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“Whiteness” and relationship to land: an exploration of culture and belonging with settler-farmers in Northern Arizona

White, Heather (2021) “Whiteness” and relationship to land: an exploration of culture and belonging with settler-farmers in Northern Arizona. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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This research is focused on ideas of racial designators and how those consciously or unconsciously affect peoples’ relationships with place and land in Flagstaff, Arizona. The qualitative data was collected by interviewing five small-scale farmers and growers local to the area, and I spoke to growers who are self-identified and societally considered racially white, or white-passing in one case. I addressed the following research questions: (1) How are non-native farmers in and around Flagstaff, Arizona (a border-town with Indigenous Nations in the southwest United States) reconciling their whiteness with their land-work in a settler-colonial society? (2) Do these non-Indigenous farmers think unpacking “whiteness” would help settler growers in connecting with the land, the self, and the greater community to create robust and healthy local food systems? If so, how? Throughout this thesis I examine the vast body of literature in whiteness, settler-colonialism, and capitalism that underpin my research questions. I explore these farmers’ senses and perceptions of belonging on occupied land, and found that half of them feel they do not belong. I discuss the importance of these settler farmers disassembling their white identity in order to participate in community-based solidarity, and how they believe growing spaces can be spaces of transformative action. Finally, I explore the great unknowns that climate change carries through all of this, and how some of these farmers are considering a world in which farming must be moveable.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: climate change; northern arizona; permaculture; racial theory; settler-colonialism; whiteness
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sustainable Communities
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2022 16:48
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2022 16:48
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5666

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