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Pepperoni or Broccoli? On the Cutting Wedge of Feminist Environmentalism

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Feminist environmentalism has become a significant intellectual and social policy force across fields as diverse as public health, political economy, philosophy, science, and ecology. Feminist environmental theory and activism together are challenging and redefining foundational principles, from animal rights to the environmental economy of illness and well-being, from global political economy to the role of Big Science as the primary arbiter of the state of the environment. Animal rights is one of the most intellectually challenging and innovative areas of intellectual activity and social activism, and within feminist environmentalism is one of the most radical subfields. This paper provides an overview of activity in this subfield, starting from the observation that feminist environmental scholarship and grassroots activism on animal rights pivot around three concerns: elucidating the commonalities in structures of oppressions across gender, race, class, and species; developing feminist-informed theories of the basis for allocating "rights" to animals; and exposing the gendered assumptions and perceptions that underlie human relationships to nonhuman animals. At the same time, the serious contemplation of animal rights makes a considerable contribution to destabilizing identity categories and adds new dimensions to theorizing the mutability of identity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Vermont

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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