ESEJ Advanced Courses

Students choosing the Environmental Justice focus must take two advanced courses from the list below.

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Recent Novels of Environmental Justice
In recent years the global Anglophone novel has emerged as a literary forum for negotiating issues of Environmental Justice in what has been called The Global South. Novelists from Sri Lanka to the United States, South Africa, South Asia, Britain, and Canada have recently explored such issues as hunger, land access, migration, environmental toxicity, indigeneity versus national identity, and diminishing resources in novels that explore the lives of some of the globe’s most vulnerable populations. The books we read and discuss are set in far-flung regions, from South Africa, India, and Oceania to what some have called “third-world North America.” Our task will be to theorize and interpret the way these novels represent environmental inequality, injustice, and exploitation and to consider what Environmental Justice might look like in these places 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT

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Course Description

Theories of Change
Clashing perspectives regarding how to envision and enact “social change” have long riven the environmental movement, animating deep disagreement among activists. In this seminar we will explore these debates by (1) analyzing various efforts aimed at “changing the world” and (2) troubleshooting their different methods, strategies, and underlying beliefs and assumptions about how they think social change “works.” Through close analysis of these initiatives, we will examine how activists, organizers, and other self-described practitioners of social change conceive of social change: what it is, what it looks like, how it happens, and how to do it. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Global Political Ecology
From global land grabs and agrarian revolutionary movements to clashes over energy infrastructure and the establishment of protected areas, today’s “environmental issues” are suffused with political relations and deeply entangled with the historical formations of capitalism, colonialism, the state, and science. In this seminar we will analyze how “social” questions of power, political economy, and social struggle, pervade the “natural” (and vice versa). Such questions are invariably messy and full of surprises, confounding reduction to universal theories extended from afar. Often, they require a close in-the-weeds look. That is what this class will invite you to do. The field of political ecology offers a rich repertoire of approaches for developing empirically grounded, historically contextualized, and theoretically nuanced forms of analysis that grapple with the situated complexities of resource and environmental issues. (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Transnational Feminist Conservation
In this course we explore a transnational feminist approach to conservation. We will start by delving into the masculinist history of conservation, and reviewing a set of theories and vocabularies focused on gender, as well as race, class, and ability as key sites of power that effect both human and non-human bodies and ecological processes, from coral reefs to the arctic tundra. We will compare case studies across multiple regions globally on topics such as conservation via population control, feminist food, community-based conservation, and feminist-indigenous approaches to inquiry. We will debate feminist science, examining the conflicting epistemic foundations of objective versus situated knowledge. We will hone our writing skills in a variety of genres including blogs, academic essays, poems, and zines. (ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215 or ENVS/GSFS 209) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AAL, CMP, CW, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Ecocriticism and Global Environmental Justice
Many global environmental problems—climate change, biodiversity, deforestation, clean water, and transboundary waste movement—are ineffectively managed. In this course we will take a critical look at these failures and ask: do existing norms and attitudes make effective, sustainable environmental management more difficult? In doing so, we will examine institutions and phenomena such as the sovereign nation-state, free market capitalism, and the authority of scientific knowledge. We will ask whether sustainable management is compatible with these institutions and phenomena, or whether they contribute to environmental injustice, racism, political marginalization, and gender and class inequity by studying contemporary and historic examples. 3 hrs. sem. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

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ESEJ Elective Courses

Students choosing the Environmental Justice focus must take three elective courses from the list below.

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Environmental Education
In this interdisciplinary course students will learn foundational principles and practices in environmental education. Topics include ecological citizenship, environmental literacy, place-based education, learning theories, nature pedagogy, school gardens, and forest schools. Most class sessions will be held outdoors, where students will apply and extend their learning, develop lessons, and practice teaching. This course is appropriate for students interested in outdoor environmental education in formal or non-formal settings with any age between early childhood and high school. Field experiences with community partners occur outside of class. Approval Required (EDST 0115) 3hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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Course Description

