Sunaura Taylor, "Disabled Ecologies: Lessons from a Wounded Desert" (U California Press, 2024)


A powerful analysis and call to action that reveals disability as one of the defining features of environmental devastation and resistance.

Deep below the ground in Tucson, Arizona, lies an aquifer forever altered by the detritus of a postwar Superfund site. Disabled Ecologies: Lessons from a Wounded Desert (U California Press, 2024) tells the story of this contamination and its ripple effects through the largely Mexican American community living above. Drawing on her own complex relationship to this long-ago injured landscape, Sunaura Taylor takes us with her to follow the site's disabled ecology—the networks of disability, both human and wild, that are created when ecosystems are corrupted and profoundly altered.

What Taylor finds is a story of entanglements that reach far beyond the Sonoran Desert. These stories tell of debilitating and sometimes life-ending injuries, but they also map out alternative modes of connection, solidarity, and resistance—an environmentalism of the injured. An original and deeply personal reflection on what disability means in an era of increasing multispecies disablement, Disabled Ecologies is a powerful call to reflect on the kinds of care, treatment, and assistance this age of disability requires.

A full transcript of the interview is available for accessibility.

Sunaura Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Society and Environment at the University of California, Berkeley. Taylor is a scholar and artist who works at the intersection of disability studies, environmental humanities, animal studies, environmental justice, feminist science studies, and art practice.

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