Du Bois Review Issue 13.2

Race and Environmental Equity

Over the past two decades, a large body of evidence shows that environmental factors are strongly associated with a wide range of social, educational, developmental, psychological, and health outcomes.  Though W.E.B. Du Bois’s work is rarely seen as a foundation for this expanding area of research, over 145 years ago Du Bois combined archival records, Census statistics, interviews, and observations to examine the social conditions that shaped the behavior and health of Philadelphia residents.  The Philadelphia Negro (1899) is a classic study in which Du Bois showed how slavery, unequal economic power, and frayed racial relations strongly influenced crime, educational outcomes, and other social problems.

Guest edited by David T. Takeuchi (Boston College), Lisa Sun-Hee Park (UC-Santa Barbara), Yonette F. Thomas (American Association of Geographers), and Samantha Teixeira (Boston College), this issue of the Du Bois Review (13.2) acknowledges and builds on the seminal impact of Du Bois’s legacy and presents the range and depth of research on race and environmental equity.

Read the introduction to the issue.

Read this issue online.

“Critical Environmental Justice Studies (CEJ) draws from the work of scholars across numerous fields that only periodically intersect, such as Environmental Justice Studies, Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Feminism, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Political Ecology, Anti-Authoritarian/Anarchist Theory, and Ecological feminism. …CEJ Studies is interdisciplinary, multi-methodological, and is activist-scholar inspired, (bridging boundaries) between the academy and community, theory and practice, analysis and action.” —David N. Pellow

“[T]his  study  employs a  unique  combination  of  multilevel,  longitudinal  data  to  examine  the  long-term  dynamics  of  environmental  inequality from  1990  to  2009,  focusing  on  racial  and  ethnic  disparities  in  exposure  to  neighborhood  air pollution  and  their  micro-  and  macro-level  determinants  over   time. …(We find) that this environmental inequality operates down to the Census block level and across several distinct types of pollution, with Black and Latino individuals exposed (at levels)…significantly higher than those experienced by Whites.” —Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, Kyle Crowder, Anjum Hajat, and Victoria Sass

“Our theoretical framework posits lead toxicity as a major environmental pathway through which racial segregation has contributed to the legacy of racial inequality in the United States. Our findings support this hypothesis and show alarming racial disparities in toxic exposure. But at the same time, our longitudinal results show the power of public health policies to reduce racial inequities.” —Robert J. Sampson and Alix S. Winter

“[W]e focus on the lived experience of a generation of African American coal miners and their families who migrated into and out of central Appalachia during the twentieth century Great Migration. [T]heir subjectivities were largely conditioned in and through their relationship to the landscape and environment. …This changing “landscape of meaning”—referring to historically specific and particular landscapes upon which the social emerges—is expressed, refashioned, and sustained through a variety of ongoing cultural formations and invented traditions….” — Karida L. Brown, Michael W. Murphy, and Apollonya M. Porcelli

“Our historical overview of Latino neighborhoods and park development in Los Angeles illustrates how the proximity of White neighborhoods to resources such as parks and beaches did not occur by chance.  Rather, city planners, politicians, and White residents intentionally excluded people of color from parks, playgrounds, and neighborhoods through various means…in order to preserve their power and wealth.” —Jennifer J. García, Gilbert C. Gee, and Malia Jones

PLUS: David T. Takeuchi, Lisa Sun-Hee Park, Yonette F. Thomas, and Samantha Teixeira; Amy J. Schultz, Graciela B. Mentz, Natalie Sampson, Melanie Ward, Rhonda Anderson, Ricardo de Majo, Barbara A. Israel, Toby C. Lewis, and Donele Wilkins; Stephen P. Gasteyer, Jennifer Lai, Brittany Tucker, Jennifer Carrera, and Julius Moss; Emily Walton and Mae Hardebeck; LeConté J. Dill, Orrianne Morrison, and Mercedez Dunn; Rashawn Ray, Dana Fisher, and Carley Fisher-Maltese; and Carla O’Connor


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