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Environmentalism of the Poor, April 15, 2015

Akhil Gupta (Anthropology, UCLA) is a renowned cultural anthropologist whose work since the 1990s has reframed the analytic concept of culture by arguing that anthropologists should analyze the politics of cultural difference, how such differences are produced, and how they are used and abused by the state and by capital. Gupta is the author of Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India (2012) and of Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (1998). He is also a leading figure in the anthropology of the state and, with Aradhana Sharma, he co-edited The Anthropology of the State: A Reader (2006).

Barbara Rose Johnston (Center for Political Ecology) is an environmental anthropologist whose action-based research explores environmental crisis and human rights abuse, seeking to ensure the right to a healthy environment, environmental equity, and the right to reparation and remedy. Her research and publications have prompted scientific and public policy advisory appointments in international, national, and community-based forums. As an advisor to the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal, Johnston conducted research on the biomedical, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of the United States nuclear weapons testing program and the history and consequences of a classified human radiation experimentation program, served with Holly Barker as an expert witness in Nuclear Claims Tribunal proceedings, and contributed to a 2012 United Nations Special Rapporteur investigation. Johnston also served as editor-in-chief for the interdisciplinary textbook on Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change (2012), produced through a partnership between UNESCO International Hydrological Programme, United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative and the Center for Political Ecology.

Jorge Marcone (Comparative Literature, Rutgers) specializes in the history of environmental aesthetics and ecological thinking in Hispanic literatures and cultures. His current projects include a study of the impact of ecological ideas and post-humanist discourses in Latin American, US Latino/a, and Spanish literatures since the end of the Cold War and within the context of a boom of environmental activism in the Hispanic world. Marcone pays special attention to discourses on Amazonia and tropical forests, or the quintessential landscape in Latin America for criticizing modernity, or for apologizing for it, as well as for denouncing the idealization of wilderness. At Rutgers, Marcone is a member of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Center for Latin American Studies and currently serves as Undergraduate Director for the Program in Comparative Literature.

Jennifer Wenzel (English, Columbia) is the author of Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond (Chicago and KwaZulu-Natal, 2009), which was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2010 Perkins Prize by the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Her primary research areas are African and South Asian literatures in English, literatures of Third World liberation, environmental criticism and post-colonial theory. At Columbia, Wenzel has appointments in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. Her current books projects are “Reading for the Planet: World Literature and Environmental Crisis” and “Contrapuntal Environmentalisms: Nature, North and South.” She is also co-editing, with Imre Szeman and Patricia Yaeger, a collection entitled “Fueling Culture: Energy, History, Politics,” to be published by Fordham University Press.

Maite Zubiaurre (Spanish and Comparative Literature, UCLA) studies twentieth-century Peninsular Spanish literature, European (particularly German) and Latin American realism, comparative literature, gender studies, urban studies, cultural studies, Latin American women’s fiction, and Latina and Chicana fiction. She is the author of El espacio en la novela realista. Paisajes, miniaturas, perspectivas [Space and Setting in the Realist Novel. LandscapesMiniatures, Perspectives] (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000), a book on the dialectics of space and gender in European and Latin American realist fiction. Her book on Cultures of the Erotic. Spain 1898-1939 is forthcoming from Vanderbilt University Press. Zubiaurre is presently writing a book on the cultural representations of trash and rubble in contemporary culture.