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Spring 2019 quarter
Climate justice has become the dominant discourse among civil society groups and grassroots movements that have mobilized around and beyond U.N. climate talks over the last two decades. But what exactly does it mean, and what are its implications for ongoing climate negotiations, policy-making, evolving power relations, and our lifestyle choices as citizens in a diverse and unequal world?
This program will introduce students to academic, policy, and activist communities that engage with climate justice. We will take a multidisciplinary, social science approach drawing from various areas of scholarship, including political ecology, global environmental politics, critical development studies, and environmental justice to unpack the complex and multifaceted discourse of climate justice. The environmental justice movement and associated scholarly literature will provide the theoretical basis of our explorations as we examine the synergies and contradictions undergirding the different approaches to climate justice. Students will gain a better understanding of inequities in the context of climate change, why they exist, and ways to address them.
We will begin with an introduction to key concepts and debates in the emerging field of environmental justice. Students will learn about the history and development of the U.S. environmental justice movement, as well as key theoretical and methodological frameworks and debates in the environmental justice literature. Finally, we will explore environmental justice in the global context, emphasizing dimensions of equity and justice in the context of climate change. Mirroring the movement within the environmental justice literature — from a predominantly distributive approach to a more radical political economy approach — we will read and discuss a wide range of scholarly and activist writings advocating for climate justice within this spectrum, focusing on North-South and class dimensions, but also engaging in various degrees with dimensions of indigeneity, race, and gender.
Students will read books and peer-reviewed journal articles; watch documentary films; attend field trips; engage in seminar discussion; and write reflection pieces, argumentative essays, and a research paper based on original research using qualitative methods. Students may take the program for 12 credits by omitting the qualitative research methods component.
Fields of Studyenvironmental studies geography international studies political economy sustainability studies
Location and Schedule