Happy Earth Day! We’re pleased to share our latest scholarship in environmental studies—we hope it helps to educate and inspire action around some of the most pressing problems facing our planet today. Learn more about this year’s Earth Day campaign: ending plastic pollution.
In Fractivism, Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking and the ways scientists and everyday people are coming together to hold accountable an industry that has managed to evade regulation. A call to action, Fractivism outlines a way forward for not just the fifteen million Americans who live within a mile of an unconventional oil or gas well, but for the planet as a whole.
Environmental Humanities is a peer-reviewed, international, open-access journal. The journal publishes outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship that draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other, and with the natural and social sciences, around significant environmental issues. Environmental Humanities has a specific focus on publishing the best interdisciplinary scholarship; as such, the journal has a particular mandate to publish interdisciplinary papers that do not fit comfortably within the established environmental subdisciplines and to publish high-quality submissions from within any of these fields that are accessible and seeking to reach a broader readership. Read the journal here.
In A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry offer design principles for creating syllabi that will help students navigate a wide range of topics, from food, environmental justice, and natural resources to animal-human relations, senses of place, and climate change.
“Autonomia in the Anthropocene,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, explores challenges posed to radical politics by an era of anthropogenic global change. Informed by new sites of struggle around extraction, waste, rising seas and toxic landscapes, and by new indigenous and worker movements, the issue rethinks key concepts in the autonomist lexicon — species being, the common, multitude, potentia, the production of subjectivity — in an effort to generate powerful analytical and political resources for confronting the social and ecological relations of informationalized capitalism.
Matthew Vitz’s new book A City on a Lake tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality.
In Landscapes of Power, Dana E. Powell examines the rise and fall of the controversial Desert Rock Power Plant initiative in New Mexico to trace the political conflicts surrounding native sovereignty and contemporary energy development on Navajo (Diné) Nation land. Powell’s historical and ethnographic account shows how the coal-fired power plant project’s defeat provided the basis for redefining the legacies of colonialism, mineral extraction, and environmentalism.
Mikael D. Wolfe’s Watering the Revolution transforms our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were ecologically unsustainable, Wolfe tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.
Though the causes and effects of climate change pervade our everyday lives—the air we breathe, the food we eat, the objects we use—the way the discourse of climate change influences how we make meaning of ourselves and our world is still unexplored. Contributors to “Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, bring diverse perspectives to the ways that climate change science and discourse have reshaped the contemporary architecture of knowledge itself: reconstituting intellectual disciplines and artistic practices, redrawing and dissolving boundaries, and reframing how knowledge is represented and disseminated. The contributors address the emergence of global warming discourse in fields like history, journalism, anthropology, and the visual arts; the collaborative study of climate change between the human and material sciences; and the impact of climate change on forms of representation and dissemination in this new interdisciplinary landscape.
In Energy without Conscience David McDermott Hughes investigates why climate change has yet to be seen as a moral issue, examining the forces that render the use of fossil fuels ordinary and therefore exempt from ethical evaluation. He passionately argues that like slavery, producing oil is a moral choice and that oil is at its most dangerous when it is accepted as an ordinary part of everyday life.
We live in the age of extremes, a period punctuated by significant disasters that have changed the way we understand risk, vulnerability, and the future of communities. Violent ecological events such as Superstorm Sandy attest to the urgent need to analyze what cities around the world are doing to reduce carbon emissions, develop new energy systems, and build structures to enhance preparedness for catastrophe. The essays in “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet,” a special issue of Public Culture, illustrate that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters. The contributors provide a truly global perspective on topics such as the toxic effects of fracking, water rights in the Los Angeles region, wind energy in southern Mexico, and water scarcity from Brazil to the Arabian Peninsula.