Climate Justice

Spring 2020
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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'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? What are its implications for ongoing climate politics, policy-making, and evolving power relations? What does it mean for life and livelihood in a diverse and unequal world? 

This program involves an in-depth analysis of the social dimensions of climate change, focused on notions of equity and justice at multiple scales. Students will unpack the complex and multifaceted discourse of climate justice by learning to distinguish between different theoretical frameworks, including distributive, procedural, representational, and political economy. We will critically evaluate justice claims embedded in a wide range of climate mitigation and adaptation proposals; past and present international treaties and climate policies; place-based climate justice movements; and arguments for large scale structural transformations that seek to address the root causes of anthropogenic climate change. A key goal for the program will be to examine the synergies and contradictions among competing approaches towards conceptualizing climate justice.

The program will explore case studies of front-line communities, and of communities grappling with various climate initiatives. Our inquiries will be informed by theoretical and conceptual frameworks in political ecology, environmental justice, and critical development studies. Students will write a substantive research paper utilizing qualitative research methods introduced in the program, and a review of the scholarly literature pertaining to a research question of their choice.


Spring 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 30152
Jr - Sr (1 - 16): 30181
Jr - Sr (12): 30425

Academic details

Variable Credit Options

Program can be taken for 12 credits if not undertaking primary research (equivalent to 4 credits).

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 E3109 - Seminar