Pembroke Center

Allison Puglisi

Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow


PhD American Studies, Harvard University, 2021

Dissertation: “Redefining Residency: Black Environmental Thought in New Orleans, 1929-1998”

Allison Puglisi, the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow, is a historian of Black social movements with a focus on gender, urban space, and the environment. She received her PhD in American Studies from Harvard in 2021, with a secondary certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. Her current project explores how twentieth-century Black New Orleanians—particularly women activists—contended with environmental issues and theorized their own relationships to nature.

In the spring of 2022, Dr. Puglisi is teaching the GNSS course "Black on Earth: Race, Gender, and the Environment." This seminar operates on the notion that white supremacy and environmental degradation are historically related—and that Black Americans have long confronted the two together. In this course, we will interrogate how different Black thinkers and activists have done so, from the Antebellum period to the present day. We will begin by considering how enslaved people drew from nature in their resistance to slavery and the Middle Passage. We will investigate the role of pollution, toxics, environmental disasters, gentrification, and more in the formation of a twentieth-century Black radical tradition. We will identify its constituent strands—feminism, communism, nationalism, and more—and their respective visions of liberation. Toward the end of the course, students will explore the environmental justice movement and Black-led responses to climate change.