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Colonial, Racial, Indigenous Ecologies (CRIE)

silos and constructions cranes

Colonial, Racial, and Indigenous Ecologies (CRIE) working group brings together faculty and graduate students working at the conjunction of environment, culture, and critical race and Indigenous studies to gather and develop a shared research agenda. As scholars like Kyle Powys Whyte, Carolyn Finney, Julie Sze and Rob Nixon have pointed out, environmental activism and scholarship has frequently marginalized the concerns of the Indigenous, colonized, and racialized populations who are often most impacted by environmental change.

Building on our first year of conversations and collaborations over 2020-2021 on topics such as environmental justice, biological imperialism, Indigenous environmental cosmologies, and the racial underpinnings of the Anthropocene, the CRIE Working Group we will continue to gather in 2021-2022 for discussions, events and research activities related to these themes.

The group’s activities will continue to be oriented by an overarching interest in tracing the interconnections between racial capitalism — with its constitutive investments in racialized labor and Indigenous genocide — and environmental change. Over the past year we organized events that included hosting Renisa Mawani (Sociology, UBC) “Atmospheric Pressures: Race and Affect” and Stephen Legg (Historical Geography, U Nottingham) “Atmospheres: Spectacular and Domestic Atmospheres: India, London and 1930s Senses” as part of the CISSC Atmospheres speaker series, organized a reading group focused on Kathryn Yusoff’s (Geography, U London, Queen Mary) work around her book A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None and Deborah A Thomas’ (Anthropology, U Penn) Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation. This reading group culminated in the online conversation hosted by CRIE and the Critical Anthropocene Research Project Racial Capitalism and Geologic Violence in the Wake of the Plantation.


  • Jill Didur
  • Nalini Mohabir

Key questions

  • How have BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities responded to the ecological depredations of colonization and capital accumulation?
  • How have colonization and capital accumulation affected environmental Indigenous and migrant epistemologies, cosmologies and environmental practices?
  • How are apparently “local” instances of environmental justice struggle connected with the apparently “global” scale of the Anthropocene and related problematizations of this term (Black Anthropocenes, the Plantationocene, the Capitalocene, the Anthrobcene, the Planthropocene, and the Chthulucene)?
  • How can scholarship in the environmental humanities and social sciences contribute to decolonization? What are the environmental imaginations that drive anticolonial, antiracist and decolonial struggles — and how might these be in tension with each other?

Group members

  • Jesse Arsenault, English; animal studies, postcolonial literature
  • Jessica Bardill, English; Indigenous studies, decolonial bioethics
  • Rachel Berger, History; medical history and the body
  • Jill Didur, English; critical Anthropocene studies, plant humanities, postcolonial environmental humanities
  • Katja Grotzner Neves, Anthro/Soc; botanic gardens/biodiversity/Anthropocene
  • Kregg Hetherington, Anthro/Soc; political anthropology and environment
  • Nalini Mohabir, Geography; feminist/postcolonial migration geographies
  • Stephen Ross, English; ecopoetics/Global modernism
  • Angelique Willkie, decolonial dramaturgies blackness and the artist-body


  • January 13, 2023 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. (Reading Group, in-person/ hybrid, at 10.625, EV Building) Reading group, for Dr. Anne Pasek.
    To join via Zoom please use this link.
  • February 3, 2023 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Reading Group, in-person/ hybrid, at 10.625, EV Building) Reading group, from Dr. Philip Aghoghovwia.
    To join via Zoom, please use this link.
  • February 10, 2023 (Virtual): Talk by Dr. Philip Aghoghovwia on ecocriticism, postcolonial environmental justice criticism, and petrocultures.
  • March 17, 2023 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Reading Group, in-person/ hybrid, at 10.625, EV Building. Reading group, from Dr. Sophie Chao.
    To join via Zoom, please use this link.
  • March 23, 2023 (Virtual): Talk by Dr. Sophie Chao, an environmental anthropologist and environmental humanities scholar interested in the intersections of capitalism, ecology, Indigeneity, health, and justice in the Pacific.
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