Fellows in the News

2017 Fellow Lauren Richter just received the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) student paper competition award for 2018. 

Her article, "Constructing Insignificance: Critical Race Perspectives on Institutional Failure in Environmental Justice Communities" was published in the journal Environmental Sociology in 2017. 

Environmental justice (EJ) literature rarely offers an explicit theory of race to explain processes of disparate environmental exposure and recourse in non-white and low-income communities. Failing to do so, analyses of environmental inequality risk eliding a central driver of environmental racism. Based on a case study of a contested birth defect cluster in California, this article traces the ways in which the evidence of environmental health harms are rendered conceptually invisible by the institutions mandated to protect public health and the environment. Turning to a theoretical model of contested illness mobilization, I demonstrate the value of critical race perspectives to clarify the production and maintenance of intersecting, cumulative harms without recourse in communities of color. Centered on racially veridical analyses, EJ scholarship can more precisely analyze the recalcitrance of dominant group interests. Ultimately, this enables theorization of the distinct landscape of exposure and recourse in subaltern versus favored bodies and space.

Read more (open access)


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