I am an Associate Professor of English and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon. I research and teach classes on the relationship between race and the environment, immigration and citizenship, food studies, environmental justice, and nature in popular culture. I am particularly interested in a comparative approach to Asian American and Latinx literature and culture.
I first discovered the Pacific Northwest when attending Reed College (’01 American Studies). After I finished my undergraduate degree, I worked with several environmental non-profits: American Lands Alliance, ForestEthics, Rainforest Relief, and Bark. Working on issues around public lands and logging intensified my curiosity about the relationship among race, labor, citizenship, and the environment.
I headed off to graduate school in American Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island hoping to better understand the ways categories of identity and social hierarchies structured the underlying assumptions of the environmental movement. While living in Rhode Island, I witnessed the momentum of the immigration rights movement and the suffering caused by workplace immigration raids. Immigration and citizenship became central categories in my scholarship. In 2009, I was awarded my PhD and received the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award from Brown University.
My first book, The Nature of California; Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl focuses on the paradoxical ways that farmers and farmworkers in California have been represented from the 1930s to the start of the twenty-first century. It examines the ways that depictions of farming and farm labor have never just been about those who labor in the earth, but have also presented a site to think through national belonging. The book exposes the process by which some people come to be seen as legitimately “American” while others are named as aliens, suggesting the ways in which the categories of natural and unnatural structure the U.S. system of racial gate-keeping.
- Faculty Profile: http://envs.uoregon.edu/news/faculty-profile/
Follow me on Twitter: @SarahDWald
Questions? Comments? Want to schedule a book talk or other event? Email Me