[Mar. 5 event] Conserving Plantation Geographies: Environmental Ethics and Racial Capitalism in the U.S. South

February 24, 2020

Levi Van Sant
Levi Van Sant, Ph.D.
George Mason University

Thursday, March 5
5:30 p.m.
Academic Learning Commons
Room 1100

Speaker: Levi Van Sant, Ph.D., George Mason University

Through analysis of the growth of conservation easements in coastal Georgia and South Carolina, this talk highlights the ways that regional environmental governance rearticulates the political ecologies of the plantation past. Conservation easements, a voluntary legal agreement whereby a landowner forfeits some of their land development rights in exchange for tax benefits, are an increasingly common strategy for protecting land from development in the US today. Dr. Levi Van Sant's analysis of the racial and class politics of conservation easements in the coastal US South suggests that they were actually an elite project from the start, rather than a reaction to constraints on public lands protection. Through a grounded analysis of environmental governance institutions and ideologies, this research highlights how conservation easements and other neoliberal projects rearticulate the founding logics of racial capitalism and, thus, regional inequalities.

Co-hosted by the Department of Sociology and the School of World Studies.