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Chapter 6 - Race, Health, and Environment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2021

Jeffrey Cohen
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
Stephanie Foote
Affiliation:
West Virginia University
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Summary

Scholars from across the humanities and sciences have deepened our understanding of the relationship between environmental and human health, revealing the centrality of race as a critical variable. Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have revealed the centrality of race in disparities in access to healthy environments and medical care. Structural inequalities that stem from the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and imperial violence are embedded with racial ideologies that supported those systems. The growth of biomedicine and Western medical institutions in the context of slavery, colonialism, and empire produced medical ideologies of racial difference in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Similarly, environmental movements that emerged in the context of European and US empires emphasized conservation at the expense of indigenous land rights. The long-term impacts of slavery and colonial policies are apparent in studies of environmental damage and health disparities. In the late twentieth century, environmental activists in the Global South and southern USA challenged racism and postcolonial development, and advocated for environmental justice.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Further Reading

Bullard, Robert D. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality. London: Routledge, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoberman, John. Black and Blue: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Nishime, Leilani and Williams, Kim Hester, eds. Racial Ecologies. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018).Google Scholar
Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singer, Merrill ed. A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taylor, Dorceta E. Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility. New York: New York University Press, 2014.Google Scholar

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