Intersectionality and the Environmental Humanities: Notes on Elisions and Encounters


  • Miriam Tola University of Lausanne, Switzerland



This article explores how intersectional approaches can contribute to the rapidly expanding field of the environmental humanities and, in turn, how intersectionality can benefit from insights from environmental humanities scholarship. The essay interrogates the construction and orientation of the environmental humanities through the specific perspective of intersectionality that allows to consider the co-constitution of gender, race, class, sexuality and species. Through the qualitative analysis of key texts, the article shows that field-shaping narratives in environmental humanities invite to move beyond human exceptionalism but tend to sidestep the analysis of interconnected relations of race, gender and class that structure the hegemonic model of the human. Addressing this elision, the article turns to research that creatively deploys capacious intersectional perspectives to grasp the connections between gender, race, species and environmental violence. It argues that while intersectionality remains underexplored in the prevalent narratives of environmental humanities, a growing body of work enacts intersectional environmental humanities. This work productively mobilizes expansive notions of intersectionality to advance the analysis of the connections between intra-human inequalities and human/nonhuman hierarchies and, in turn, brings more-than-human constellations into intersectionality scholarship.

Keywords: intersectionality, environmental humanities, environmental justice, racial ecologies.