Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-7-2013

Major Department or Program

Politics - Environmental Studies


Charles Aaron Bobrow-Strain


Methyl Iodide, considered one of the most toxic chemicals on earth, was approved for agricultural use in California in 2010. Like most post-DDT pesticides, Methyl Iodide is acutely toxic at application, leaving the bodies of farmworkers disproportionally impacted by its use. This listing was successfully challenged by the diverse California-based anti-pesticide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), but in this study I explore the limitations of merely banning a pesticide. Because it is important to conceptualize pesticides in the context of a broader suite of issues facing a racial group, I explore to what degree CPR foregrounded race in its activism. I argue that CPR’s activism demonstrated an improvement over prior pesticide campaigns in that they intentionally prioritized farmworker voices, but could further benefit by using race-specific language. As food and environmental movements increasingly look to respond to criticisms that they ignore racial issues, these cross-racial, cross-issue coalitions can offer important lessons for future coalition work.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Coalitions -- Political, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLA), California Environmental Protection Agency -- Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), Californian for Pesticide Reform (Organization) (CPR), Methyl iodine (MeI), Latin Americans -- Latinos, Agricultural laborers -- Health aspects -- California, Pesticides -- Application -- Safety measures, Pesticides -- Toxicity -- Law and legislation, Pesticides -- Risk mitigation, Race relations -- farmworkers, Environmental justice -- California, Pesticides -- Environmental aspects -- California, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2013 -- Politics-Environmental Studies

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Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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