Over recent decades, the merging of civil rights and environmental concerns has generated the Environmental Justice Movement. Led primarily by people of color, women, and the blue collar sectors of society, (often times individuals from all three social groups), the Environmental Justice Movement now marks a worldwide grassroots effort for social justice. The movement‟s momentum and growth has expanded from relatively new, both politically and academically, to more lasting and even global implications. Academically, it has given rise to what is appropriately called “environmental justice studies.” This course represents an effort to critically engage the Environmental Justice Movement by studying its histories, the terms and concepts evolving from the movement, the philosophical implications of the movement, and the struggles of people shaping the movement.
The course opens with an exploration of the roots of environmental justice in the United States. This section helps us to develop a vocabulary to interpret theories and dimensions of social justice that are informed by individual and collective environmental values. We will also study the underlying notions of environmental goods and harms, the perspectives of environmental law and policy, and the politics of environmental identities. Then we look at a wide-range of topics pertaining to environmental racism and other forms of environmental discrimination in the U.S. Inherently connected to these domestic topics are issues of environmental equity, environmental classism, discriminatory environmentalism, the politics of race and racism, grassroots politics, and gender politics…
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