Book: A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse
K. Animashaun Ducre is a dedicated advocate for environmental justice with four years of Greenpeace experience working as a toxics campaigner. She received her PhD in environmental justice at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University. Her new SU Press book, A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse was published this month and is a wonderful addition to the Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution series.
Tell us about your new book, A Place We Call Home.
“My book is part memoir/part research on Black women who lived in depressed urban environments and how they cope.”
Have you always had an interest for environmental justice? What led you to the field?
“I have always had an interest in social justice. As a child growing up in Washington DC and Maryland, my family and I were heavily involved in helping the homeless. Later, when I went to college, I worked on race relations during the height of the Rodney King beating and the acquittal of the officers involved. After graduation, my interest broadened to include both environmental rights and civil rights when I began to work for Greenpeace, an international environmental organization. My work with Greenpeace led to my scholarship and advocacy on environmental justice.”
What was the biggest challenge you encountered while writing this book?
“The biggest challenge in writing this book, aside from carving out time from my teaching and other faculty duties, was finding the courage to present my own voice. Most academic research relies upon a degree of objectivity and a presumption of distance between the researcher and the subject. However, the reader knows by the first few sentences of my book that my life and experience are a significant part of the narrative. Adopting a Black feminist perspective in my research and writing gave me the confidence to present my work in this manner. Writers like bell hooks and the late Audre Lorde were influential in my decision to present my work in this manner.”
What types of research did you conduct before writing this case study? How many years of research?
“I am versed in both quantitative and qualitative research. My dissertation, written in 2005 is based solely on spatial statistics. When I came to Syracuse, I relied upon the resources available in the Department of African American studies to hone my qualitative skills. We are the only department at Syracuse University to house our very own library (the Martin Luther King, Jr.) and specialist librarian, as well as operate our own visual and cultural arts center (the Community Folk Art Center). The Community Folk Art Center hosted the photography exhibition that arose from this research in 2007.”
What did you find most eye-opening about your research?
“I was surprised by how well the participants in the project were familiar with maps. In my experience, understanding maps presents a challenge.”
Describe your favorite experience while writing A Place We Call Home?
“I look forward to the presentation of the participants’ photos each during the project. Some of the photos are featured in the book. It was interesting to see each image and to listen to how each woman presented the photo. Often, the image was not enough to understand the concept – you had to hear each woman discuss the elements of the photo that appealed to her.”
What is the most beneficial aspect of your occupation?
“I like teaching. I like challenging my students to think critically about society. I also like research – asking questions and seeking answers. I have worked on different dimensions of environmental justice – from calculating the amount of air pollution with statistics, to browsing through old plantation records at an archive, to analyzing photographs by the women in this Photovoice project.”
What can we expect from you next?
“Speaking of old plantation records, I have accumulating information about a sugar plantation in Southern Louisiana that later was bought by a chemical manufacturer. I want to highlight this connection between plantation-to-plant and this particular site’s effect on the Black community that surrounds it. I think there are some interesting parallels between the oppression of slavery and the oppression of a polluting industry. I’m also working on edited volume that looks at environmental injustice and schooling – my chapter focuses on case studies where hazardous industry are located near elementary schools and we can do to prohibit this.”
For more information on K. Animashaun Ducre’s new book, A Place We Call Home, visit the Syracuse University Press website or attend her book talk on Thursday, February 7th at the Community Folk Art Center in Syracuse, NY. See the Events page for more details on this upcoming event.
January 15, 2013 | Categories: Author Spotlight | Tags: Authors, Ducre, Fall 2012, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Syracuse University | Leave a comment
October is a month for breast cancer awareness, football games, and fall festivities, but on the Syracuse University Campus- it’s a month for Peace. Syracuse University is holding a “Common Ground for Peace” symposium, sponsored by World Harmony Productions and One World Community Foundation, on Monday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 9. Dedicated to spreading the message of World Peace through critical discussion, the campus will be hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, various international thought leaders, as well as the One World concert at the Carrier Dome. The lineup of this “Once in a Lifetime” musical event includes scheduled performances by Dave Matthews, Swizz Beatz, Natasha Bedingfield, David Crosby, Counting Crows, Roberta Flack, Nelly Furtado, Andy Grammer, Engelbert Humperdinck, Emmanuel Jal, Angélique Kidjo, Liel Kolet, Cyndi Lauper, Andy Madadian, Matisyahu, Nas, Phillip Phillips, A.R. Rahman, Shani Rigsbee, David Sanborn, Joanne Shenandoah, TEAL-ONE97, Voices of Afghanistan and Bebe Winans.
Samuel Nappi, president of World Harmony Productions, explains, “After discussions with thought leaders throughout the world and with His Holiness, it became clear to me that a peace movement can only be realized when we engage the public in conversations about common ground and understanding.” Musician David Crosby, who will be performing at the concert, adds “This event has such important chemistry. His Holiness the Dalai Lama seeks peace and compassion for the whole human race, and the diversity of musicians and speakers on the panels is also important. Since Dave Matthews first appeared in the music world he has been trying to go for the high ground. He’s also a very powerful presence.” This collaborative celebration will unite the Syracuse community with many of today’s influential leaders in effort to spread the consciousness of peace.
Syracuse University Press has a Peace and Conflict Resolution series consisting of 50 titles. The newest book in the series titled A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse by K. Animashaun Ducre, demonstrates how poor political and economic forces can create a landscape of abandoned housing within the Southside community. Ducre, through Photovoice methodology, spotlights the impact of this affliction upon the female residents who survive in these harsh environments. This poignant case study will be published next month and is available for pre-sale now. Visit the Syracuse University Press website for more Peace and Conflict Resolution titles.
October 4, 2012 | Categories: Announcements | Tags: Common Ground for Peace, Dalai Lama, One World Community Foundation, Peace, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Syracuse University, World Harmony Productions | Leave a comment
For those of you who have been patiently waiting for Syracuse University Press’ new book list, the time has come! Our Fall/Winter 2012 book catalog is now available on our website. This season, we are pleased to announce a variety of different books, ranging from topics such as Television and Pop Culture to Peace and Conflict Resolution. There is sure to be a read of interest out there for everyone!
If you’re looking for an award-winning title, make sure to check out “Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt,” translated from Arabic by Samah Selim. This classic novel, originally published in 1914, unravels the adventurous story of a famous Arab queen. As the winner of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies Translation of Arabic Literature Award, this book is without a doubt an irresistible read.
If you are an Upstate New York native or, like us, reside in Syracuse, you must read “Lake Effect: Tales of Large Lakes, Artic Winds, and Recurrent Snows.” Mark Monmonier, a Syracuse University professor, offers a detailed examination of Lake Effect Snow and the social impacts of extreme weather. Scientific American reviews it as “an artful and funny book, which like any good map, packs plenty in little space.”
View our full Fall/Winter 2012 Catalog on our website to find these two books, as well as many other new titles.
May 2, 2012 | Categories: Announcements, Books | Tags: Books, Fall 2012, Monmonier, New Catalog, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Selim, TV and Pop Culture | Leave a comment