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Title page for ETD etd-12062016-142631

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McKane, Rachel Gayle
URN etd-12062016-142631
Title Toxic Waste & Race: The Changing Demographics Surrounding Superfund Sites in Tennesse
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David J. Hess Committee Chair
Daniel B. Cornfield Committee Member
Joshua Murray Committee Member
  • environmental justice
Date of Defense 2016-08-01
Availability unrestricted
The following paper examines the relationship between race, ethnicity, class, and Superfund sites in Tennessee using distance based modeling and census tract level data from 2000 and 2010. This project is novel for two reasons. First, the longitudinal nature of this project and the advanced methodology will bring us closer to an understanding of the spatial relationship between these variables over time. Second, this study takes a state based approach in order to examine the importance of place when assessing proximity to toxic waste. National level environmental justice studies may disguise regional or state level patterns of injustice, which can ultimately be detrimental in crafting policy to combat discrimination. The final results show differing patterns of environmental injustice between the years 2000 and 2010. For 2000, percent black, mean household income, and percent employed in manufacturing all play significant roles in determining where Superfund sites are located in Tennessee. However, for the year 2010, the only significant predictor of proximity to a Superfund site is percent black. These results may indicate that indirect racism is playing a large role in determining proximity to toxic waste.
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