Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.08 X 0.7 X 8.98 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Melissa Checker is Associate Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is the author of Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town (2005) and the co-editor of Local Actions: Cultural Activism, Power, and Public Life (2004). She is also a founding co-editor of the Public Anthropology Reviews section of American Anthropologist. She has published articles in American Anthropologist, City and Society, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, Souls, Human Organization, Urban Anthropology, and numerous anthologies. She has also published widely in mainstream print and online venues.


"Melissa Checker's absorbing story is a portrait of America. Polluted Promises showcases the complex links between toxic waste and race, and the hope-filled journeys of environmental activists who are wise, strong, and spiritual in their fight against toxic waste--and for their lives. Checker is doing public anthropology for social justice."

-Carol Stack, author of All Our Kin

"A very rich, organized, and theoretically interesting ethnographic case study of environmental activism. Checker beautifully recounts how the issues of race emerged and were manipulated in social organizing against environmental poisoning."
-George E. Marcus, author of Ethnography through Thick and Thin

"Polluted Promises is a substantial accomplishment. It grounds the notion of environmental justice wonderfully in practical terms, in the theoretically sophisticated and empathetic examination of Hyde Park."
-Adolph Reed, Jr., author of Class Notes: Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene

"In this highly readable account . . . Checker has written a fine book. Assigned to students interested in urbanism, science and technology studies, race relations in the United States, environment, or social movements, the book is sure to spark thoughtful conversation."
-American Anthropologist

"I hope that (this book) doesn't get pidgeonholed as a dry, academic treatise, because it is anything but that. It is a wonderfully written account of the struggles by the residents of Hyde Park, a neighborhood in Augusta, Georgia, to undo decades of...environmental racism."
-In Brief