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Blowout: A Community’s Engagement with Fracking

Priscilla Solis Ybarra

Priscilla Solis Ybarra is an associate professor of English at the University of North Texas. In her scholarship, she bridges Chicanx/Latinx thought with environmental studies and ecocriticism in order to highlight Latinxs’ significant contributions to environmental thought. She teaches classes in Chicanx literature and theory as well as in environmental literatures and ecocriticism. Ybarra is the author of Writing the Goodlife: Mexican American Literature and the Environment and co-editor of Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial

Since 1992, Ybarra has had a long relationship with Denton, Texas. Ybarra grew up in Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas, as well as in Keene, Texas, a small town in nearby Johnson County. She moved to Denton to earn her undergraduate degree at UNT. Afterward, she left Denton and the metroplex to pursue her PhD, first at UCLA and then transferred to Rice University in Houston. She returned to Denton and the metroplex in 2010 when she accepted a job as an assistant professor. 

Although Ybarra was not directly involved with the Frack Free Denton movement, she offers a thoughtful analysis and reflection about how the movement to ban fracking changed the city. Drawing from her insights in environmental studies and ecocritism, she explains the productive coalitions and communities that were built during the movement. In addition, she highlights the positive outcomes of the movement. Despite the passing of HB40, Ybarra points out that there is much to be proud of, including the communities that emerged – communities that, as Ybarra says, cannot be banned. Included in her analysis and reflection are her memories of Denton during the time of the movement, the passing of HB40 and beyond. 

Ybarra assigned her environmental literature class an oral history project on the Frack Free Denton in 2015 which can be found here

To learn more about Ybarra's experiences, please listen to her full interview. Shorter, thematic clips may be accessed through the site's search.