Drawing upon a long history of anti-racist, feminist, and decolonial struggles, Malini Ranganathan continues our “Just Environments” series with an essay that suggests freedom can serve as a powerful analytic through which to reimagine environmental justice. Ranganathan makes the case that a comprehensive understanding of freedom must include (though, crucially, is not limited to) the ability to live in a safe and clean environment. Situating environmental harms within a broader emancipatory politics, she brings us closer to redressing multiple, intersectional injustices.
Malini Ranganathan is an assistant professor in the School of International Service and a faculty fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Center at American University in Washington, DC. Trained in urban studies, environmental studies, and critical geography, her scholarship focuses on the politics and history of environmental justice and grassroots struggles surrounding unequal access to water, land, and housing in India and the United States. Her work is published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Antipode, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, among other venues. She is a 2017-2019 recipient of an American Council for Learned Societies-Andrew W. Mellon research grant for a collaborative book project across urban studies and literature on global urban inequality, dispossession, and the ethics and stories that infuse urban space.