Monica Patrice Barra

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

South Carolina, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10042

Approve Date

October 2, 2020

Project Title

Barra, Monica (South Carolina, U. of) "Good sediment: Race, geology, and the politics of land loss"

MONICA PATRICE BARRA, University of South Carlonia, Columbia, South Carolina, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to aid research and writing on ‘Good Sediment: Race, Geology, and the Politics of Land Loss.’ Retitled Good Sediment: Race, Science, and the Politics of Coastal Restoration, this manuscript examines how coastal science and engineering intersect with racial inequalities in the context of Louisiana’s “losing a football field per hour” land loss crisis, and the state’s unprecedented efforts to restore its disappearing coastline. Drawing from ethnographic research among coastal scientists and Black communities brought together by land loss and restoration, the manuscript attends to the power of science to reproduce racial inequalities in the era of climate change, and the ways multigenerational frontline communities challenge our collective imaginaries of science, environmental change, and restoration to sustain, not abandon, their communities. In this regard, the manuscript considers the tensions circulating around coastal restoration in Louisiana as evidence of the ways racial inequalities are built into the science and practice of restoration. The book analyzes “good sediment” (and coastal ecologies more broadly) as a politically fraught entity that is at once central to scientific ideologies of restoration, and a key co-conspirator in the efforts of Black communities challenging the logics of loss baked into restoration science and policy. With this in mind, the manuscript foregrounds how Black ecological practices and expertise challenge restoration science and state planning efforts to center values of self-reliance, community care, and autonomy in their efforts to restore Louisiana’s coast.