Rachel E. Luft, PhD
Associate Professor, Sociology
On Sabbatical until April 2021
Building/Room: Casey 310-14
Dr. Rachel E. Luft is Associate Professor of Sociology at Seattle University with affiliation in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. An activist-scholar, her primary areas of research specialization are race, gender, intersectionality, social movements, and the utopian imaginary. Her current project, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, explores the role of politicized healing and transformative practice in social movements for racial and gender justice.
For years following Hurricane Katrina, which struck while she was teaching at the University of New Orleans, Professor Luft was a participant observer in grassroots social movement responses to the crisis. Her research explores what she calls racialized disaster patriarchy—a complement to Naomi Klein’s notion of disaster capitalism—which describes the intersectional dimensions of disaster and disaster movement organizing. Publications on racialized disaster patriarchy can be found in Feminist Formations, American Quarterly, The National Women’s Studies Association Journal, and a series of book chapters in edited volumes. Other publications examine the relationship between economic justice and Indigenous sovereignty against the backdrop of disaster, the domestication of human rights frameworks in racial justice movements, and women’s intersectional organizing.
Professor Luft teaches courses on race, gender, feminist methodologies, the sociological imagination, and social movements. Her current teaching passion is an experimental course, “The Utopian Imaginary: Freedom Dreams,” which explores radical futures by drawing on historical social movements, visionary fictions, and alternative economies, with an emphasis on abolition, transformative justice, and feminist praxis. In 2019 Professor Luft received Seattle University’s Faculty of the Year Award and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award.
- Luft, Rachel E. 2016. “Disaster Patriarchy: An Intersectional Model for Understanding Disaster at the Ten-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.” Feminist Formations28, No. 2. Summer. Pp. 1-26. Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. 2016. “Men and Masculinities in the Social Movement for a Just Reconstruction After Hurricane Katrina.” Pp. 34-44 in Men, Masculinities and Disaster: Revisiting the Gendered Terrain of Disaster, eds Elaine Enarson and Bob Pease. London: Routledge Press. [Invited chapter]. Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. 2016. “Governing Disaster: The Politics of Tribal Sovereignty in the Context of [Un]Natural Disaster.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 39, No. 5. Pp. 802-820. Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. 2012. “Community Organizing in the Katrina Diaspora: Race, Gender, and the Case of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund.” Pp. 233-255 in Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora, eds Lori Peek and Lynn Weber. The Katrina Bookshelf Series. Austin: University of Texas Press. Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. 2009. "Beyond Disaster Exceptionalism: Social Movement Developments in New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina." American Quarterly. Special Volume: In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: New Paradigms and Social Visions 61, No. 3. (September). Pp. 499-528. Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. and Jane Ward. 2009. "Toward an Intersectionality Just Out of Reach: Confronting Challenges to Intersectional Practice." Pp. 9-37 in Advances in Gender Research. Special Volume: Intersectionality, eds Vasilikie Demos and Marcia Texler Segal. UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited (JAI). Read the article (PDF)
- Luft, Rachel E. 2008. "Looking for Common Ground: Relief Work in Post-Katrina New Orleans as an American Parable of Race and Gender Violence." National Women's Studies Association Journal: Special Volume: Katrina, Gender, and Place 20. No. 3. (Fall). Pp. 5-31. Read the article (PDF)