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Dr. Jennifer Grubbs: Mourning the Present

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Dr. Jennifer Grubbs

In a guest blog for McGill-Queen’s University Press, enviro-feminist anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Jennifer Grubbs directs our attention to the upcoming commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the murder of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right Rally that occurred on August 12th, 2017 in Charlottesville, VA. 

“Heyer was born just three months after me, in 1985, and was 32 when she was killed attending the counter-demonstration. James Alex Fields Jr., drawn to Nazism, traveled to Virginia from a town about 30 minutes from my home in Ohio, to join white supremacists across the U.S.”

Dr. Grubbs explains that, following the murder of Heyer, GOP bills in the states of Oklahoma, Florida, and Iowa were passed granting immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters in public streets. GOP in Indiana and Minnesota have also proposed bills that would administer stringent punishments to anyone convicted of unlawful assembly – harkening back to legislation created in the Jim Crow era. 

“Under the presidency of Donald Trump, fascists were not made; they were empowered,” she writes. “Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric tapped into the racist and anti-Semitic consciousness that undergirds the U.S. He is a trust-fund baby who has transformed himself from a failed real estate tycoon, to a canceled reality television star, to a rebel ex-president that bathes in the swamp he promised to drain.” 

Dr. Grubbs explains that her new book, Ecoliberation: Reimagining Resistance and the Green Scare, focuses on anarchist eco-activism “through a decade-long ethnographic account of their resistance to- and interpolation of state-sanctioned violence.” She draws on her personal experiences within the movement to offer thoughtful and intersectional analysis, and in her book, she explains how the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to silence and repress anarchist eco-activists. 

Dr Grubbs has boycotted, protested, and engaged in grassroots organizing for ecological and animal liberation, and her research bridges feminist anthropology, environmental communication, and queer studies-both in method and application. Her work examines the creative and confrontational ways in which activists co-create identities of resistance within neoliberal capitalism to dismantle ecological and species hierarchies through the spectacle of protest.

Read Dr. Jennifer Grubbs’ new guest blog ‘Mourning the Present’ on MQUP.