Suzana M. Sawyer F'17
ACLS Fellowship Program 2017
University of California, Davis
Suing Chevron: Law, Science, and Contamination in Ecuador and Beyond
Rarely do complaints of contamination in marginalized places reach a court of law, let alone get litigated or prevail. “Suing Chevron” traces the events that compelled an Ecuadorian court to render a $9 billion ruling against the Chevron Corporation for environmental contamination in 2011, and then led a federal court in the United States to delegitimize that judgment five years later. Countering Chevron’s corruption narrative, this project explores how the Ecuadorian litigation might serve as an instructive socio-legal forum for reckoning nearly intractable contamination disputes. In a world where complex systems connect the fates of disparate human and nonhuman communities and where ever-multiplying events of indeterminate harm result from corporate activity, this project pays careful attention to how we reconcile socio-ecological controversies, make sense of corporate actions, and think about transnational jurisprudence and environmental accountability across the globe.