Environmentalism in the Interstices: California’s Salton Sea and the Borderlands of Nature and Culture
–Robert A. Jones '59 Conference Room
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury, VT 05753 View in Campus Map
Open to the Public
Prof. Traci Brynne Voyles, Loyola Marymount University
This talk explores the environmental and cultural history of southern California’s Salton Sea, beginning from the assertion, central to environmental history, ecofeminism, and political ecology, that the “environment” has never been a pure, hermetically sealed category separate from human life — it has, quite to the contrary, always been integrated into and agentic in our lives. The ways in which the Salton Sea’s formation from 1905-1907 denies this kind of binary logic makes it an ideal site for the study of how environmental historians and ecofeminists can proceed through the mucky, murky business of “doing” environmentalism without nature as a romanticized object of protection, conservation, and care. While the sea’s origins reveal how it occupies the borderlands between nature and culture, it also occupies quite literal borderlands between the US and Mexico and the US and Native nations. The history of race and racialization is a key part of the sea’s history, contributing to our understanding of how it came to be in a social, historical, and geographical borderland – a milieu that was (and is) a blurred, non-binary, and intersectional “zone of interaction.”
Traci Brynne Voyles is an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at Loyola Marymount University. She is the author of Wastelanding: Legacies of Uranium Mining in Navajo Country, and winner of the Border Regional Libraries Association’s Southwest Book Award in 2015. Voyles received her PhD in ethnic studies from the University of California San Diego in 2010, and was a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of California, Davis in 2011 as part of the Andrew Mellon Environments and Societies Research Initiative. Her research interests revolve around environmental justice, environmental history, feminist theory and gender studies, ecofeminism, and comparative ethnic studies.
Her current book project, “Bound for the Sky: The Salton Sea and The Impossibilities of American Environmentalism in the Borderlands, explores the environmental and cultural history of southern California’s Salton Sea.
- Sponsored by:
- Environmental Studies