University of Colorado at Boulder

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Graduate Student Alumni

Abby Hickcox

Cultural Geography, Political Ecology, Environmental Justice, Race

Ph.D. Geography 2012

Human Geography | Environment-Society
Emily Yeh (Faculty Advisor)


2012 - Open Space? Environmentalism and the Politics of Belonging in Boulder, Colorado

Research Interests

Ph.D. Dissertation title: Open Space? Environmentalism and the Politics of Belonging in Boulder, Colorado

My dissertation uses an environmental justice framework to investigate how environmental discourses intersect with racial discourses in Boulder, Colorado by examining the politics of belonging constructed through local environmental narratives. It argues, first, that racial discourses undergird many environmental narratives, decisions, and visions in Boulder. Second, people’s experiences of belonging and exclusion in Boulder are expressed in spatial terms, including city spaces and open space. Third, attempts at social inclusivity in Boulder across race and class lines often elide unequal power relations inherent in such social differences. By examining environmental discourse, racial discourse, and the overlap between the two in the specific location of Boulder, my study informs the ways environmental meanings and racial meanings overlap at multiple scales and thus potential ways forward in making environmental protection more inclusive and socially just.

Selected Publications

Abby Hickcox. (2009). Green Belt, White City: Race and the Natural Landscape in Boulder, Colorado. Discourse 29(2&3, Spring and Fall 2007): 236-259. .

Publications updated February 2011

Recent courses taught