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Interviews with Environmental Scientists about their New Books

New Books in Environmental Studies New Books Network

    • Naturwissenschaften

Interviews with Environmental Scientists about their New Books

    Ellen Griffith Spears, "Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town" (UNC Press, 2016)

    Ellen Griffith Spears, "Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town" (UNC Press, 2016)

    Professor Ellen Griffith Spears of the University of Alabama, author of Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) discusses the decades long struggle for environmental and civil rights justice in Anniston, Alabama, and broader lessons to be learned from this fight to address one community's exposure to toxic chemicals.
    In the mid-1990s, residents of Anniston, Alabama, began a legal fight against the agrochemical company Monsanto over the dumping of PCBs in the city's historically African American and white working-class west side. Simultaneously, Anniston environmentalists sought to safely eliminate chemical weaponry that had been secretly stockpiled near the city during the Cold War. In this probing work, Ellen Griffith Spears offers a compelling narrative of Anniston's battles for environmental justice, exposing how systemic racial and class inequalities reinforced during the Jim Crow era played out in these intense contemporary social movements.
    Spears focuses attention on key figures who shaped Anniston--from Monsanto's founders, to white and African American activists, to the ordinary Anniston residents whose lives and health were deeply affected by the town's military-industrial history and the legacy of racism. Situating the personal struggles and triumphs of Anniston residents within a larger national story of regulatory regimes and legal strategies that have affected toxic towns across America, Spears unflinchingly explores the causes and implications of environmental inequalities, showing how civil rights movement activism undergirded Anniston's campaigns for redemption and justice.
    Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute's Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association.

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    • 32 Min.
    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional identities and the future of criticism. The book is packed with interview material, coupled with accessible and easy to follow theoretical interventions, creating a text that will be of interest to social sciences, humanities, and general readers alike.
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    • 42 Min.
    Stephanie Kaza, "Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times" (Shambhala, 2019)

    Stephanie Kaza, "Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times" (Shambhala, 2019)

    Stephanie Kaza is Professor Emerita of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, and has written widely on Buddhism and the environment. She describes herself as a long-time lover of trees, a practicing Zen Buddhist, and an environmentalist. Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times (Shambhala, 2019) collects several essays, some written especially for this volume and others revised. They are by turns personal and reflective, and offer rich guidance for anyone who shares even one of her interests and concerns. A book to return to often.
    Jack Petranker is the Founder and Director of the Center for Creative Inquiry, and Director of the Mangalam Buddhist Center. He teaches Full Presence Mindfulness, and explores the link between the Dharma and the needs of our times.
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    • 1 Std. 5 Min.
    Robert Frank, "Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Robert Frank, "Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street―our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Under the Influence explains how to unlock the latent power of social context. It reveals how our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. We are building bigger houses, driving heavier cars, and engaging in a host of other activities that threaten the planet―mainly because that's what friends and neighbors do.
    In the wake of the hottest years on record, only robust measures to curb greenhouse gases promise relief from more frequent and intense storms, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and famines. In Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work (Princeton UP, 2020), Robert H. Frank describes how the strongest predictor of our willingness to support climate-friendly policies, install solar panels, or buy an electric car is the number of people we know who have already done so. In the face of stakes that could not be higher, the book explains how we could redirect trillions of dollars annually in support of carbon-free energy sources, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone.
    Most of us would agree that we need to take responsibility for our own choices, but with more supportive social environments, each of us is more likely to make choices that benefit everyone. Under the Influence shows how.
    Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A Peoples History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford, 2017).
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    • 29 Min.
    Timothy Barnard, "Imperial Creatures: Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942" (NUS Press, 2019)

    Timothy Barnard, "Imperial Creatures: Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942" (NUS Press, 2019)

    In Imperial Creature: Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942 (National University of Singapore Press, 2019), Timothy Barnard explores the more-than-human entanglements between empires and the creatures they govern. What is the relationship between the subjugation of human communities and that of animals? How did various interactions with animals enable articulations of power between diverse peoples? This book is one of the first to tackle these questions in the context of a Southeast Asian colonial city.
    Drawing from rich, archival material and with an attentiveness to visual sources, this study analyses the varied and messy positioning of animals in a city – as sources of protein, vectors of disease, cherished pets and impressed labor. The book’s deliberate focus on everyday animals such as dogs and horses – common in growing cities worldwide at the time – connects the history of colonial Singapore to a broader urban history, addressing what modernity means in terms of human-animal relationships. In our conversation, we discuss more-than-human-imperialism, the question of animal agency, the performative aspects of animal welfare and a few exciting, related reading recommendations by the author.
    Faizah Zakaria is an Assistant Professor of History at Nanyang Technological University. She is completing her first monograph on dialectical relationships between landscape and religious conversions in maritime Southeast Asia. You can find her website here or on Twitter @laurelinarien
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    • 45 Min.
    Kyle Devine, "Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music" (MIT Press, 2019)

    Kyle Devine, "Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music" (MIT Press, 2019)

    What is the human and environmental cost of music? In Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (MIT Press, 2019),Kyle Devine, an Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo, tells the material history of recorded music, counting the impact of music from the 78 to digital streaming. The book has a rich and detailed analysis of music’s contribution to our current environmental crisis, along with the human impact of making the materials that make our modern consumption of music possible. Offering a radically new perspective on music, the book is essential reading for everyone!
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    • 42 Min.

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