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Bird on Fire: Lessons from the world’s least sustainable city with Andrew Ross

A conversation about the new book

BIRD ON FIRE:

Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City

by

Andrew Ross

Friday, October 28th, 2011
Room 9206/9207 | 6:30 – 8:30pm
The CUNY Graduate Center | 365 5th Avenue, NY 10016

With Discussants:

Neil Smith, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography, the CUNY Graduate Center

Melissa Checker, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies, Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Ashley Dawson, Professor of English, College of Staten Island and the CUNY Graduate Center

 

Andrew Ross is a Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU, as well as a prolific author and journalist. His research covers a broad range of topics including labor and work; urban and suburban studies; intellectual history; social and political theory; science; ecology and technology; and cultural studies. He is the author of numerous books on urban sociology, labor, and the organization of work, such as No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers, published in 1998, and Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair Labor published in 2002. His other titles include No-Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs, about employees in Internet companies during the New Economy boom and bust, and Fast Boat to China: Corporate Flight and the Consequences of Free Trade, about skilled Chinese employees of foreign firms in Shanghai and other Yangtze Delta cities, and Nice Work if You Can Get it: Life and Labor in Precarious Times, an analysis of changing patterns in the nature of creative work and contingent employment.

His latest book, Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, draws on his fieldwork in Phoenix, Arizona. Focusing on areas such as water supply, metropolitan growth, renewable energy, downtown revitalization, immigration policy, and patterns of pollution, the book argues that urban managers have to base policy on combating environmental injustices in order to avoid replicating the condition of “eco-apartheid” that prevails in Phoenix and other major urban areas.

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What others are saying about Andrew Ross…

“Books by Andrew Ross are always exhilarating adventures at the cutting edge of social thought, but Bird on Fire is particularly fascinating. Rather than recounting the green virtues of some demi-paradise like Vermont or San Francisco, he descends directly into the ecological and economic hell fires of Phoenix.  The result is a landmark study of the micropolitics of the struggle for urban sustainability where the stakes are the highest.”
—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

“If Phoenix could be greened, any place on earth could do it. And as this book makes clear, democracy and social justice will be every bit as key as solar panels. Fascinating!”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“Bird on Fire is a stunning report from the front lines. Ross vividly shows how and why our big cities are one of the top places where the fight to contain climate change will either be won or lost.”
—James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World and co-founder of the National Resources Defense Council

“This is a superb and important book. With a sweeping command of the subject, Andrew Ross reads from the entrails of Phoenix a story with hopeful insights for all of humane civilization. His graceful prose and political clarity make Bird on Fire not only useful but also very compelling and pleasurable to read.”
—Christian Parenti, author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

“Bird on Fire is a triumph. The future and sustainability of Phoenix are not local questions, but ones of national and global importance. Andrew Ross examines them with a keen radar for the interplay of power, class, greed, prejudice and the mythology of both the American West and the great Sunbelt migration. In the process, he has also given us the finest history we have yet of modern Phoenix, a massive metropolis whose consequence is cloaked by its reputation for sun, golf and right-wing politics. This is a must-read.”
—Jon Talton, author of South Phoenix Rules and former columnist for The Arizona Republic

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