'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 three 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 course 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 conceptual frameworks, including Indigenous, postcolonial, feminist, and Marxist political economy. We will consider 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 structural change that seek to address the root causes of anthropogenic climate change. A key goal will be to examine synergies and contradictions among various approaches towards conceptualizing climate justice. We will also explore case studies of front-line communities, of communities that have developed strategies for resilience, and of communities grappling with various climate initiatives. Student learning will be facilitated by lectures, seminars, and workshops. Students will complete various writing assignments including synthesis and argumentative essays, and a research paper.
This course will be delivered in-person but may have a remote option for those experiencing extenuating circumstances. Please contact the faculty for additional details.