“Global-Cultural Environmental Justice” (Oct. 13, 20, 27 & 29)

Published: September 19th, 2020

Category: Featured, News

Historians, anthropologists, and economists discuss the challenges and opportunities for economic, cultural, and social justice in a time of acute crisis…

Global-Cultural Environmental Justice:
Transdisciplinary & Transcultural Perspectives

Dorothy Ko
Andréa Zhouri
Edward B. Barbier
Frances Roberts-Gregory

In this three-week webinar series, historians, anthropologists, and economists Ko, Zhouri, Barbier, and Roberts-Gregory will discuss the challenges and opportunities for economic, cultural, and social justice in a time of acute global environmental and health crisis.

Dorothy Ko, Barnard College of Columbia University, “Tu-Ren (Earth-Humans) & Feng-Shui (Wind-Water): Environmental Justice in China”

October 13, 2020, 6:30–8:30 PM

Streaming video of this event is available here.

What can we learn from the concept and practice of environmental justice in China? Mainstream media in the U.S. often portray twenty-first-century China as the land of polluted air, untamed waters, and rapacious development. This is only half the picture. This presentation examines the works of Beijing-based landscape architect Kongjian Yu and his firm Tu-renscape, whose projects of “sponge cities” and concept of “anti-planning” are informed by centuries-long practices of farming, dwelling, and siting (feng shui). Instead of the vision of man-against-nature prevalent in Euro-America, premodern Chinese lives were rooted in an entirely different ecology of humans-in-nature.

Professor Ko’s talk will be followed by a response by Anna L. Peterson, Professor of Religion, University of Florida.

Andréa Zhouri, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, “The Rise of Anti-Environmentalism In Brazil: From Deregulation to Institutional Dismantling”

October 20, 2020, 6:30–8:30 PM

Streaming video of this event is available here.

After four decades of initiatives aimed at consolidating environmental governance based on the paradigm of ecological modernization, a process that implied alliances between corporations, the State, and hegemonic NGOs, Brazil now faces the rise of openly anti-environmental and anti-indigenous policies. This trend poses new challenges for the fight for environmental justice in the country. Political sectors such as ruralists, miners, and evangelicals that formerly occupied specific niches in Parliament, have now moved with the military into central positions in the government. I will analyze how the process of environmental deregulation, active since the early 2000s in ecological modernization policies, has paved the way for the current wave of environmental dismantling and its concrete effects on deforestation, as well as increasing violence in the territories occupied by indigenous peoples and traditional communities.

Professor Zhouri’s talk will be followed by a response by Simone Athayde, Associate Professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University.

Edward B. Barbier, Colorado State University, “How to Make a Post-COVID Green New Deal Work”

October 27, 2020, 6:30–8:30 PM

Zoom webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/91735153843

The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be long and arduous. However, simply reviving the existing “brown” economy will exacerbate irreversible climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental risks. Instead, we must foster green structural transformation of our economy. This will require a long-term commitment – perhaps 5 to 10 years – of public investments and policy reforms. Yet already government finances have been stretched thin and debt is rising because of the pandemic. This presentation explains that a workable and affordable Green New Deal is possible, if we adopt the right strategy and policies.

Professor Barbier’s talk will be followed by a response by Les Thiele, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Florida.

Frances Roberts-Gregory, University of California, Berkeley, “Resist, Recover, & Reimagine: Black & Indigenous Women for Climate Justice in Gulf Coast Louisiana”

October 29, 2020, 6:30–8:30 PM

Zoom webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/96958385574

Women and frontline communities of color currently lead grassroots movements for environmental, energy, and climate justice. They resist state-corporate crime, gender-based violence, and the mundanity of environmental racism. Feminist environmentalism(s) similarly promote intersectional climate solutions and critique extractive economies that externalize human rights abuses, racialized health disparities, and long-term pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions at the hands of transnational corporations and the polluter elite. Fortunately, a growing multi-racial, gender-inclusive, and women-led movement for earth justice calls for a just transition to regenerative economies and energy democracy.

Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC) water protectors and concerned citizens ultimately reimagine postapocalyptic geographies and conjure abolitionist possibilities while refusing the everyday violence of epistemic injustice. Most importantly, they embrace the transformative potential of a feminist spatial imagination and what an emerging generation of anti-racist, feminist scholars term anti-resilience, abolition ecology, emergent strategies, and radical planning. This lecture suggests how a feminist future centering Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurities might replace the necropolitics of toxic geographies and sacrifice zones. It also explores the possibility for interspecies survival, joy, mutual aid, pleasure, recovery, restoration, and healing by focusing on the activism, advocacy, and organizing work of Black and Indigenous women in Gulf Coast Louisiana.

Dr. Roberts-Gregory’s talk will be followed by a response by Rachel Grant, Assistant Professor of Journalism, University of Florida.

How to Attend

This event is a series of virtual seminars (webinars). To attend you will need access to the Internet and a working copy of the Zoom desktop client, mobile app, or web client. These are available for free from this page. Zoom software is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Linux computers and handheld devices. The Zoom web client is compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Chromium Edge. University of Florida faculty, staff, and students are advised to download the software from UF’s Zoom portal.

Once you have downloaded and installed the Zoom software, when a webinar is scheduled to begin click on one of the Zoom webinar links noted above. No passcode entry is required to join a webinar. Once you have joined you will be able to see and hear the event speakers and view any media they share with the audience. You may interact with the speakers via Zoom’s Q&A feature and at the discretion of the event moderator.

About the Speakers

Simone Athayde is Associate Professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies and a faculty member of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University. She is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary ecologist who has worked across the Amazonian region for over 20 years, supporting Indigenous peoples and local communities’ self-determination and sustainable livelihoods, as well as biocultural and territorial rights.


Edward B. Barbier is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics, Colorado State University and a Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. His primary expertise is natural resource and development economics, as well as the interface between economics and ecology. His recent work focuses on policies for greening the post-pandemic recovery.



Rachel Grant is Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida, where she teaches courses in strategic communication, social media management and media law. Her research looks at media studies of race, gender and class and she has conducted extensive research with social movements, social justice, and Black feminism.



Dorothy Ko is Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the Barnard College of Columbia University. As a historian of early modern China, her research interests have included Literature, Visual and Material culture; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Science and Technology; Eco-Art History. She is author of numerous books, including The Social Life Of Inkstones. Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China (2017).



Anna L. Peterson is Professor of Religion at the University of Florida. Her research and teaching areas are social ethics, environmental ethics, religion and social change, animal studies, and religion and politics in Latin America. At UF, she is affiliated with several interdisciplinary programs: the Center for Latin American Studies, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Program in Tropical Conservation and Development, and the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research.


Frances Roberts-Gregory is a vegan ecowomanist and future faculty fellow at Northeastern University. She is a co-founding member of the Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal, former environmental educator for the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and resource developer for the New Orleans and C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. In 2021, she will start a new position as an assistant professor of cultural anthropology and co-director of the Spelman College Food Studies Program. Reach her via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @BlackngreenPhD.


Les Thiele is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida and Director of UF’s undergraduate major in Sustainability Studies. His interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on political thought, sustainability, emerging technologies, and the intersection of political philosophy and the natural sciences. His central concerns are the responsibilities of citizenship and the opportunities for leadership in a world of rapid technological, social, and ecological change. He has published nine books, including Sustainability (Polity 2016) and The Art and Craft of Political Theory (Routledge 2019).


Andréa Zhouri is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where she founded the Group in Environmental Studies (GESTA) and coordinated the team that created the undergraduate track in Socio-Environmental Sciences. She has long researched topics related to socio-environmental conflicts and environmental inequalities. An active member of several environmental networks and scientific associations, including the Brazilian Association of Anthropology (ABA), she has published widely on mining, large dams, environmental conflicts, and environmental deregulation in Brazil.

This event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

“Global-Cultural Environmental Justice” is co-sponsored by Imagining Climate Change and the Sustainable Online Network for Global Cultural Studies.


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