Chapter summaries
Chapter resources
     Chapter 1
     Chapter 2
     Chapter 3
     Chapter 4
     Chapter 5
     Chapter 6
     Chapter 7
     Chapter 8
          Books and Articles
     Chapter 9
     Chapter 10
     Bonus Chapter

Bonus chapter
About the author

Resources for Learning More about Social Movements and Culture

Chapter 8. Environmental Justice Ecocriticism: Race, Class, Gender, and Literary Ecologies

Books and Articles

Adamson, Joni. American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003. Best, most sustained example of environmental justice ecocriticism. Brings together literature, Native environmental racism issues, and cultural pedagogy for justice.

Bennett, Michael, and David W. Teague, eds. The Nature of Cities: Ecocriticism and Urban Environments. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999. Important collection that helps undermine the notion that nature somehow stops at the edge of cities. See especially essays by Wallace, Teague, and Bennett.

Carr, Glynis, ed. New Essays in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2000. See especially the essays by Sze on Karen Yamashita, Blend on Chicana writers, and Gaard on Linda Hogan and Alice Walker. Demonstrates the strong tendency in much recent ecofeminist criticism to align itself with environmental justice concerns.

Comer, Krista. Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Geography in Contemporary Women’s Writing. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. Works to lessen the grip of the “wilderness plot” and other elements of frontier mythology surrounding writers from the western United States, raising new questions about gender, race, and environment.

Cronon, William, ed. Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995. Sophisticated anthology treating environmental rhetorics in popular culture, science, the arts, and movements. See especially pieces by Cronon, White, Haraway, Spirn, Di Chiro, and Davis.

Deming, Alson, and Laurel E. Savoy, eds. The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2002. A rich anthology of writing from African Americans, Latino/as, Asian Americans, Native Americans, mixed race writers, and others who challenge the assumption that nature writing is white writing.

Faber, Daniel, ed. The Struggle for Ecological Democracy. Guilford, CT: Guilford Press, 1998. Excellent, important collection of essays rooting environmental cultural studies in political economy and the search for substantive democracy.

Gaard, Greta, and Patrick D. Murphy, eds. Ecofeminist Literary Criticism: Theory, Interpretation, Pedagogy. Champagne: University of Illinois Press, 1998. Wide-ranging collection that at its best brings questions of race, class, gender, colonialism, and nature to bear on key literary texts and literary critical questions. See especially pieces by Alaimo and Platt.

Gottlieb, Robert. Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement. Washington, DC: Earth Island Press, 1993. First book to fully weave worker safety issues and environmental justice concerns into a general history of U.S. environmentalism.

Guha, Ramachanda. “Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique.” Environmental Ethics 11, no. 1 (1989): 71–84. Classic statement of the dangers of wilderness purism when looked at from the perspective of Third World economic, political, and ecological realities.

Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference. London: Basil Blackwell, 1999. Harvey offers a reframing of historical-geographical materialism in light of issues of environmental justice and postmodern sociocultural conditions on a global scale.

Kollin, Susan. Nature’s State: Imagining Alaska as the Last Frontier. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Uses postcolonial and environmental justice theory to explore the gendered and racialized nature of eco-imperialism and social anxieties about nature, ethnicity, and national identity in the context of the Northern “frontier” of the United States.

Kuletz, Valerie. Tainted Desert. New York: Routledge, 1998. Excellent study of the environmental impact of nuclear testing and uranium mining on the cultures, peoples, and landscape of the U.S. Southwest.

O’Meara, Bridget. “The Ecological Politics of Leslie Silko’s Almanac of the Dead.”Wicazo Sa Review 15, no. 2 (2000): 63–73. Online. Insightful study of the links between environmental and social justice in Silko’s monumental novel.

Peet, Richard, and Michael Watts, eds. Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements. New York: Routledge, 1996. Collection of strong essays articulating complex Third and Fourth World critiques of and social movements against Western, capitalist, environmentally and socially destructive forms of so-called development.

Pellow, David, and Lisa Sun-Hee Park. The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Economy. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Important study extending analysis of the impact of environmental racism and injustice to immigrant workers of color in the high-tech industries of places like Silicon Valley.

Peña, Devon, ed. Chicano Culture, Ecology, Politics: Subversive Kin. Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 1999. Essays detailing interrelations between Chicano cultural/political struggles and environmental struggles around pesticides, pollution, toxics, land stewardship, and other concerns.

Pulido, Laura. Environmentalism and Economic Justice. Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 1996. Rich reading of Chicano and Hispano environmental/economic justice movements in terms of material processes and culture.

Stein, Rachel. Shifting the Ground: American Women Writers’ Revision of Nature, Gender, and Race. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997. Excellent study focusing on ways in which Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Leslie Silko negotiate the intersections of race, gender, and notions of nature.

Sturgeon, Noël. Ecofeminist Natures: Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action. New York: Routledge, 1997. Best study of ecofeminist movements in United States in terms of their racial dynamic; offers an alternative racial and gender politics and a concept of “direct theorizing” of use for cultural environmental analysis and social movement action.

———, ed. “Intersections of Feminisms and Environmentalisms.” Special issue, Frontiers 18, no. 2 (1997). Essays by Comer, Kirk, Kollin, Platt, Sandilands, and Di Chiro.


Fresh Kill. Directed by Shu Lea Cheang. Airwaves Project, 1997. Experimental fiction film with rich environmental and social justice themes woven into a “lethal comedy swimming through a torrent of [transnational] toxic treachery.”

The Golf War. Directed by Jen Schradie and Matt DeVries. Anthill Productions, 2000. Powerful film on a struggle over a Philippine golf course as a symbol of globalization destroying indigenous culture and land use practices.

Llamado Para La Madre Tierra. Directed by Joseph Di Gangi and Amon Giebel. Indigenous Environmental Network and Greenpeace, 1999. Shows how toxic chemicals may well be the greatest threat to the survival of indigenous peoples.


Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. The main organization for ecocriticism, with many useful links, bibliographies, and syllabi.

Bullfrog Films. Major production and support center for environmentalist films. Links to many great films for kids and adults.

Cultural Environmental Studies. Site rich in resources for environmental justice cultural criticism, including annotated bibliography and dozens of links.

Environmental Justice Resource Center. Founded by Robert Bullard, one of the most important scholars of environmental justice, this site includes annotated bibliographies, news items and research articles, and links to many other environmental justice websites.

Environmental Justice Video Archive. Many other films and videos to learn from.

Global Justice Ecology Project. Group linking environmental and social justice issues worldwide.

Native Americans and the Environment. An extremely rich source of information on environmental racism as a set of issues facing Native peoples.

Rainforest Action Network. Organization working with Native peoples to resist deforestation and cultural genocide.

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