Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationBergen, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9640
Approve DateApril 16, 2018
Project TitleChance, Dr. Kerry R. U. of Bergen, Bergen, Norway - To aid research on 'Habitable Air: Race, Gender, and Poverty in the Time of Climate Change'
KERRY CHANCE, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Habitable Air: Race, Gender, and Poverty in the Time of Climate Change.’ The project investigates how the urban poor, living in the shadows of a jointly owned petrochemical company in South Africa and the United States manage the cultural and corporeal dynamics of air chemical pollution. Long-standing struggles over industrial toxicity are newly shaping and being shaped, as climate science becomes increasingly integral to contemporary politics in transnational sites. The project’s central research question is: What political life is possible for ‘ and created by ‘ the world’s most environmentally precarious communities in emerging orders of climate governance? Modern democratic theory rests on the foundational principle that all citizens have an equal share in political life. In contemporary South Africa and the United States, legacies of colonialism and segregation, along with neoliberalism and climate change, test that very foundation. Political life is not merely defined by the laws, policies, and decisions of state-sanctioned agents, but by everyday practices among ordinary citizens and their interactions with the environment. Drawing from ethnographic and historical research in South Africa and Louisiana’s ‘cancer alley,’ the project offers a critical examination of how the urban poor, living on the precarious margins, come to inhabit political roles and practice climate politics in twenty-first century liberal democracies.