Note: The syllabus for this course is available upon request.
Explores environmental justice as both a field of scholarship and organizing framework that links power, justice, and inequality to environmental issues. Special attention is given to the specific forms of racism which produce environmental injustice.
Environmental justice is a field of scholarship and an organizing framework that links power, justice, and inequality to environmental issues. This course explores environmental justice, including its political and scholarly roots, and its relationship to social structures, including capitalism, colonization, and white supremacy. Environmental justice’s point of departure is the belief that social inequalities are embedded in the environment. For example, pollution may be unevenly distributed among racially unequal populations.
Daily headlines include stories of contaminated water in Flint Michigan; drought in the southwest; Native peoples challenging oil pipelines; and the immoral geography of global warming, in which those suffering most bear the least responsibility for the problem. In addition, we are also contending with political and economic crises. Our task is to understand how these various forces intersect to create environmental inequities, how activists have responded to them, the movements they have built, and future challenges and opportunities. While environmental injustice can occur along any axis of difference and power, we will focus on race, economic inequality, and colonization.