Rare Earth Frontiers

LMN is delighted to announce the second Resisting Mining Book Club 2022 with guest speaker Julie Michelle Klinger, who will be speaking about her book Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes (Cornell University Press, 2017).

About the book:

Rare Earth Frontiers is a work of human geography that serves to demystify the powerful elements that make possible the miniaturization of electronics, green energy and medical technologies, and essential telecommunications and defence systems. Julie Michelle Klinger draws attention to the fact that the rare earths we rely on most are as common as copper, meaning that the implications of their extraction are global.

Klinger details the devastating damage to lives and the environment caused by the exploitation of rare earths. She demonstrates in human terms how scarcity myths have been conscripted into diverse geopolitical campaigns that use rare earth mining as a pretext to capture spaces that have historically fallen beyond the grasp of centralized power. These include legally and logistically forbidding locations in the Amazon, Greenland, and Afghanistan, and on the Moon. Drawing on ethnographic, archival, and interview data gathered in local languages and offering possible solutions to the problems it documents, this book examines the production of the rare earth frontier as a place, a concept, and a zone of contestation, sacrifice, and transformation.

Julie Michelle Klinger will give an introductory lecture which will be followed by a Q&A. You do not need to have read the book to attend this meeting. However, if you want to read it, the book is available to buy in the UK. You can also download the book here: https://cornellopen.org/9781501714597/rare-earth-frontiers/

About the author:

Julie Michelle Klinger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on dynamics of global resource frontiers and space-based technologies with particular emphases in China, Brazil, and the United States; how diverse forms of violence and strategies for survival shape land use, environmental conservation, and livelihood security; rare earth elements; natural resource use; environmental politics; and outer space.