I defended my doctoral thesis in political philosophy at Queen’s University in May 2013. My doctoral thesis examined liberal statist and liberal cosmopolitan theories of international relations, focusing in particular on how these theories address questions of human rights and humanitarian intervention. For a liberal committed to the ideals of equality, toleration, and freedom, the central dilemma involved in formulating a theory of global justice regards how best to explain the international analogues of these domestic ideals. A major component of my work explores the interplay between liberal ideals of equality and freedom, and the realities of oppression, marginalization, and privilege as these play out both domestically and globally. The tension that concerns me in the global justice literature seems to have a variety of applications in the environmental justice literature, especially as they are increasingly applied to questions of global environmental justice.My research project at CRÉ aims to build a bridge between global justice and environmental justice. In recent years, theorists of global justice and cosmopolitanism have increasingly concerned themselves with environmental issues of global concern, especially climate change. At the same time, concerns about environmental injustice have taken a global scope. Yet, the two literatures are not sufficiently in dialogue with each other.
The environmental justice literature starts from the observation of a correlation between socio-economic marginalization and environmental marginalization. The sadly familiar correlation between social marginalization and alienation from pristine environments is made all the worse by another correlation between social marginalization and exposure to toxicity. Until recently, the correlations examined within the environmental justice literature have, for the most part, focused on these correlations within a single state, rather than global correlations between privilege and access to the environment, or between oppression and exposure to toxicity. Yet a global correlation is nonetheless evident, and should be of deep concern to both the environmental justice movement and activists concerned with global justice, human development, and human rights. The environmental justice movement increasingly aims to explore the correlations between global socio-economic marginalization and global environmental marginalization, and, to that end, my project examines how an established global justice methodology can contribute to the project of globalizing environmental justice.
- ‘Food Deserts, Justice, and the Distributive Paradigm’ presented at the North American Society for Social Philosophy conference, July 2013.
- ‘Towards a Theory of Global Environmental Justice’ to be presented at the Association for Political Theory conference, Vanderbilt University, Oct 2013.