Environmental Justice and the State of Exception: Devon Peña
Date and Time
Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Maher Hall, Salomon Hall
Professor Peña will discuss the limits and contradictions facing the environmental justice movement as it enters
the third decade of activism. Environmental racism has not been resolved – if anything, the neoliberal policies
of the past four presidencies have exacerbated racial injustices and aggravated ecological inequities that are best
understood as a regime that suspends the rule of law. The alternatives for the future of EJ include renewed
mobilizations focused on ecological self--‐determination and autonomy instead of a quest for equity within the
existing regime of environmentality.
Peña is Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and the Program on the Environment at the
University of Washington. He is also Research Professor with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. He
writes about place--‐based ecological knowledge, farming and biodiversity, water access and rights, and the
impacts of neoliberalism on indigenous farming practices on either side of the U.S.--‐Mexico border. He is the
author of several award winning books and anthologies. Peña is the founder and president of The Acequia
Institute, the nation’s first Latina/o charitable foundation dedicated to supporting research and education for the
environmental and food justice movements. Peña received the 2013 NACCS Scholar Award from the National
Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. During the five--‐month irrigation season (May--‐Sept) he farms
in San Acacio, Colorado on a 184--‐acre acequia farm where he grows heirloom varieties of maize, beans,
calabacita, fava beans, and other native crops. He is a seed saver and plant breeder and serves on the Steering
Committee of the Biosafety Alliance, which is organizing the 2013 Global Conference on Seed Justice.