AFR 24
Touring Black Environmental Futures in the New South Winter 2023

Class Details

This course will address three critical questions: (1) What is Black religion?; (2) What are the distinctive aspects of southern expressions of Black Protestant religion, particularly in Florida?; and (3) How do Black religious communities see themeselves in relation to broader environmental inequities? To address these questions, we will travel to Florida’s west coast and visit different Black church communities living in toxic environments. This includes The Life Center, a “mega-church” in Eatonville that sits near Tangelo Park, a neighborhood exposed to contaminants from weapons manufacturing; and Bryant Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), a small mainstream denominational church in Tallevast, site of a high profile case of groundwater contamination from beryllium engineering. Students will attend worship services at each church, and when possible, interview local residents about the role their faith plays in their weathering the challenges of environmental pollution. In addition to learning about Black religion along the west coast of Florida, students will visit and tour local historical sites significant to Black religious experiences, and meet with local academics, archivists, and leaders. Sites include: touring the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of the Fine Arts in Eatonville; visiting the Public Archaeology Lab at New College of Florida with Professor Uzi Baram; and touring the Family Heritage Museum at the State College of Florida with Kathie F. Marsh. During the final two weeks of the course, students will be paired to conduct research in Tallevast in one of four areas–documentary film production, targeted investigations into local archives, structured interviews with residents, and soil, water, and air testing. Students will have access to an electronic reading packet that will ground them briefly, though comprehensively, on Florida’s history of Black religious expressions.
The Class: Format: travel
Limit: 10
Expected: NA
Class#: 1029
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Final project or presentation.
Prerequisites: No previous experience is necessary. We especially invite students who are interested in experiential learning.
Enrollment Preferences: We will review application essays and hold interviews with the top 10 applicants. Preference will be given to majors and concentrators in Africana Studies, Religious Studies, and Environmental Studies.
Materials/Lab Fee: $4,300
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
TRVL Winter Study Travel Course

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