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Habitable Air


Kerry’s research examines the politics of urban ecology, particularly in South Africa and the United States. I focus on different material elements – fire, water, air, and land – to analyze the historical practices and interactions that construct the intersections of gender, race, and class in everyday life. My first book, Living Politics in South Africa’s Urban Shacklands, centers on how the urban poor in South Africa, living on the margins without formalized work or basic infrastructure, come to inhabit political roles that transform environmental and economic relationships in the context of liberalism. My current project, Habitable Air: Gender, Race, and Poverty in the Time of Climate Change, investigates how “cancer alley” communities in South Africa and the United States, living in the shadows of a multi-national petrochemical company, manage the chemical and corporeal dynamics of life threatening air.

Kerry Ryan Chance is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, and a Non-Resident W.E.B Du Bois Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is in the process of publishing “Living Politics in South Africa's Urban Shacklands” (University of Chicago Press).