STS 305
Environmental Political Thought Fall 2024
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed PSCI 305

Class Details

In the face of planetary crisis, it is as difficult as it is crucial to find the time and calm “to think what we are doing” (Hannah Arendt’s famous line). This course aims to hold space for that thinking; to collaboratively find the presence of mind to take the measure of the doings that caused, and that may redress, the awful reality of earth’s degradation. To do so, we will read, discuss, and write about some of the most significant book-length works of environmental political thought published in the last five years. These books conceptualize and intervene into the politics of phenomena such as climate change, species depletion, toxic pollution and (a special interest of the instructor) waste by applying–and sometimes reinventing–approaches from political theory, political economy, science & technology studies, philosophy, and critical theory. They consider the enmeshment of environmental problems with racism, colonialism, economic inequality, and speciesism, among other modalities of power, and weigh the promise of political action and organization to reconstitute relationships among earth’s human and more-than-human elements. By interpreting, evaluating, applying and extending the arguments of these books in discussion and writing, students will be challenged to scrutinize their preconceptions and develop, support and articulate original arguments about politics and the environment.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1722
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Four mini-essays of 2-3 pages each; one final paper of 7-10 pages that incorporates substantially revised material from at least one mini-essay; class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political theory concentrators, Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI 305 Division II STS 305 Division II
WS Notes: Students will discuss and fine-tune their writing processes in class and office hours. Students will be given written feedback on mini-essays, with particular attention to developing a sense of voice and purpose in written argumentation. This feedback will support their revision of at least one mini-essay as part of writing the final paper.
Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses

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