Required for all ESEJ Majors

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

Course Description

Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene
We live in a moment defined by environmental change. Yet the causes and consequences of these transformations are profoundly uneven. Across race, class, gender, and other forms of difference, “environmental problems” manifest in radically unequal ways, disproportionately burdening some while benefiting others. In this class we will dwell on this central tension in thinking about present socio-environmental crises and what to do about them, from toxic landscapes and biodiversity loss to global hunger and a warming climate. Certainly, these problems pose urgent, even existential problems that demand intervention. Yet common refrains about ‘how to save the environment’ always come with baggage. They have deep histories and hidden assumptions about causes and solutions, justice and inequality, politics and social change, which we will wrestle with together in this course. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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

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. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

View in Course Catalog

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 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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. (GloDeFem)/

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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. (formerly SOAN 0356) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023

Requirements

AMR, CW, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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

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. (Any 100-level ANTH, or any 100-level ENVS,or ENVS AP credit or instructor permission) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Environmental Communication
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. (formerly SOAN 0395) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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 2024

View in Course Catalog

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. 3 hrs. lect. (FemSTHM)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

CMP, SAF, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

The N Word: Nature, Revisited
What do voices from American History, both past and present, reveal about the way race, and privilege shape how we understand conservation, climate change and environmental justice today? How does your voice matter in this current moment? We will consider the foundations of environmental ideas and attitudes. In particular, in this current climate where Black Lives Matter and systemic racism are central in our conversations about place and space, we will explore the construction of environmental narratives and how race impacts environmental participation. In addition, we will explore how representations of the natural environment are structurally and culturally racialized within environmental institutions and the media by engaging in “conversations” with environmental icons such as John Muir and other historical and contemporary figures such as Zora Neale Hurston and James Baldwin. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

AMR

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Justice, Health, and the Environment
Since its beginnings, the environmental justice movement has been closely linked to the field of environmental health, a subdiscipline of public health which investigates how environmental conditions affect peoples’ health. In this course, we will explore how the intersectionality of a person’s identities can influence where a person lives, works, and plays, and, ultimately, the environment surrounding them. In doing so, we will explore the science underlying how justice-health connections have influenced pivotal fights in the environmental justice movement. We will engage in lecture, discussion, and a semester-long project to dive deeply into an environmental justice-health case study of your choice. 3 hrs. lecture.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Environmental Health
In this course we will explore the science underlying reciprocal relationships between human health and the environment, with emphasis on health inequities and vulnerable populations. Through the context of the four pillars of environmental health (exposure assessment, epidemiology, toxicology, and risk assessment), we will study common types of chemicals found in consumer products, climate change and air pollution, food and nutrition, and characteristics of the built environment. We will engage in discussions and a semester-long project to apply principles of environmental health as we explore connections between personal actions and local as well as global impacts. (ENVS 112 and BIOL 140 or BIOL 145 or CHEM 103 or CHEM 107) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Vermont’s Farms, Food an Future
What crops make sense to grow in Vermont? Where is the best land to farm? Who owns land and capital, and who grows the food? What systems and interests shape the answers to these questions? In this course we will examine Vermont agriculture through lenses of climate change, racial equity, and socioeconomic viability. Through reading, discussion, and meeting with food system practitioners, students will understand intersecting and conflicting perspectives related to agriculture and land use. The final project will be a proposed policy, program or enterprise that would contribute to the agricultural future each student believes in for Vermont. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Jeannie Bartlett ‘15 grows fruit trees in Plainfield, Vermont. From 2016 through 2021 she managed the Franklin County Conservation District, where she developed and implemented programs to assist farmers with stewardship of soil and water in northwest Vermont. She serves on the board of Rural Vermont and is an active member of the VT Young Farmers Coalition. She studied Conservation Biology at Middlebury./

Terms Taught

Winter 2022, Winter 2023, Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

WTR

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Agroecology
In this course students will learn about agroecology as a set of practices, a philosophy, and a social movement. Agroecology takes advantage of natural processes to the greatest extent possible, using biological inputs rather than purchased pesticides and fertilizers. In addition to having major benefits for poor farmers in developing countries, it is attracting increased attention as an alternative to industrialized agriculture in wealthy countries. The course will include field trips to farms, films, and discussion of readings. We will leave between noon and 12:30 for some of the field trips, so don’t register for a class immediately before. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

View in Course Catalog

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

Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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, Fall 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

View in Course Catalog

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

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 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

From Social Justice to Environmental Justice
We will examine environmental justice cases in the context of the social justice movements that have preceded them, paying particular attention to how these earlier movements have influenced the challenges and tactics of environmental justice today. Drawing on the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and others, we will explore the roles race, class, gender, and religion have played in confronting poverty, racism, and violence. We will then investigate contemporary environmental justice movements, using case studies to explore how these movements are rooted in, as well as distinct from, social justice movements of earlier periods (ENVS 0215 or any 100 or 200 level course in Religion or by permission) (not open to students who have taken ENVS 1028)

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, NOR, PHL

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Religion, Ecology and Justice
In this class we will consider the relationship between religion and ecology in some of the world’s great wisdom traditions, particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. Our approach will be comparative and attentive to “big ideas” about human-nature relationships. How do religious traditions perpetuate ideas of the natural world that are sometimes positive and protective and sometimes apathetic or destructive? Exploring such topics as stewardship, sacred landscapes, and the interdependence of living beings, we will consider both past and present, including examining how religious identity has fueled and shaped religiously-based environmental justice activism today.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, PHL

View in Course Catalog

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

Spring 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, CW, SAF, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Just Environmentalisms
In this course we will draw on theories of social and political change to understand the systematic causes of inequality and environmental issues around the world. We will look at both proximate as well as ultimate drivers of socio-environmental problems focusing on the relations between production and consumption, representation and regulation, rights and responsibilities, and information and norms. We will also study prospective solutions including political movements that resist environmental enclosures on land and at sea. More specifically, we will focus on examples of transnational movements fighting for socio-ecological justice, and how individuals and collectives within these movements navigate their socio-cultural and political economic differences while working in solidarity together. 3 hrs. seminar

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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. (formerly ENVS 0385) (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

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 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

View in Course Catalog