The Department of Environmental Studies is excited to offer two summer courses as part of the "Race and Environment" sequence. The courses are scheduled so that they can easily be taken together, but can be taken separately. For special enrollment requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Justice & Inequality
ENVST-UA 480-001/SOC-UA 970-001 / 2604 / 6-Week Session II / MW 1:45PM-4:45PM / Bhardwaj
- The poor, indigenous groups, and people of color--many of whom are clustered in global “mega-cities”—have historically been exposed to a disproportionate share of environmental hazards. In this course, which is an intermediate Environmental Studies [EVS] and Sociology elective, we will trace the origins of the uneven distribution of environmental problems--and environmental goods--across communities. We ask how environmental inequality can be identified and measured, examine how residents of underserved urban communities around the world have mobilized in the name of environmental justice, and explore tensions between the EJ movement and mainstream environmentalism. We will also explore how different societies, cultures, and historical moments have articulated varied (and sometimes competing) visions of environmental justice. The readings, which include both books and academic journal articles, span the fields of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, history, and politics.
Race, Space, and Environment
ENVST-UA 450-001/SOC-UA 970-002 / 2648 / 6-Week Session II / TR 1:45PM-4:45PM / Demuren
- “Geography, the material world, is infused with sensations and distinct ways of knowing: rooms full of weeping, exhausted countries, a house that is only as safe as flesh.” - Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds. This course will examine the intersections between the concept and lived experiences of space with the concept and lived experiences of race. Rather than viewing space as a blank slate where things happen, we will explore how space is produced and transformed through social actions, power relations, discourse, and institutions. Race is embedded in the organization of space, from the creation of borders and boundaries (both physical and symbolic) to the distribution of ownership and access. This course will engage with different meanings of the interrelated concepts of space, place, and land—as a home, as a place of captivity, as a means of subsistence, as an archive, as a source of knowledge, as a kinship relation—exploring not just experiences of domination and displacement, but also movements of reclamation and resistance. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, we will engage with academic texts across fields of geography, sociology, Black studies, queer theory, and more, as well as films and other forms of media. By connecting the concrete and material aspects of space with its subjective, imagined, and narrativized representations, we are able to explore possibilities for the reinterpretation and transformation of present conditions.
Here There Be Monsters: Explorations in Medieval French Literature (Counts as an Animal Studies Elective)
FREN-UA 868 / / 6-Week Session II / MW 1:00PM-4:00PM (Online)
- What does it mean to be a human, an animal, a monster? This course will question the monstrosity of the animals and peoples of medieval French texts, and will engage critically with terms such as "race, "monster," "animal," and "human." The course will focus on texts such as The Alexander Romance, Marie de France's werewolf story Bisclavret, and Marco Polo's Travels. The course will be conducted in English. Students may opt to read the texts in English or in modern French. At the end of the course, students will have gained an understanding of medieval French travel literature, the monsters that occupy these texts, and the worldview that these texts both present and challenge.
Topics in International Relations: Inequality and Conflict (Counts towards the ES Governance or Elective Requirement)
INTRLA-GA 1731.001 & POL-GA 3400 / 1222 / 6-Week Session I / TR 11:00AM - 1:20 PM / Yetim
- This seminar aims to introduce students to some of the central topics, concepts, and questions in the field of international development, the contemporary debate on inequality and conflict. In this course, we will explore cutting-edge thinking produced by historians, philosophers, political scientists, economists, sociologists, and other social sciences on the domestic and international sources and consequences of inequality and conflict. The goal is to give a broad overview of diverse methodological approaches and critical analyses of suggested solutions for tackling one of the most challenging questions facing us in the 21st century. The world currently faces severe social and environmental crises and growing inequality. Global climate change is looming large with expectations of widespread droughts, flooding, and famines striking the poorest and most vulnerable areas along an arc of instability stretching from Africa through Asia. In this context, we will study internal and external sources of inequality and how it generates domestic and international conflict through undesirable development outcomes. The focus will be on the various forms of inequality, including organizational, institutional, and network-based inequalities, and the role of economic and political systems, development, and violent and non-violent conflicts. Then we will move on to the study of the impact of the politics of major international organizations on environmental, trade, finance, international investment, energy, and foreign aid policies. We will focus on how domestic and international politics determine the success or failure of such policies in reducing inequalities, eliminating poverty, and addressing climate change and environmental degradation. When and why do countries fail to adopt good social, economic, and environmental policies, and, at the same time, international institutions fail to facilitate states’ cooperation and compliance with the best governance standards in social, health, economic, financial, and environmental policies? The elimination of poverty requires active state action in the provision of public services, such as drinking water, healthcare, sanitation, education, roads, electricity, public safety, insurance against climate calamities and natural disasters, and so on. Indeed, failure to deliver public services is a major impediment to the alleviation of poverty and ensuing conflict, especially in the developing world. This course will use interdisciplinary and comparative international approaches to increase our understanding of the paradox of development and the complex causal linkages between domestic and international institutions and the capacity of both the developed and developing world to meet basic human needs and achieve environmentally sustainable growth policies.
