Pollution Is Colonialism

Book Pages: 216 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: May 2021

Author: Max Liboiron

Environmental Studies, Native and Indigenous Studies, Science and Technology Studies > Feminist Science Studies

In Pollution Is Colonialism Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism. She points out that even when researchers are working toward benevolent goals, conducting environmental science and activism is often premised on a colonial worldview and access to land. Focusing on plastic pollution, Liboiron models an anticolonial scientific practice aligned with Indigenous, particularly Métis, concepts of land, ethics, and relations. She draws on her work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada—to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Her creative, lively, and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, her methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is currently being practiced in ways that enact more ethical modes of being in the world.


“There are exceedingly few texts like this that ask from an Indigenous perspective: how might we consider relations between science and land and water and still practice ‘good’ science? Pollution Is Colonialism is at the leading edge of a significant turn in science and technology studies toward thinking with settler colonialism as a structure and terrain, and by bringing Indigenous studies into conversations with pollution, plastics, and lab sciences, this book makes a major contribution.” — Candis Callison, author of How Climate Change Comes to Matter: The Communal Life of Facts

“One of the most original and compelling books I’ve read in a long time, Pollution Is Colonialism is a truly exciting intellectual achievement. It argues for, and most importantly models, a decolonial scientific practice. A must-read book for anyone concerned about land relations.” — Joseph Masco, author of The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making

“This important book challenges the very sense of what pollution is, demonstrating its deep entanglements with settler colonialism, and then generously offers us anticolonial feminist methods that might better take up pollution's colonial form. This book is a model of what engaged feminist anticolonial STS research looks like.” — Michelle Murphy, author of The Economization of Life


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Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Max Liboiron is Associate Professor of Geography at Memorial University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
1. Land, Nature, Resource, Property  39
2. Scale, Harm, Violence, Land  81
3. An Anticolonial Pollution Science  113
Bibliography  157
Index  187
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1413-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1322-8