The Sacrifice Zones of American “Energy Independence”: Pipeline and Refinery Expansion in the Chicago Region

By Graham Pickren, Roosevelt University § The United States is seemingly on its way to “energy independence.” Since the oil price increases and gas lines of the 1970s shocked the sensibilities of an American population blissfully unaware of the inter-dependencies that structured their everyday lives, both Democratic and Republican regimes have aggressively pursued domestic energy production […]

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Commentary: Toxic Bodies, Part II

By Kristina Lyons, University of California, Santa Cruz § The president of the communal action committee whom I call Doña Marta ushered me to a more secluded corner behind the schoolhouse. She spoke in a low tone about the worsening water quality of the river flowing behind us. Over the last four years, downstream communities in […]

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Weeds, Herbicides, and Bodies: Emerging Entanglements in Toxic Agricultural Landscapes

By Tony VanWinkle, Sterling College § Dedicated to the memory of Jackie Dill. Shortly after the unexpected death of friend and mentor Jackie Dill, I read Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s poem, “The Change,” which narrates a first person, indigenous retrospective on shifts in the workaday world of tobacco field laborers. Central to this convulsive change was […]

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Commentary: Toxic Bodies, Part I

By Mónica Salas Landa, Lafayette College § ‘‘How do you feel living right across from the oil and gas complex?’’ I asked Ms. Dora, a few days after I settled into her home in Poza Rica, Veracruz, a city transformed by the industrial apparatus of oil. ‘‘We have gotten used to smelling the gas and seeing all […]

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Human-Animal Encounters at the Park

By Shay Perryman, Ana Cruz, and Justin Brady § Woodward Park lies on the northwest edge of Fresno in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno is California’s fifth largest city with a diverse population of just over half a million residents. Established in 1968, a local resident donated the 235-acres, and an additional 65 acres were added […]

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Anthropology Beyond the Tap: From Flint, Michigan to California’s Central Valley

By Alexa Becerra-Almendarez, Emily Wolff, and Lemual Wheatley § Imagine you are thirsty. You go to the sink to pour yourself a glass of water, but you stop abruptly; your drinking water is contaminated. Residents of Flint, Michigan have become all too familiar with this problem. Recently, their drinking water was found to contain levels of […]

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Drought and Culture: From the Yard to the Farm

By Alfred Lopez, Yeng Vang, and Chong Vang, California State University, Fresno § We hurriedly walked through a middle-class Fresno, California neighborhood. The City of Fresno and Fresno County are located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley: a major hub of industrial agriculture and one of the most drought-affected areas of the state. We wanted to […]

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Ground Truthing the Central Valley: Introduction to the Series on Student Environmental Ethnographic Journalism

By Dvera I. Saxton, California State University, Fresno, with contributions from Victoria Sanchez § In September of 2014, upon first arriving to Fresno, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dvera I. Saxton attended a conference hosted by an organization in California’s Central Valley that works with communities to help them identify and challenge environmental injustices. They do especially important […]

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An “Ecological Path” in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park: On the Reflexivity of Oil Infrastructure

By Peter Taber, University of Arizona § Yasuní National Park is Ecuador’s largest Amazonian protected area, one of the most biodiverse places in the world, and the site of multiple waves of oil development since the late 1980s. Since August 2013, contentious plans for drilling in the eastern-most portion of the park have moved forward. […]

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Tactics of Power and Empowerment in Knowledge-Making Infrastructures

By Kirk Jalbert, Manager of Community Based Research & Engagement, FracTracker Alliance and Visiting Research Professor, Center for Science, Technology and Society, Drexel University § Energy extraction has become a topic of contentious debate due to the use of unconventional drilling practices known as hydraulic fracturing—often referred to as “fracking”—to retrieve oil and gas from shale bed formations. Along […]

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