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MTREP Book Club - October 24, 2017

  • Gallatine Valley Land Trust 212 South Wallace Avenue Bozeman, MT, 59715 (map)

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors

By Carolyn Finney, PhD

Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the "great outdoors" and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. 

Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature, and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.

The Montana State University Wallace Stegner Lecture Series is proud to present Dr. Carolyn Finney as the Fall 2017 Stegner Lecturer. Dr. Finney will speak on "The Long Way Home: All Things Green and the Possibility of Us." The event at The Ellen Theatre in Bozeman is free and open to the public; a reception will follow the lecture. Entrace is free but seats must be secured in advance at this link.

The Montana State University Wallace Stegner Lecture Series is proud to present Dr. Carolyn Finney as the Fall 2017 Stegner Lecturer. Dr. Finney will speak on "The Long Way Home: All Things Green and the Possibility of Us." The event at The Ellen Theatre in Bozeman is free and open to the public; a reception will follow the lecture. Entrace is free but seats must be secured in advance at this link.

Dr. Carolyn Finney talks about her book—Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. in this presentation for WBGH (Boston) in April 2015. Her work bridges the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography. She argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the "great outdoors" and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces.