EASLCE’s Webinar on Environmental Justice, Narrative, & (Ethnic Minority) Literature


Time and Date:  20 April 2023, 16:00 CEST / UTC+2; Dr. Isabel Pérez Ramos (University of Oviedo; GIECO-Instituto Franklin-UAH)

Photo: Maick Maciel

The environmental crisis (from pollution and toxicity to the effects of climate change—and everything in between) does not affect every place and everyone (thinking of all life forms, human and otherwise) equally. Environmental justice, as an activist practice and academic field, analyzes the different levels of responsibility of human actors, as well as the multiple factors resulting in unequal socio-ecological degradation. It moreover explores and develops coping and countering mechanisms. In this context, other than discussing the current state of the field, we will focus on how narrative and literature (and particularly ethnic minority literary works) have been common means to expose, reflect upon, and counter these inequalities. By way of example, we will discuss the project “Toxic Bios” as well as Chicanx and Latinx environmental justice perspectives and practices, inviting comparisons with other literary and cultural contexts relating to the participants’ research interests.

When preparing for the webinar, please consider the following questions:

1. Which term better represents your research interests and why: environmental justice, socioenvironmental justice, ecological justice, climate justice, species justice, or other? (If you are not familiarized with any of these concepts, please look them up before the webinar)

2. Has your understanding of environmental justice changed after reading the selected bibliography, or have the readings added any nuances to your previous understanding?

3. Think of an example of an environmental injustice / an environmental justice campaign in line with Pellow’s critical environmental justice perspective (Pellow 2018, see required readings/sources) – what defines such a particular example as CEJ?

4. How do literature and narrative more generally contribute to exposing and countering environmental injustices?

5. Reflect upon the similarities and differences between personal narratives (e.g. toxic bios—see required readings/sources) and fictional narratives when it comes to communicating environmental injustices and mobilizing other social or political actors.

6. Does (ethnic minority) literature with an environmental justice take present any specific characteristics?

Participants are expected to share their answers to these questions throughout the webinar.

Required readings / sources:

Pellow, David N. “Critical Environmental Justice Studies.” What is Critical Environmental
Justice. Polity Press, 2018, pp. 1-33.

Toxic Bios http://www.toxicbios.eu/#/intro Please have a look at the short
introductory video (under the toxic media tab—available in several different
languages); and read the really brief toxic manual (under the toxic bios tab—
available in English & Italian). Read/watch any of the testimonies—available in
different European languages; the transcription of José Luis Conejero’s toxic bio
(located in Barcelona, north-eastern Spain), is in English.

Wald, Sarah D., David J. Vázquez, Priscilla Solis Ybarra, and Sarah Jaquette Ray.
“Introduction: Why Latinx Environmentalisms?” Latinx Environmentalisms: Place,
Justice, and the Decolonial, edited by Sarah D. Wald et al., Temple University Press,
2019, pp. 1-31.

Additional optional readings:
Pérez-Ramos, M. Isabel. “Breaking the silence: The strange case of an eco-cosmopolitan
Chicana detective.” International Journal of English Studies IJES, vol. 22 (1), 2022,
pp. 63–79. Online ISSN: 1989-613. DOI: 10.6018/ijes.477221.

Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew. “‘Just as in the Book’? The Influence of Literature on
Readers’ Awareness of Climate Justice and Perception of Climate Migrants.” ISLE:
Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment vol 27, no 2 (2020), pp. 1–28.
DOI:10.1093/isle/isaa020.

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EASLCE’s Webinar on Environmental Justice, Narrative, & (Ethnic Minority) Literature


FURTHER READING

Ecozon@

Ecozon@ is a journal devoted to the relatively new field of literary and cultural criticism called ecocriticism. Ecocriticism can be broadly defined as the study of the representations of nature in cultural texts, and of the relationship between humans with other earth beings and their environment as seen in cultural manifestations. 

ARCADIANA

Arcadiana is a blog about the environment in literature and culture. It is hosted by postgraduate members of the European Association for Literature, Culture and the Environment (EASLCE).