ENVI 204
Colonialism, Capitalism and Climate Crisis Fall 2023
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed GBST 233 / AFR 233
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Class Details

Evolutions are part of human existence. These changes are not necessarily natural, uniform or linear across space and time. As colonial conquests sought to capture, dominate and exploit vast swathes of land, nature and people, supported by economic theories, violent, wide-ranging and long-term changes profoundly altered the environment and human-nature relationships. This course examines these transformations, specifically attending to the relationship between colonized/colonial (hu)man, nature and non-human species, drawing in perceptions of nature and the economy. Our starting point for this intellectual journey is the colonial imprint on human-ecological relations i.e. economic man, or Sylvia Wynter’s conception of “ethno-class man” and “homo-economicus”. We will consider social difference especially race as a central conjuncture of the changing relationship of capitalism and social organization relative to natural resource extraction, techno-scientific knowledge, industrial development and resulting accumulation of greenhouse gases that induce climate and ecological crises. We will also examine economic perspectives of climate change as a market failure, loss of economic value or a financial risk to stock portfolios that may be at odds with humane ways of organizing our collective planet. This course exposes the hierarchies of social difference and resulting inequalities (class, race, gender, species) under climate crisis to advance reparative and decolonial understandings. Drawing upon experiences from social, labor and environmental movements for climate justice, students will be able evaluate situated political economic responses to the climate crisis.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 15
Expected: 10
Class#: 1597
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 'Colonialism and my community' writing/ poster assignment (5 pages) 20%; Either a video essay on a 'green' technology (10 minutes), recorded interview with an environmental justice movement/activist/practitioner (20 minutes) or critical in-class presentation on an emerging 'green' technology (10 minutes) 25%; Creative activist project that reflects on histories and axes of power - gender, race, class, species (6-8 pages); Participation and attendance (leading a discussion/presentation) 20%
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: If over enrolled preference goes to Africana Studies and then Environmental Studies students.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST 233 Division II AFR 233 Division II ENVI 204 Division II
DPE Notes: The course addresses from a global perspective and from different contexts how social groups, societies and organizations are being transformed under climate crisis.
Attributes: AFR Black Landscapes
AFR Core Electives
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives

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