Dana Elizabeth Powell

Grant Type

Engaged Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Appalachian State U.

Grant number

Gr. ERG-21

Approve Date

February 3, 2022

Project Title

Powell, Dana (Appalachian State U.) "Mapping Environmental Meaning Making Amidst Emerging Energy Threats in the N.C. Coastal Plains"

The proposed project is a collaboration among the RedTailed Hawk Collective, the Environmental Justice Community Action Network, and the two Co-PIs to build knowledge infrastructure and organizing capacity among Indigenous and African-American communities facing biogas and biomass extraction in their rural homelands. The research will examine environmental meaning-making in a context where the rapid rise of new energy infrastructures overlays longstanding environmental injustices in North Carolina’s Coastal Plains. We focus on identifying, mapping, and archiving sites and socio-ecological relations that carry cultural significance and are worthy of protection in the face of biofuels development. Following the methodological directives of our community partners, we have co-designed a method we call ‘mapping as process and product’ to generate data from watersheds, forests, species, stories, and memories that are under threat by energy extraction. With this collective knowledge, our team will develop an interactive ArcGIS StoryMap and digitized Toxic Tour that together establish a community-owned archive for knowledge sharing among and beyond partner constituencies. This research will advance anthropological thinking in environmental meaning while contributing to methodological innovation in the co-production of knowledge. Our collaborative also aims to transform university-community relationships by strengthening possibilities for engaged anthropology in matters of shared societal urgency.