ecuador + oil

Since 2011, my research has focused on the effects of oil extraction on health, struggles for environmental justice, and exploring how the proliferation of toxicants into the very fibers of biological and social life has become a fundamental part of human and more-than-human experience on a changing planet.

My book, Reckoning with Harm: The Toxic Relations of Oil in Amazonia, explores how these themes have played out in the northeastern corner of Ecuador. Based on more than 27 months of ethnographic fieldwork, the book travels from forest-courtrooms, to oily waste pits, farms, public protests, environmental justice campaigns, citizen-led pollution monitoring, and ‘toxic tours,’ exploring how harm from oil is entangled with daily life and the tensions surrounding efforts to verify, represent, and redress it in practice. Examining how place-based articulations of toxicity can constitute a critical form of knowledge production, I demonstrate the need for an expansive understanding of harm from extraction, one that is relational and contingent.

This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. The manuscript will be published in November 2023, by the University of Texas Press.


  • Reckoning with Harm: The Toxic Relations of Oil in Amazonia



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Barrels of oil waste wait to be incinerated at the Incinerox waste facility in Shushufindi, Ecuador. Photo credit: Amelia Fiske 2011-2012