Gender Health Environment
Growing concern for the protection of the environment and human health has led policy makers and scholars to consider ways in which gender, class, and race and other forms of identity mediate human-environment interactions. In this course we will explore how access to, control over, and distribution of resources influence environmental and health outcomes both in terms of social inequities and ecological decline. Specific issues we will cover include: ecofeminism, food security, population, gendered conservation, environmental toxins, climate change, food justice, and the green revolution. We will draw comparisons between different societies around the globe as well as look at dynamics between individuals within a society. The majority of case studies are drawn from Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, however some comparisons are also made with the United States. (National/Transnational Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Social Class and the Environment
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models. (Not open to students who have taken ENVS/WRPR 1014)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Land and Livelihoods - From Local to Global
How do flows of money, people, materials, and ideas connect local livelihoods to distant sites and global processes? How do geographers study patterns of poverty and inequality at different scales? How do we define human development and wellbeing, how do we determine who participates, and why does it matter? In this course we will draw from perspectives in fields ranging from development geography and political ecology to post-colonial studies to examine livelihood dynamics in the Global South. We will use texts, interviews, writing assignments, problem sets, and mapping exercises to explore relationships between economy, identity, and place in an increasingly connected world. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Human Geography of Hazards
Why do storms, earthquakes, and other hazards result in disastrous loss of life in some places, and only minor losses in others? In this course we will study human geographies of population, economic development, politics, and culture to explain the diverse outcomes from biophysical hazards. We will compare hazard geographies at the global, regional, and local scales using diverse approaches, including quantitative analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), and comparative case studies. We will examine how geographic analysis and technologies are used in disaster planning and response. We will practice applying human geography theory and methods to hazards research through practical exercises, exams, and research projects. 3 hrs. lect./lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2021

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Environmental Change in Latin America
This course examines Latin America from a geographical perspective with emphasis on the social, political and ecological underpinnings of change in the region. Building upon the theme of global environmental change in the context of human-environment geography, we will explore urgent challenges linked to the agricultural and extractive industries, urban expansion, land grabs, land reform, indigenous rights, and rural and urban poverty. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

AAL, AMR, SOC

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Course Description

United States Environmental History: Nature and Inequality
In this course we will study the interactions between diverse groups and their physical environments to understand how humans have shaped and in turn been shaped by the material world. Topics include: ecological change with European conquest; industrialization and race and class differences in labor, leisure, and ideas of “nature”; African American environments South and North; the capitalist transformation of the American West, rural and urban; Progressive conservation and its displacement of Native Americans and other rural groups; chemical- and petroleum-based technologies and their unexpected consequences; and the rise of environmentalism and its transformation by issues of inequality and justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Food, Power, & Justice
Students in this course will learn to analyze power and justice in relation to the food system. We will explore cases in which groups of people are experiencing injustice in opportunities to make a living through food production or other food system activities, inequitable access to food and resources, inequitable health outcomes related to diet (e.g., diabetes, obesity), and silencing or lack of political participation. Students will investigate organizations of their choice that are working to remedy inequitable power relations in the food system, and will present their findings to the rest of the class.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Human Ecology
Environmental issues are also cultural and political conflicts, between competing social groups, economic interests and cultural paradigms. This course introduces students to human ecology, the study of how our adaptations to the environment are mediated by cultural differences and political economy. Topics include: how ecological anthropology has evolved as a subdiscipline, with a focus on systems theory and political ecology; how ritually regulated societies manage resources; how rural communities deal with environmental deterioration; and how contradictions between environmental protection, economic development, and cultural values complicate so many ecological issues. (SOAN 0103 or SOAN 0105 or ENVS 0112 or ENVS 0211 or ENVS 0215 or BIOL 0140) 3 hrs. lect. (Anthropology)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Indigeneity and Colonialism in Native North America
In this course we will approach Native North America and the American political mainstream as dynamically intertwined. Through ethnography, ethno-history, oral literature, and indigenous film we will examine the history of colonial encounters between the Indigenous and the 'Western'. We will examine how indigenous cultural difference and moral claims to land have challenged dominant political cultures across the history of the North American settler states. Our analysis will extend to ongoing questions concerning cultural knowledge, sustainability, and imagined futures. 3 hrs. sem. (Anthropology)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Language and the Environment
Do languages simply put different labels on the environment, from rocks to trees to carbon, or are what we see and what we value shaped by the ways that we talk about it? Drawing upon ethnography, linguistics, and critical discourse analysis, we will explore how environmental perceptions and modes of action are formed in and through language. We will bring an appreciation of language differences to the analysis of ongoing environmental controversies, where the various stakeholders draw contrasting boundaries between nature and culture and define human involvement with nature in different ways. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Anthropology)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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ESEJ Foundations Courses

Students choosing the Environmental Justice focus must take one foundations course from the list below.

