Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Major Professor

Nina H. Fefferman

Committee Members

Elizabeth Derryberry, Garriy Shteynberg, David Talmy


For several years, conversations about the absence of racial and ethnic diversity in ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) and the conservation movement have been growing in scope. Critics argue that the overwhelmingly white demography of EEB departments and conservation organizations deprive both of a necessary diversity of perspective and, more importantly, deprive people of color and other minoritized groups of a voice in the study of and advocacy for their lived environments. Here, I situate the current conversations in historical context, arguing that the current lack of diversity is in part a reflection of the material and ideological bases for environmentalist thought being deeply embedded in the white supremacist assumptions of a colonialist perspective. I further argue that, if our departments and organizations are to truly diversify, we must both confront this history explicitly, and open ourselves to critical perspectives from groups and coalitions we have previously ignored.

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