction of fossil fuels and negative health outcomes in nearby communities, citizen groups’ claims of injustice have gained legitimacy and power, threatening the hegemony that fossil fuel industries have long enjoyed, whereby their “pass” that they have received to externalize their environmental and public health costs onto people and communities is being contested. How have these industries sought to retain power and dominance in the face of these challenges? Through employing a gendered, Gramscian analysis of the public relations strategies of the coal, oil, and natural gas industries, this project examines the counter-tactics deployed by these industries in their endeavor to remain hegemonic over environmental justice movements. Findings suggest that a key industry response is appropriating the very identities of their fiercest opponents: concerned women and mothers.

Stephanie Buechler, University of Arizona: Agriculture and Renewable Energy under Environmental Change: Emerging Areas in Ecofeminist Research and Practice

This talk will address Ecofeminisms within emerging, intersecting challenges related to urban and rural agriculture, renewable energy, water and climate change. Findings will be presented from two current, multi-method research projects that I lead with small teams of applied scholars and students working with community associations, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Field sites for one of the projects are located in food desert and other low-income neighborhoods in the city of Tucson, Arizona in the semi-arid Southwest U.S. Field sites for the second project are located in urban and peri-urban Tucson, as well as the rural community of Cascabel, Arizona and in semi-arid Zacatecas state in northern Mexico. Local initiatives related to increasing the sustainability and accessibility of agriculture were examined for all of these locations with a special focus on women-led activities and changemaking projects. The wider policy context in which these initiatives are inserted was also examined. Analyses of these issues are advanced through such lenses as feminist political ecology, urban political ecology and social and environmental justice.

Stephanie Buechler is an Assistant Research Professor of Environmental Policy, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona. Dr. Buechler is an ambassador for Oxfam’s ‘Sister on the Planet’ gender and development initiative, and a former gender researcher for the International Water Management Institute. Dr. Buechler teaches and mentors students in the Master’s in Development Practice program housed within the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. Dr. Buechler’s applied research focuses on the intersections of gender, urban, peri-urban and rural agricultural production and processing, food security, renewable energy, adaptation, migration and livelihoods in semi-arid regions of Latin America, Asia and North America. Her publications include a book edited with Anne-Marie Hanson, entitled: A Political Ecology of Women, Water and Global Environmental Change, 2015, Routledge.

Sonya Posmentier, New York University: Of Generations and Survival: Audre Lorde’s Ecofeminist Practices of Disaster

This talk will bring together two strands in Audre Lorde’s thought to consider how her queer feminist theories of repetition and generation produce practices of survival in the context of environmental disaster. In her 1973 poem “Blackstudies,” a poem which, she said, “came out of my experience as a teacher,” Caribbean-American poet Audre Lorde overlaps an intimate narrative of childbearing with the more public space of the classroom “on the 17th floor,” and the more public spaces still of institutional conflict and change. 15 years later, having moved to St. Croix, Lorde maintained her preoccupation with teaching and learning during her last months of life. After surviving Hurricane Hugo in 1989, she wrote (again) of the necessity of learning for survival, this time in the context of ecological change. In the wake of winds, floods, and federal neglect, Lorde posits alternative modes of sociality, economy, kinship, and environmental care, offering a Black feminist model for thinking through recursive problems of social and environmental violence.

Sonya Posmentier is assistant professor of English at New York University. Her first book, Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2017. She has published essays in American Literature, American Quarterly, the Blackwell Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, Race and Real Estate, and The New York Times Book Review.

 

Date/Time
Date(s) - Jan 24
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location
Kirkland Room, EUC

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