ASA presentation: Wikipedia and Black Feminist Thought

Last week I wrote a blog post for ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST). It previews the virtual presentation I will be giving with my (former Howard University student) coauthors Sophia Hussein and Lundyn Davis later today at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting (coauthor Mariam Trent will not be joining us). CGEST focuses on women of color in science and technology, so it’s a great place to preview our presentation. Our talk is based on a paper in progress tentatively titled: “Wikipedia and the Outsider Within: Black Feminism and Racialized, Gendered Knowledge Construction Online.” The paper draws on our experience contributing to Wikipedia as part of a 2018 class on the Sociology of Food and Agriculture at Howard University. Check out the blog post, and come on by our virtual talk at 11:30 EDT if you are registered for the conference!

See also this other blog post where I describe the class assignment of contributing to Wikipedia.

New photo exhibit – HOUSING!

I have three photographs on display in a new, street-side photo exhibit on social justice issues related to housing that is now showing in Oakland, CA. I mean it when I say the exhibit is on the street – the brochure advertising the exhibit lists the location as, “Fence at 1229 23rd Ave.” The exhibit is put on by the following activist oriented groups: Class Conscious Photographers, A Working Lens Exhibitors, and the Eastside Arts Alliance. The opening reception took place on July 23rd, on the sidewalk.

One of my images speaks to redevelopment, gentrification and eviction in Washington DC. I took it as part of a larger project to document redevelopment in the neighborhoods adjacent to Buzzards Point. Two others depict historical and contemporary environmental threats to human health in San Joaquin Valley homes, especially in the form of contaminated drinking water. I took them as part of a larger project to document environmental justice activism in California (see here, here and here).

Drop by to check out the exhibit if you can. I’m very proud to be in the company of a group of excellent photographers sharing work on an important issue in this very public forum.

Photo by G. Sharat Lin

My book is coming out soon!

The book that I’ve been working on in one form or another for a long, long time is coming out soon! Evolution of a Movement: Four Decades of California Environmental Justice Activism will be published by the University of California Press in January. Here’s the blurb that will go on the back:

Despite living in one of the country’s most environmentally progressive states, California environmental justice activists have spent decades fighting for clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and safe, healthy communities in which to live and work. Evolution of a Movement tells their story – from the often-raucous protests of the 1980s and 1990s to activists’ growing presence inside the halls of the state capitol in the 2000s and 2010s. Perkins offers a new lens for understanding environmental justice activism in California, tracing how shifting political contexts combined with activists’ own efforts to institutionalize their work within nonprofits and state structures.

Drawing on case studies and 125 interviews with activists from Sacramento to the California-Mexico border, Perkins explores the successes and failures of the environmental justice movement in California. She shows why some activists have moved away from the disruptive “outsider” political tactics common in the movement’s early days to embrace traditional political channels of policy advocacy, electoral politics and working from within the state’s political system to enact change. But while some see these changes as a sign of the growing sophistication of the environmental justice movement, others critique their potential to blunt grassroots power. At a time when environmental justice scholars and activists face pressing questions about the best route for enacting meaningful change, this book provides insight into the strengths and limitations of social movement institutionalization.

The book is available for pre-order now, and could be assigned for mid-semester or end-of-semester reading in the spring of 2022. See the beautiful cover below!