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First-ever faculty position in environmental justice launches at the Jackson School

April 22, 2022

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SEATTLE, WA – Danya Al-Saleh, a feminist geographer with expertise in Environmental Studies and Middle East Studies from the University of California Los Angeles, will join the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington as Assistant Professor of International Studies.

Danya Al-Saleh

Danya Al-Saleh

“This was a highly competitive search with over 400 applications for the job, and we are delighted that Dr. Al-Saleh will be joining us,” said Jackson School Director Leela Fernandes. “Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues that we face. This position centers the need to think about questions of inequality as we deal with the impact of climate change.”

It is the school’s first faculty position dedicated entirely to the field of environmental justice. The purpose is to underscore both the urgency of the climate crisis and how environmental harms are distributed and impact communities in uneven ways both within and across nation-states.

Al-Saleh is currently the American Council of Learned Societies Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Humanities and Department of Geography at UCLA. Her latest research sits at the intersection of Gulf Studies, political economy, energy geographies, and critical university studies. Her work demonstrates the connections among energy transition, engineering, the role of gender and how U.S. universities are transnational actors in environmental injustice through their ties to fossil fuels.

“I am excited to be joining a public university like UW, and to collaborate with such remarkable and dedicated colleagues across the university,” said Al-Saleh. “My work is quite interdisciplinary, so the Jackson School is an ideal intellectual community to develop my research and teaching on the interconnected crises of climate change, U.S. imperialism, and energy transition. I am really looking forward to thinking and learning with students in the classroom.”

Al-Saleh will teach courses on environmental justice at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She will also contribute to the School’s U.S. in the World program, a series of course and public events that focuses on U.S. foreign policy impacts. The role will allow the Jackson School to develop connections with the College of the Environment and Geography as well as many other units that focus on the Middle East and environmental issues.

Her first course, ‘The University and Climate Justice” (JSIS 478D/578C), to be held in autumn quarter, will examine the role of universities in upholding the injustices of an extractive fossil fuel-based economy and in producing environmental expertise and labor that facilitated slavery, Indigenous dispossession, and imperialism abroad.

Al-Saleh earned a doctoral degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021 and a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology in 2014 at CUNY Graduate Center. She has studied Arabic in Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, and does her research in Arabic and English. Al-Saleh begins her new role at the Jackson School in September 2022.