Race and the Environment
Cross-listed as AFR211 / SOC211 / AMST211 / ENVI211
In contemporary societies, race remains an enduring impediment to the achievement of equality. Generally understood as a socially meaningful way of classifying human bodies hierarchically, race manifests itself in a number of arenas, including personal experience, economic production and distribution, and political organization. In this course, we will explore how race emerges in local and global environmental issues, like pollution and climate change. We will begin with a review of some of the landmark texts in Environmental Studies that address “environmental racism,” like Robert Bullard’s Dumping in Dixie and David Pellow’s Garbage Wars. We will examine how and to what extent polluting facilities like landfills, oil refineries, and sewage treatment plants are disproportionately located in communities of color; we will also pay attention to how specific corporations create the underlying rationale for plotting industrial sites. After outlining some of the core issues raised in this scholarship, we will turn to cultural productions–like literature, film, and music–to understand how people of color respond to environmental injustice and imagine the natural world.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, 2-3 short papers (5-7 pages), and a self-scheduled final
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: AFR Core Electives; AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora; AMST Space and Place Electives; ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives; PHLH Nutrition,Food Security+Environmental Health; PHLH Social Determinants of Health