caroline eaton tracey
writer

caroline.e.tracey at gmail dot com

“Katherine Esau, the Immigrant Beet Biologist who Transformed Plant Science”
Lady Science
18 February 2021

“During the 19th and 20th centuries, the temperate world tried to turn beets' sugar content into a cash crop that could compete with tropical sugarcane. The industry made the rural, semi-arid American West and Midwest into fields dominated by corporate capitalism and brought German-Russian, Mexican, Chicano, Japanese, Chinese, and Native workers to work them. In the 79,000 acres planted in sugar beets in Colorado in 1909, for instance, 5,870 workers were German-Russian, 2,160 were Japanese, and 1,002 were Hispanic southern Coloradans and northern New Mexicans.

Esau was part of these flows of beet geopolitics, but in an unusual and privileged way. Esau’s life took her from refugee to ranch foreman, industry scientist to National Medal of Science winner. Yet by leaving the beet industry to become a research scientist, she enacted a politics of refusal, resisting the global, capitalist industry that defined her own mobility, seeking to understand plants rather than control them.“






reporting on the Arizona border wall, november 2022 (photo: Eliseu Cavalcante)


with Ellen Waterston and guest judge Raquel Gutiérrez at the 2022 Waterston Desert Writing Prize awards ceremony
Caroline Eaton Tracey writes about art, literature, environment, and migration in the US Southwest, Mexico, and the borderlands between the two. She speaks and works in English, Spanish, and Russian.

Currently, Caroline is the Climate Justice Fellow at the High Country News and an editor-at-large Zócalo Public Square. Her reporting appears in n+1, the Atlantic, the Nation, and elsewhere, as well as in Spanish in Mexico’s Nexos. Her reportage about migrant death in South Texas won the 2019 Scoundrel Time/Summer Literary Seminars nonfiction contest, and she was recently awarded the 2022 Waterston Prize for Desert Writing. 

Caroline’s personal essays appear in the Kenyon Review Online, Full Stop, New South, and elsewhere. “A River Passes By Here” was runner-up in the 2020 Financial Times/Bodley Head essay contest and “The Ephemeral Forever” won Ruminate Magazine’s 2021 VanderMey Nonfiction Contest. Her art writing has appeared in Nexos, Variable West, SFMOMA’s Open Space, and Burlington Contemporary.

Caroline holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives with her wife, Mexican architect and sculptor Mariana GJP, between Tucson, Arizona and Mexico City.

She is currently seeking representation for her manuscript SALT LAKES, which combines personal narrative, ekphrasis, and scientific writing to provide a new, queer perspective on climate change in arid environments, and preparing a book proposal about the effects of US border and migration policy in Mexico. 

Ask her about sugar beets.
Caroline Eaton Tracey escribe sobre el arte, la literatura, el medioambiente y la migración en México, el Suroeste de Estados Unidos y la frontera entre ellos. Habla ingles, español y ruso.

Actualmente, Caroline cubre justicia climática para la revista High Country News y colabora como editora en Zócalo Public Square. Sus artículos aparecen en n+1, The Nation y The Atlantic, entre otros lugares. En español escribe frecuentemente sobre la frontera norte para Nexos. En 2019, un artículo suyo sobre el fallecimiento de migrantes en el desierto del sur de Texas ganó el premio de no ficción de Scoundrel Time/Summer Literary Seminars, y in 2022 ganó el Premio Waterston por Escritura del Desierto.

Sus ensayos aparecen en Kenyon Review Online, Full Stop y New South, entre otros lugares. “Aquí Pasa Un Río” ganó segundo lugar en el premio de ensayo Financial Times/Bodley Head de 2020; en 2021 “Lo Efímero, Para Siempre” ganó el concurso de no-ficción VanderMey de Ruminate Magazine. Sus reseñas y ensayos sobre el arte han aparecido en Nexos, Variable West, Open Space (plataforma del Museo de Arte Moderno de San Francisco) y Burlington Contemporary.

Caroline es Doctora en Geografía de la Universidad de California–Berkeley. Vive con su esposa, la arquitecta y escultora mexicana Mariana GJP, entre Tucson, Arizona y la Ciudad de México.

Actualmente está buscando publicar su manuscrito de no-ficción lírica sobre lagos salados y preparando una propuesta para un libro sobre los efectos de la política migratoria/fronteriza de Estados Unidos en México. 

Pregúntale sobre betabeles.