[URBANTH-L] CFP: Race and Class Consciousness: Contradictions, Resolutions, and Reconciliation in the Ethical Consumption and Eco-SustainabilityMovements

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Sun Sep 30 14:18:59 EDT 2007

Call for Papers for Book:

Race and Class Consciousness:
Contradictions, Resolutions, and Reconciliation in the Ethical Consumption 
and Eco-Sustainability Movements

Edited by Amie Breeze Harper

Abstract Deadline: Accepting abstracts until January 1, 2008

Full Chapter Deadline: September 1, 2008
Approximate Date of Book Publication: Summer 2009

The alternative foods, ethical consumption, and environmental sustainability 
movements in the USA, have grown exponentially in the past decade. The 
fusion of white racialized consciousness, 1st Worldism, and middle/upper 
class experience drives the formulation of "ethics", "morality", and 
"sustainability" that the "status quo" dominating these movements espouse. 
Rarely, if ever, has the status quo of these movements written about how 
[white] racialized consciousness and class status impact their philosophies 
and advocacy of animal rights, veganism, fair trade, eco-sustainable living, 
etc., in the USA. Deeper investigations by academic scholars have found that 
collectively, this "privileged" demographic tends to view their ethics as 
"colorblind", thereby passively discouraging reflections on white and class 
privilege within alternative food movements (Slocum 2006) and animal rights 
activism (Nagra 2003; Poldervaart 2001). Consequently, academic scholars 
such as Dr. Rachel Slocum feel that rather than fostering equality, 
"alternative food practice reproduces white privilege in American society". 
(Slocum 2006, 13). This oversight deserves critical redress if the goals of 
these movements are to be globalized and accessible to people of color and 
low-income people.
In addition, this dynamic within these movements leads people of color in 
the U.S. to perceive the animal rights/ethical consumption movement as being 
"elitist," "racist" and insensitive to the experiences and struggles of 
racial minorities and working class people. One of the clearest and most 
recent examples of movement-initiated acts that encourage this perception by 
people of color has been communicated through ethical consumption campaigns. 
PETA's 2005 use of images of lynched black men, Holocaust victims, and 
Native American genocide to parallel non-human animal suffering was 
perceived as most offensive by people of color. Complaints about these 
images by people of color are often collectively viewed by white middle 
class animal rights activists as "speciesist" or "selfish" ; people of color 
view such advertisements as "racist". Neither "wrong" nor "right", such 
responses deserve deeper understanding and analysis of the complexities and 
clashes of race, racialized consciousness, and speciesism within all 
communities in the USA and beyond.

Simultaneously, one can see contradictions within certain pockets of 
communities of color that uphold anti-racism and anti-poverty practices from 
an anthropocentric praxis, espousing philosophies of "freedom" and 
 "equality" that do not take non-human animals rights, holistic health 
practices, or eco-sustainable living into mind. Such an example can be seen 
from the 2007 NFL player Michael Vick dogfighting case, in which many of his 
supporters defend him and dogfighting as "cultural"-- exempt from scrutiny 
from white middle class society.

Because these misalignments of interests and differing perceptions of 
"justice" and "equality" are real and cannot be taken lightly, this is a 
call for papers to address the contradictions and clashes of "ethics" and 
"equality" within white middle class dominated ethical consumption, 
alternative foods and eco-sustainability movements as well as within 
communities of color that often focus solely on antiracist and antipoverty 
rhetoric without incorporating the effects of over-consumption, non-human 
animal rights, encouragement of healthier eating, and eco-sustainability 
into their liberation and equality strategies. It is also a call for papers 
to begin to resolve and reconcile these contradictions and clashes on all 
sides; particularly for those with racial privilege and middle/upper class 
status in the 1st World, who do not acknowledge the impact of racialized 
consciousness and 1st World perception on the production of knowledge, power 
and policy; and view the movement as "colorblind", a concept Law Professor, 
Jerry Kang, theorizes as equaling "default whiteness" (Kang 2000).

Through lenses such as whiteness studies, critical race theory, humane 
education, decolonization, critical race feminism, ecological literacy, 
womanism and working class studies, this anthology welcomes voices from 
people who support the concept of eco-sustainability, alternative foods, and 
ethical consumption philosophy, regardless of the challenges they may 
present. All disciplines are welcomed. Interdisciplinary approaches, voices 
from people of color, working class folk, and activists from the Third World 
are strongly encouraged.

The book will tentatively have these sections:

1. White or Right? Comparing ethnic minority suffering to non-human animal 
suffering by "cruelty-free" consumption organizations.
2. "Healthy" as Skinny, White, and Vegan: How whiteness shapes the concept 
of "healthy alternative food practices" and the "healthy" body in the USA.
3. Culture or Cruelty Argument: Analysis of creating ethnically-based 
cultural identity and solidarity around ecocidal and non-human animal 
suffering philosophies.
4. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being [Green]: Analyzing the impact of white 
racialized consciousness and class privilege on the eco-sustainability 
movement in the USA and globally.
5. "It's a White Thing, Not Our Thing": Consequences of eco-sustainability, 
"health" foods, and "cruelty-free" consumption perceived strictly as a 
"white thing" by people and communities of color engaged in anti-racist and 
anti-poverty activism.
6. "The Only Color We Care About is Green": Reproductions of systemic and 
institutionalized racism and classism within literature, "colorblind" 
organizations, etc., dedicated to "cruelty-free" consumption or 
eco-sustainable praxis.
7. Resolutions and Reconciliation: Ideas on successfully dismantling these 
challenges and clashes.

Citation: Footnotes: CMS or MLA. Avoid creating a bibliography.
Document Format: Margins: 1". Spacing: 2 Font Size: 12
Word Processing File Format: MicroSoft Word or Apple Works accepted. Please 
DO NOT send a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat file) of your materials.
Pages: Minimum: 15 pages
Maximum: 30 pages
Email abstract to Breeze Harper at breezeharper at gmail.com

Sources Cited:

Clark, Dylan. "The Raw and the Rotten: Punk Cuisine." Ethnology 43, no. 1 
(2004): 19+.
Farr, Arnold. "6 Whiteness Visible." In What White Looks like: 
African-American Philosophers on the Whiteness Question, edited by Yancy, 
George, 143-158. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Kang, Jerry. "Cyber-Race." Harvard Law Review 113, no. 5 (2000): 1131-1209.
Nagra, Narina. "Whiteness in Seattle: Anti-GlobalizationnActivists Examine 
Racism within the Movement." Alternatives Journal, Wntr 2003, 27+.
Poldervaart, Saskia. "Utopian Aspects of Social Movements in "Postmodern 
Times: Some Examples of DIY Politics in the Netherlands." Utopian Studies 
12, no. 2 (2001): 143+.
Slocum, Rachel. "Anti-racist Practice and the Work of Community Food 
Organizations." Antipode 38.2 (2006) 327-349.
Breeze Harper
breezeharper at post.harvard.edu

Email: breezeharper at post.harvard.edu
Visit the website at http://www.breezeharper.com 

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