This talk will focus on my recent book Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice. Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most contested lands in all of North America. Considered sacred by Indigenous peoples in Alaska and Canada and treasured by environmentalists, the refuge provides life-sustaining habitat for caribou, polar bears, migratory birds, and other species. For decades, though, the fossil fuel industry and powerful politicians have sought to turn this unique ecosystem into an oil field. Defending the Arctic Refuge reveals how unlikely activists, diverse alliances, and grassroots visual culture helped build a political movement that transformed the issue into a struggle for environmental justice. The book casts new light on where history happens and how non-iconic images act in the world. This talk will share stories from the book, feature images from Arctic lands and communities, and trace the history of a movement that is still alive today.
About the Speaker
Finis Dunaway is professor of history at Trent University, where he teaches courses in United States history, environmental studies, and media studies. He is the author of Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images (2015), which received the John G. Cawelti Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association and the History Division Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. His most recent book is Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice (2021), which received the Hal K. Rothman Award from the Western History Association, the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Nonfiction from the Western Writers of America, and the Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize from the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada. His writings have also appeared in American Quarterly, Environmental History, and other scholarly journals and in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, The Hill, and Truthout.