AFR 211
Race and the Environment Fall 2012
Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed SOC 211 / AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211
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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: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 20
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, 2-3 short papers (5-7 pages), and a self-scheduled final
Prerequisites: none
Distributions: Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
SOC 211 Division II AFR 211 Division II AMST 211 Division II ENVI 211 Division II
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives

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