AMST 214
African American Environmental Culture from Slavery to Environmental Justice Fall 2014 (also offered Spring 2015)
Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed ENVI 212 / AFR 218 / AMST 214
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Until the environmental justice movement rose to prominence over the past few decades and invited a more critical perspective on the connection between race and the environment, popular understanding of the American environmental (and environmentalist) tradition had effectively been whitewashed. But why? This course will work to find answers to that question while unearthing the deeper roots of African American environmental culture in conversation with key moments in African American history; from slavery to sharecropping, from migration and urbanization to environmental justice. With an interdisciplinary approach that considers sources as diverse as slave narratives, fiction, poetry, songs, photographs, maps, and ethnographies, we will consider African American intellectuals, writers, and visual and musical artists not always associated with environmental thought, from W.E.B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston to the Black Panthers and Marvin Gaye. Evaluation considers active, informed participation in class discussion based on assigned readings, midterm and final exams, and three 5-7 page essays. Students are also expected to research and respond to one news article exploring some aspect of the intersection between race and the environment over the course of the semester, and to share your findings with the class for discussion. This course fulfills the Exploring Diversity Initiative requirement by examining the themes of empathetic understanding and power and privilege. Among many other paths of inquiry, we will examine how African American environmental culture has evolved in conversation with an historical context of discrimination, racism, and inequality.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1957
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation considers weekly written responses and active, informed participation in class discussion based on assigned readings; two 6- to 8-page essays; and a 12- to 15-page final essay revising and expanding an earlier essay
Extra Info: students also expected to research &respond to at least one news article exploring some aspect of the intersection between race and the environment over the course of the semester, &to share your findings with the class for discussion
Extra Info 2: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: open to first-year and continuing students
Distributions: Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: carries Division 2 credit
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI 212 Division II AFR 218 Division II AMST 214 Division II
Attributes: ENVP SC-B Group Electives

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