"The Intersectionality of the Resistance in the US Fascinates Me." Visiting Professor Dana R. Fisher
In this short interview, Dana R. Fisher, visiting professor at LUCSUS, gives us an insight into her research interests, what she is working on, and what excites her at the moment. Professor Fisher is a professor of sociology and Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland.
What are your research interests?
Broadly, my research interests are around climate politics, environmental engagement, activism, and civic participation.
I’m driven by a personal interest in these issues. I came to social science late, when I entered my PhD programme actually. Before that I worked both as an activist and a lobbyist for environmental groups. I found that I needed more answers, and that led me to pursue a life in academia. I wanted more knowledge. All my research is based around politics, and politics and the environment, my aim is to see how democracy works, and how it can lead us to creating a more sustainable society.
Having worked in politics as a lobbyist and also as an activist, I understand the political realities. In my books, I now write for a broader and more generalist audience since I think it is really important to get the word out to the public. I have written five books up to now, and going forward my books are being targeted for the general public. I want them to learn from my research and writing so it makes an impact on society.
At this point, I want my research to reach beyond people in academia. I want to talk to many interested people; not just the few hyper-educated ones.
What brought you to LUCSUS?
Lennart Olsson, professor at LUCSUS, invited me here. Many years ago we were on a board together and since then I have enjoyed learning more and more about LUCSUS. I was thrilled to receive the invitation.
I have brought over my family too, which consist of my husband and two children. All of them are enjoying their stay a lot so far.
What do you hope to get out of your stay?
During my time here I will complete parts of the book I’m writing on activism which is called American Resistance. In the book, I’m writing about how the resistance has emerged and is working in America. I utilise data from the recent protest marches in the US. The book will be published first online as a Book-In-Progress at: TheAmericanResistanceBook.wordpress.com. The final manuscript will be published in revised book form by Columbia University Press after our mid-term elections in 2019.
During my stay in Lund, I will also write a number of papers around climate politics in the US and the 2016 elections. The MacArthur Foundation has funded this Climate Constituences Project and my sabbatical.
Finally, I will also be giving some lectures and host some evening seminars, maybe with a focus on Trump and his impact on politics and the environment.
What societal and/or environmental movement excites you at the moment?
What I think is very fascinating is the intersectionality you see in the US Resistance at the moment. Movements that used to be separate are now working together – such as different environmental groups and civil rights movements. Trump has become a unifying target for all of these groups. One example of this was the recent protest against Trump in Phoneix, Arizona in August. Although people came out to protest different causes such as environmental politics, gender and racial issues, and transsexual rights for example, everyone stood together as one group.