In a foreword to Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley (University of British Columbia Press, 2016), the public philosopher James Tully writes that, “Every once in a while, an outstanding work of scholarship comes along that transforms the way a seemingly intractable injustice is seen and, in so doing, also transforms the way it should be approached and addressed by all concerned.” In this second episode in our new series, New Books in Interpretive Political and Social Science, we hear from the book’s author, Sarah Marie Wiebe, about what that intractable injustice is, and why hers is one such work of scholarship, which won the 2017 Charles Taylor Book Award. Along the way she discusses environmental reproductive justice, political ethnography, her method of “sensing policy”, and her new book project, Life against a State of Emergency: Interrupting the Gendered Biopolitics of Settler-Colonialism, about which you can read and view more on the University of Minnesota manifold website.
Sarah also talks about the remarkable photographic essays in the book, which are the work of her friend and collaborator, Laurence Butet-Roch, who has kindly provided a number of them for New Books network listeners to view....
Photo One. Over forty large industrial and petrochemical facilities surround Aamjiwnaang. They spew out more greenhouse gases than the province of British Columbia and more toxic air pollutants than Manitoba, New Brunswick or Saskatchewan. The night-light is courtesy of Suncor. December 2010.
Photo Two. Although the community centre and daycare have been moved away from the plants, some leisure facilities, including the baseball diamond, are still adjacent to the factories. Vicki's running route passes in front of what is now Arlanxeo, a synthetic rubber producer. January 2012.
Photo Three. Jake sports the Anishinabek emblem on his chest. Thunderbirds, the animikiig, rule the skies. Lightning shoots from their eyes. Their cries and the flapping of their wings create the thunder. August 2014.
You can see more photos here.
Listeners interested in the series should also check out the first episode, with Dvora Yanow and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, on their Interpretive Research Design.
Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, and currently a project researcher at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel.