Fatal Masculinities: A Queer Look at Green Violence

Keywords: Rhino poaching, South Africa, green violence, linguistic landscapes, Frantz Fanon, Ruth Wilson Gilmore


The militarized response to the rhino poaching crisis in southern Africa exposes poachers to “fatal couplings of power and difference” (Gilmore 2002). While the racialized dimensions of this phenomenon are currently the subject of robust debate, this paper focuses on how race, gender, and sexuality are co-constructed in the anti-poaching discourse. Bringing the work of geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore into conversation with Frantz Fanon’s psycho-existential exposition of race, we read several campaign texts against their landscapes, revealing the role that gendered constructions of racial subjects play in justifying the extrajudicial killing of rhino poachers. We conclude that a geographic-linguistic approach to textual analysis usefully exposes the interconnectedness of gender, race, and sexuality at the heart of a modern conservationist campaign, and suggest that this framework complements queer geographic and intersectional approaches to racism.

Author Biographies

Scott Burnett, University of Gothenburg and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

PhD Candidate, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies

Tommaso M. Milani, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics
How to Cite
Burnett, Scott, and Tommaso Milani. 2017. “Fatal Masculinities: A Queer Look at Green Violence”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16 (3), 548-75. http://www.acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1372.
Themed Section - Critical Geographical Queer Semiotics (Guest Eds. M. Zebracki and T. Milani)