Graduation Year

2016

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Angela Stuesse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dinorah Martinez Tyson, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Committee Member

Rebecca Zarger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Baldwin, Ph.D.

Keywords

African American History, Central Florida, Community Benefits Agreements, Environmental justice, Political ecology, Power

Abstract

Progress Village, a historically Black neighborhood outside of Tampa, FL, encountered structural violence that included construction of an adjacent phosphogypsum stack. Why the neighborhood signed a legal agreement with the stack’s operating industry and the impacts of this decision provides a lesson in critical environmental justice. Theories of urban political ecology frame exploration of resident priorities, relationships with industry, risk perceptions, and health concerns. Utilizing activist anthropology, this thesis aims to be mutually beneficial to scholarly and neighborhood development. Ultimately, this research demonstrates how southern gradualism, racism, and a trend towards isolationism created today’s striving, yet marginalized and divided community. This thesis encourages scholarship on everyday resident-industry interactions and provides insights to strengthen future Community Benefits Agreements, while questioning if such agreements serve environmental justice.

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