THE ENERGY AND RESOURCES GROUP SPRING 2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES PRESENTS:
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
University of California, Berkeley
DATE: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
PLACE: 126 Barrows
Toxic Water, Toxic System: Theorizing Environmental Justice with Flint and Detroit
This analysis directs critical environmental justice and black feminist studies perspectives towards the racialized state violence of urban austerity in Michigan, and examines the degree to which multiple and intersectional forms of ethnic, racial, and gendered environmental injustice have been undertheorized in matters concerning access to safe and affordable water. In Flint and Detroit, multiple and intersecting environmental injustices function at multiple scales: body, mind, neighborhood, city, and region. The intergenerational harm experienced in the Flint and Detroit water crises underscores the degree to which we need to rethink notions of time and place when theorizing environmental justice impact. Urban austerity and its gentrifying logics underscore the relational fact that environmental justice in the city is increasingly a white privilege, one in which people of color are not only disposable but also indispensable to this sort of white and urban bio-accumulation.
Michael Mascarenhas is an environmental sociologist who examines questions regarding access to water in an era of neoliberal racism. His first book, Where the Waters Divide (Lexington Books, 2015), examines the market-based policies that produce inequitable water resource access for Canada’s First Nations. His second book, New Humanitarianism and the Crisis of Charity: Good Intentions on the Road to Help (Indiana University Press, 2017), applies a similar methodological approach to investigate the privatization of humanitarian aid following disasters. Mascarenhas holds an MSc degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a PhD in sociology from Michigan State University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics at UBC and has held teaching appointments at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His current research and book project examines the racialization of water access in the cities of Flint and Detroit.