Cover of Refusing Death by Nadia Y. Kim
Refusing Death
Immigrant Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice in LA
Nadia Y. Kim


384 pages.
from $30.00

Hardcover now $60.00 (50% off)
Paperback now $15.00 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804792660
Paperback ISBN: 9781503628175
Ebook ISBN: 9781503628182

Request Review/Desk/Examination Copy


Excerpts and More

Winner of the 2022 ASA AAA Asian America Book Award, sponsored by the American Sociological Association - Asia and Asian America Section.

Winner of the 2022 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, sponsored by the American Sociological Association (ASA) - Race, Gender, and Class Section.

Winner of the 2022 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, sponsored by Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University.

Winner of the 2023 Distinguished Scholarship Award, sponsored by the Pacific Sociological Association (PSA).

Silver Medal in the 2022 Nautilus Book Awards - Social Change & Social Justice Category.

Winner of the 2023 AAAS Best Book in Social Sciences Award, sponsored by the Association for Asian American Studies.

Honorable Mention for the 2023 Sociology of the Body and Embodiment Best Publication Award, sponsored by the American Sociological Association (ASA) - Bodies and Embodiment Section.

Winner of the 2023 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award, sponsored by the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).

Honorable Mention in the 2022 ASA Section on Latina/o Sociology Best Book Award, sponsored by the American Sociological Association (ASA) - Section on Latino/a Sociology.

Honorable Mention in the 2022 Sociology of Emotions Outstanding Recent Contribution Award, sponsored by the American Sociology Association (ASA) - Section on Sociology of Emotions.

The industrial-port belt of Los Angeles is home to eleven of the top twenty oil refineries in California, the largest ports in the country, and those "racist monuments" we call freeways. In this uncelebrated corner of "La La Land" through which most of America's goods transit, pollution is literally killing the residents. In response, a grassroots movement for environmental justice has grown, predominated by Asian and undocumented Latin@ immigrant women who are transforming our political landscape—yet we know very little about these change makers. In Refusing Death, Nadia Y. Kim tells their stories, finding that the women are influential because of their ability to remap politics, community, and citizenship in the face of the country's nativist racism and system of class injustice, defined not just by disproportionate environmental pollution but also by neglected schools, surveillance and deportation, and political marginalization. The women are highly conscious of how these harms are an assault on their bodies and emotions, and of their resulting reliance on a state they prefer to avoid and ignore. In spite of such challenges and contradictions, however, they have developed creative, unconventional, and loving ways to support and protect one another. They challenge the state's betrayal, demand respect, and, ultimately, refuse death.

About the author

Nadia Y. Kim is Professor of Sociology at Loyola Marymount University. She is the author of the award-winning book Imperial Citizens (Stanford, 2008).

"Immigrant environmental justice movements are at the leading edge of social change in global cities, and yet they are frequently overlooked. Nadia Kim delivers a major intervention for reassessing the impacts of these movements, extending our vision with a keen ethnographic eye, a compelling narrative, and robust theoretical analyses."

—David Naguib Pello, author of What is Critical Environmental Justice?

"An urgent, much-needed account of the activism of Filipin@ and Latin@ immigrant activists in Los Angeles. Spotlighting gendered resistance and community citizenmaking, Kim effectively recasts environmental justice to mean commitment to care for both physical and emotional lives."

—Yen Lê Espiritu, University of California, San Diego

"An innovative and close-up look at the ways in which Latin@ and Filipin@ activists mobilize bodies, emotions, and gendered caregiving in their struggle for environmental justice."

—Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, University of Southern California

"The author poignantly conveys how aware these women are that pollution in their community is assaulting their bodies and emotions and leading to death. One of the book's major strengths is the respectful and culturally sensitive manner in which Kim employs mixed methods and intersectional approaches to detail how the women-led act of embodied citizenship—emotional support of one's neighbors against the assault of 'bioneglect'—constitutes a key resistance strategy....Highly recommended."

—I. Coronado, CHOICE

"I found the focus on embodiment and the expansion of Foucauldian thought to bioneglect to be the most compelling parts of this book. In addition, I was struck by Kim's honesty when she reported contradictions in the field."

—Sanchita Dasgupta, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

"Kim's book is an essential read and eminently teachable. It will be a new classic in environmental justice, grounded in the original home discipline of the field and drawing from key works of sociologists like Robert Bullard, Beverly Wright, and David Pellow."

—Julie Sze, American Journal of Sociology