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Open access

Black Placemaking under Environmental Stressors

Dryland Farming in the Arid Black Pacific, 1890–1930

Maya L. Shamsid-Deen and Jayson M. Porter

Abstract

Dry farming, or techniques of cultivating crops in regions with domineering dry seasons, was central to Black agricultural life across the Black diaspora, but especially in the Black Pacific. Ecologically, the Black diaspora transformed semi-arid ecosystems in both the Atlantic and Pacific. However, there is a dearth of Black narratives that draw on the ecological and botanical relationships held with the land. Through a collaborative botanical and historical approach that blends historical ecology and botany, we evaluate how Black placemaking occurred despite arid climatic stressors and as a result of ecological and cultural knowledge systems. Highlighting Black agricultural life in Costa Chica, Mexico and Blackdom, New Mexico, we argue that people and plants made cimarronaje (or collective and situated Black placemaking) possible in the Western coasts and deserts of Mexico and New Mexico through botanical knowledge systems of retaining water and cultivating a life in water-scarce environments.

Open access

Amani C. Morrison

Abstract

Affordance theory, originating in ecological psychology but adopted by the field of design studies, refers to possibilities for action that a subject perceives in an environment. I posit Black spatial affordance, critically employing affordances with an eye toward Black ecological and geographical practices, and I apply it to the Great Migration residential landscape and literature. Grounded in racial capitalist critique, Black geographic thought, and cultural critique at the intersections of race, place, and performance, Black spatial affordance works as an analytic to engage Black quotidian practice in racially circumscribed and delineated places and spaces. Operating at multiple scales, Black spatial affordance engages the specificity of places structured by racism to analyze the micro-level spatial negotiations Black subjects devise and employ in recognition of the terrain through which they move or are emplaced. Employing Black spatial affordance enables critical inquiry into the spatial navigation of subjects who occupy marginal positions in society.

Open access

Rune Steenberg and Raphael Deberdt

Darren Byler, Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City. Durham, NC: Duke University, pp. 269, 2022.

Jamon Alex Halvaksz, Gardens of Gold: Place-Making in Papua New Guinea. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, pp. 224, 2020.

Open access

Adwaita Banerjee, Emma Banks, Julie Brugger, Maya Daurio, Florence Durney, Wendi A. Haugh, Lisa Hiwasaki, David M. Hoffman, Raka Sen, David Stentiford, and Weronika Tomczyk

Stoekl, Allan. 2021. The Three Sustainabilities: Energy, Economy, Time. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 307 pp. ISBN 978-1517908188.

Carrasco, Anita. 2020. Embracing the Anaconda: A Chronicle of Atacameño Life and Mining in the Andes. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 182 pp. ISBN 978-1498575157.

Sullivan, Kathleen M., and James H. McDonald, eds. 2020. Public Lands in the Western US: Place and Politics in the Clash between Public and Private. 226 pp. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1793637062.

Hirsch, Shana Lee. 2020. Anticipating Future Environments: Climate Change, Adaptive Restoration, and the Columbia River Basin. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 232 pp. ISBN 978-0295747293.

O'Gorman, Emily. 2021. Wetlands in a Dry Land: More-Than-Human-Histories of the Murray–Darling Basin. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-295-74915-0.

Styles, Megan. 2019. Roses from Kenya: Labor, Environment, and the Global Trade in Cut Flowers. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 232 pp. ISBN 978-0-295-74650-0.

Boyce, James K. 2019. The Case for Carbon Dividends. Medford, MA: Polity Press. 140 pp. ISBN 978-1-5095-2655-0.

Rahder, Micha. 2020. An Ecology of Knowledges: Fear, Love, and Technoscience in Guatemalan Conservation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 316 pp. ISBN 978-1-4780-0691-6.

Lewis, Simon L., and Mark A. Maslin. 2018. The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 496 pp. ISBN 978-0-241-28088-1.

Braverman, Irus, and Elizabeth R. Johnson, eds. 2020. Blue Legalities: The Life & Laws of the Sea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 342 pp. ISBN 978-1-4780-0654-1.

Chaney, Robert. 2020. The Grizzly in the Driveway: The Return of Bears to a Crowded American West. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-295-74793-4.

Open access

Mukul Sharma

Abstract

Caste and race, Dalits and Black people, and the common ground between them have been analyzed in many areas, but their conjunction in the environmental field has been neglected. This article locates Dalit ecologies by examining the close connection between caste and nature. Drawing from a plural framework of environmental justice and histories of environmental struggles among African Americans, it focuses on historical and contemporary ecological struggles of Dalits. It contemplates how their initial articulations under the rubric of civil rights developed into significant struggles over issues of Dalit access, ownership, rights, and partnership regarding natural resources, where themes of environmental and social justice appeared at the forefront. The intersections between Dalit and Black ecologies, the rich legacies of Black Panthers and Dalit Panthers, and their overlaps in environmental struggles open for us a new historical archive, where Dalit and Black power can talk to each other in the environmental present.

