Edited by Sherilyn MacGregor, “The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment” brings together leading edge theoretical and empirical research on a vast array of issues and debates in this ever-growing domain of study. It was written by a large number of outstanding scholars from various disciplines ranging from gender and environmental studies to human geography and feminist politics, from sociology and anthropology to development studies and international relations, and more broadly across the social sciences and humanities. It encompasses a diversity of perspectives which depart from mainstream conceptions of ‘the environment’ to reach out to environmental justice and posthumanist inclusive, and less objectified, interpretations of environment. The book is informed by developments in the feminist environmentalist analysis of the past 50 years – the turn to intersectionality. Specific chapters in this collection showcase the current more inclusive and comprehensive character of environmental feminism.
As part of SEI’s engagement with work that explores gender dimensions of vulnerability in the context of two of the main challenges of the 21st century, namely climate change and disaster risk, in Chapter 4 in the “Foundations” section of the Handbook, Bernadette P. Resurrección – Co-Leader of SEI’s gender and social equality programme – writes on the feminist political ecology of disasters. Resurrección goes beyond scientific analysis of natural disasters to capture the intersecting social and political aspects which shape environmental hazards and the complex coproduction of gendered vulnerabilities. In a similar vein, the 33 chapters showcase some truly stimulating work that addresses contemporary environmental and social insecurities resulting from the damaging practices of profit-centred neoliberal economic globalisation.
While more space for people’s voices and direct accounts of lived experiences, encounters and emotional reactions would have been welcomed, the Handbook is certainly successful in significantly contributing to current efforts towards establishing gender and environment scholarship as an ‘academic field’ (albeit multi-, inter-, and trans- disciplinary) rather than just an approach. Andreea R. Torre, Research Fellow at SEI Asia, has reviewed the Handbook for SEI’s gender and social equality programme.