“Historians of hegemonic U.S. ideologies, from Frederick Douglass and Max Weber through Cedric Robinson, can help us see how the growth imperative is bolstered by racialized theories of human evolution, of capitalism as economy, and of imperialism.”
Valerie Olson researches contemporary sociocultural processes that redefine what count as environments. Her current projects focus on how social groups use the system concept to perceive, organize, and control spatial relations, particularly on large scales. As an assistant professor at the UC Irvine Department of Anthropology, she serves on UCI interdisciplinary research teams and campus initiatives such as Water UCI, the Salton Sea Initiative, the UCI OCEANS Initiative, and the UCI Community Resilience program. She is the author of the book Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth (2018).