Tracy Perkins is an Assistant Professor in the School for Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Previously, she served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. Dr. Perkins specializes in social inequality, social movements and the environment through a focus on environmental justice activism. Her 2022 book, Evolution of a Movement: Four Decades of Environmental Justice Activism (University of California Press), examines the political evolution of the California environmental justice movement from the 1980s to the mid 2010s. Other projects cover a 1990s era anti-nuclear waste landfill campaign in the Mojave Desert’s Ward Valley, pesticides activism in California’s Salinas Valley, green gentrification in Washington D.C., and the racialized politics of knowledge construction on Wikipedia. Dr. Perkins has a B.A. in Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, a M.S. in Community Development from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In addition to publishing in academic presses and journals, a significant part of Dr. Perkins’ work includes documenting environmental justice activism for the public. She does this with oral history, photography, a news feed/archive, and the creation of community and digital archives. These forms of documentation are then shared online, in libraries or with teachers. She sometimes pairs such documentation with participatory theater, photo exhibits, original writing and suggestions for how college teachers can use the materials in their classrooms. Examples include Voices from the Valley: Environmental Justice in California’s San Joaquin Valley, In Her Own Words: Remembering Teresa de Anda, Pesticides Activist (1959-2014), the Buzzard Point Oral History Project in Washington DC, and a project-in-development to create a digital archive and multi-media storytelling website on a 1990s era anti-nuclear waste landfill campaign along the lower Colorado River.