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WildnessRelations of People and Place$
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Gavin Van Horn and John Hausdoerffer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226444666

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226444970.001.0001

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Wild Black Margins

Wild Black Margins

Chapter:
(p.137) 14 Wild Black Margins
Source:
Wildness
Author(s):

Mistinguette Smith

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226444970.003.0015

This essay contrasts traditional conservation perspectives with self-described black experiences of relationship to land. Interviews with black people about their relationship to land describe experiences of unbounded intimacy with the natural world found with equal measure in urban, rural, and “wilderness” spaces. Questioning the hard boundaries between wild and cultivated life, interview participants describe black relationships to land as creating a liminal space where history meets and becomes part of the natural landscape. Social marginalization based on race is revealed to create both enduring transgenerational land-based harm and a unique ecotone, filled with diversity, resilience, and the seeds of wild black knowledge.

Keywords:   black land, race, margin, urban wild, boundaries, ownership, ecotone

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