Open access

Christian Modernisation in Amazonia

Emerging Materialism in Shuar Evangelicals’ Healing Practices

Christian Tym

The project of ontological anthropology expounded by Philippe Descola has unexplored merits for a critical and secular anthropology of Christian conversion in indigenous societies. Drawing on Shuar descriptions of their healing practice in a context of medical pluralism in southeast Ecuador, this article argues that for animist peoples, Protestant Evangelicalism constitutes a step toward philosophical materialism or ‘naturalism’. While Shuar healing reserves a central place for hallucinogenic plant-induced visions for personal empowerment and shamanic healing, Shuar Evangelicals express a preference for engaging only the material qualities of medicinal plants. This is not, however, the consequence of adopting a disenchanted material cosmology but of a submissive mode of relating to the immaterial aspects of reality normally engaged in ancestral Shuar ontology. The article thereby extends the ontological turn’s emphasis on what is known to a consideration of modes of relation to ontological content.

Open access

Fear at Work

Bureaucratic and Affective Encounters between Primary School Teachers and Their ‘Chiefs’ in Postcolonial Benin

Pauline Jarroux

This article aims at investigating how fear shapes everyday interactions between teachers and their ‘chiefs’ (primary school inspectors and pedagogical advisers) in Benin. Drawing on a fifteen-month ethnography in two school districts of the country, the article largely focuses on class visits and inspections, considered as critical events for the study of ‘fear at work’. These moments constitute contexts for immediate encounters between hierarchical authority and teachers and have been the subject of multiple transformations and normative recodifications partly led by international actors, particularly requiring important emotional work from the chiefs. Through a look back at the history of relations between teachers and their chiefs since independence, I suggest that fear works as an operating tool, enabling us to investigate notions of legitimacy and authority through which the state is spoken and performed.

Open access

A Flowering of Memory

Walking Zora Neale Hurston's Cemetery Path to our Mothers’ Gardens

James Jr. Padilioni

Abstract

In June 1945, Zora Neale Hurston wrote to W. E. B. Du Bois to propose a plan to create a Black cemetery to house the remains of famous Black Americans in Florida. Hurston suggested Florida because the state's climate guaranteed the cemetery would be verdant year-round, and she included a landscaping plan of the flowers and trees she desired to furnish her memorial garden. As an initiate of New Orleans Hoodoo-Vodou, Hurston's ontology of spirit allowed for the presence of the ancestors to indwell the living form of flowers, trees, and other topographical features of the land. I contextualize Hurston's cemetery within an extended genealogy of Black necrogeography and the study of Black American deathscapes, examining the entangled relationship of Black gardening and Black burial practices as engendering a distinct ecology of root-working in which Black women gardeners propagate new forms of life in the very dust of our decomposition.

Open access

Granting ‘Human Dignity’

How Emotions and Professional Ethos Make Public Services

Sophie Andreetta

Building on ethnographic fieldwork in Belgian welfare bureaucracies, this article explores the place of emotions in the administrative treatment of cases—particularly those involving migrants, whose welfare rights are increasingly limited. Welfare offices are responsible for granting social assistance—in the form of medical treatment, material help, or financial benefits—in order to guarantee that those residing in Belgium live in dignified conditions. This article delves into civil servants’ emotional engagement, discourses, and relationship to ‘the state’ and into the way they decide on specific cases based on feelings, administrative guidelines, and instructions from above. It challenges the assumption that street-level bureaucrats’ discretion and daily practices often effectively restrict citizens’ access to public services and shows instead how emotions, professional ethics and values contribute to assessing deservingness, and to the way civil servants ‘do the state’ on a daily basis.

Open access

Linking Land and Sea

Intersections between Indigenous Peoples’ Dispossession and Asylum Seekers’ Containment by Australia

Susan Reardon-Smith

Australia’s harsh policy response to asylum seekers appears to be an extreme measure for a country that thinks of itself as a liberal democracy. Confining analyses of this regime to refugee law and policy overlooks the ways that Australia’s colonial history, Indigenous dispossession, and contemporary race relations interact with one another. Th is article argues that these historical dynamics are essential to understanding the Australian government’s response to asylum seekers in the present day, with asylum-seekers and Indigenous peoples in Australia both being utilized as tools of modern statecraft to shore up the legitimacy of the Australian state. Attention is drawn to parallels between the treatment of both Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers by the Australian government, with the increasingly harsh response to asylum seekers in Australian politics coinciding with the expansion of land rights for Indigenous Australians.