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Unruly Bodies: Black Womanhood in Popular Culture
In this course we will examine representations of black womanhood in popular culture, analyzing the processes by which bodies and identities are constructed as dangerous, deviant, and unruly. For example, materials will include the work of bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins to analyze the imagery of black womanhood propagated by the television shows The Jerry Springer Show and Bad Girls Club. By contrast, we will also read Saidiya Hartman’s Scenes of Subjection as a lens through which to view “bad” black womanhood as a radically stylized means of redress in the Blaxploitation-era film Foxy Brown. (Critical Race Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

AMR, CMP, NOR

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Course Description

Formations of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
Historical memories, everyday experiences, and possible futures are powerfully shaped by racial and ethnic differences. Categories of race and ethnicity structure social relationships and cultural meanings in the United States and beyond. In this course we will track the theoretical and historical bases of ideas of race and ethnicity in modern America. We will investigate how race and ethnicity intersect at particular historical moments with other forms of difference including gender, sexuality, nation, and class. The course offers an approach informed by critical studies of race including texts in history, political theory, cultural studies, and anthropology. (Critical Race Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Class, Culture, and Representation
In this course we will examine the contested meanings of social class in U.S. culture from 1930 to the present. We will ask the following: How have workers, the workplace, and economic inequality been imagined in U.S. film, art, and popular culture? How have categories such as race, gender, and sexuality informed ideas about class? And how do the realities of economic inequality mesh with civic narratives of meritocracy and the “American Dream”? Readings will include works by Barbara Ehrenreich, Studs Terkel, Tillie Olsen, and Helena Maria Vilamontes. Films, music, and other media will supplement written materials. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Beyond Intersectionality: Developing Anti-Racist and Anti-Capitalist Feminisms
Nearly thirty years ago, Kimberlé Crenshaw published the theory of “intersectionality,” in which she argued that racism and sexism collide to make black women’s marginalization distinct from those of both white women and black men (1989). Today, the terms “intersectionality” and “intersectional feminism” are ubiquitous, utilized by scholars, activists, artists, and our students. In this course, we will consider how discourses of and ideas about intersectionality move between and among spaces of dissent. Starting from the position that it is more epistemologically and politically powerful to state that our feminism is anti-racist and anti-capitalist than to say it is “intersectional,” we will address the following questions: What are the benefits and limits of the original theory of intersectionality? How are academic and activist approaches alike both emboldened and limited by intersectionality? What does it mean to be socially and politically conscious, and how do we move from consciousness to action in ways that are not siloed? Texts may include Crenshaw’s “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women” (1989) and Ange-Marie Hancock’s Intersectionality: An Intellectual History (2016). 3 hrs. lect. (Critical Race Feminisms)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Feminist Foundations
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Focusing on the histories of feminism in the U.S., from the nineteenth century to the present, the course reveals the importance of gender and sexuality as analytical categories to understand social reality and to comprehend important areas of culture. Examining gender and sexuality always in conjunction with the categories of race and class, the course foregrounds how inequalities are perpetuated in different fields of human activity and the creative ways in which feminist movements have resisted these processes. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

White People
White people did not just appear out of nowhere. Instead, they are the result of a long history of structural and everyday racism that was always intertwined with class, sex, sexuality, and nation. We will explore how whiteness became a foundational category for citizenship in the US, especially after the Civil War when the Color Line was drawn through the legal, cultural, and spatial practices of Jim Crow. We will consider how "new immigrants" and even white "trash" became white primarily through the exclusion of Black Americans. Finally, we will look at the formation of whiteness today as a site of privilege, aggrieved entitlement, and violence. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

The Continuing Significance of Race in the United States
This course will introduce students to theories of race and racism in the United States, how racial categories are formed and maintained in a variety of social arenas, and how race and racism influence social systems. In order to demonstrate the prevalence of race and racism in the U.S., the course will be a “topics” course in that each week, we will explore a different topic (such as education, crime, gender) and examine how they are influenced by race and racism. In addition, the course will compare and contrast the experiences of different racial and ethnic groups in the United States and examine how these different experiences influences the way they are seen, how they see themselves, and how they interact with other groups. Upon completion of the course, students will have a better understanding of the historic and contemporary significance of race and how race influences our everyday interactions in multiple different social arenas. 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

AMR, CMP, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Politics of Identity
In this course we will introduce students to social diversity in the U.S. as it is reflected in four master identities: class, gender, race, and sexuality. We will examine what these identities mean for group membership, how group membership is attained or ascribed and maintained. Using both historical and contemporary materials, we will explore how identities have developed over time and how they have been challenged. In addition, we will examine how multiple identities intersect and the implications of these intersections have on individual identities. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Sociology)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Race, Rhetoric, and Protest
In this course we will study the theoretical and rhetorical underpinnings of racial protest in America. We will begin by studying movements from the 1950s and 1960s, moving from bus boycotts to Black Power protests, and will build to analyzing recent protests in Ferguson, Dallas, and New York. Readings will include texts from Charles E. Morris III, Aja Martinez, Shon Meckfessel, Gwendolyn Pough, and various articles and op-eds. Students will write analyses of historical and contemporary protest, op-eds about the local culture, and syntheses on the course readings. 3 hrs. Lect

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, CW, NOR, SOC

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