The Nature of Politics: Animals, Immigration, and Race in the USA, 1870-1935 (Counts as either an ES or AS Elective)
HIST-UA 314.001/ 2543 / 6-Week Session I / MW 2:00PM - 5:00 PM / McLeod
- This course explores the connections between US politics and the natural world from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, roughly from the Progressive Era to the New Deal. How have ideas about animality and the “natural” been used towards political ends? How have political desires shaped definitions of the animal, nature, conservation, and wilderness? We will look at connections between Progressive Era conservation efforts and eugenics, zoos and immigration restriction, the construction of race and evolutionary theory, and related topics, in order to build a set of conceptual tools for analyzing the role of the natural in the construction of US national identity. Moving from the Progressive Era, a time of rapid institutionalization of the sciences and social services in the United States, to the years before World War II when New Deal programs promised to bring the country out of the Depression, we will examine how people fought to determine who and what could be a part of the country, and in what capacity, through ideas about animality and the natural. In the instances we will examine, definitions of the natural and animality have been used to exclude certain people from access to land, resources, and social services. We will work together to understand how these categories were built and how they have shifted over time.
Climate Crisis: Life at the End of the World (Counts as an ES Elective)
SCA-UA 280.001 / 4973 / 6-Week Session I / TWR 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM / Whitenack
- Is climate change bringing about the end of the world? What or whose world(s) are ending? Examines literature on climate change, focusing on those in the margins who are improvising and imagining ways of being other than those of colonial capitalism that have brought us here. Special attention will be paid to representations of climate crisis and the politics of knowledge production. Develops a greater understanding of climate change as a potential reordering of human and more-than-human relations. Analyzes and evaluates feminist and anticolonial approaches to living in and with climate catastrophe, and encourages explorations of individual responses to climate change.
Greening the City: How Can NYC Fight the Climate Crisis? (Counts as an ES Elective)
JOUR-UA 204.001 / 2588 / 6-Week Session I / M 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM / Surico
- Today, cities find themselves on the frontlines of a rapidly warming planet. But while critics say they are a major contributor of emissions, there is reason to believe that those closest to the problem are also the source of solutions. New York City is no different. In this class, we’ll explore the various innovative ways in which America’s largest city—its government, advocates, policymakers, practitioners and people—is trying, successfully or not, to stave off the climate crisis. And we’ll do that through vivid, powerful storytelling. Each class will consist of a field trip to a specific site where we’ll clearly see those efforts unfold. It could be Jamaica Bay, where the country’s largest urban national park is attracting wildlife; Times Square, whose car-free configuration showed a new future for streets; the Bronx River, an increasingly restored waterway and source of green space; or a local rooftop garden, urban farm, or composting site. Students will then return to campus for a newsroom session, where we’ll turn our writings, photographs, or videos into a digestible news piece. Like the climate crisis itself, the material is intersectional: students with backgrounds in sciences, urban studies, economics, politics and journalism are all welcome. Each one of us will bring our experiences and skills to the table.
Eating the World: Food Writing and Reporting (Counts as an ES Elective)
JOUR-UA 204.003 / 2464 / 6-Week Session II / TR 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM / Stewart
- Food is the essence of humanity, an integral part of growth and livelihood. It is also deeply entrenched in the human experience. Food tells stories about memory, politics, culture, and society. Capturing these stories, and finding ways to examine the intersection of food, culture, politics, and identity, are essential skills for journalists reporting on food and travel. Food writing takes many forms: memoir, recipe development and storytelling, and reporting – often all within the same body of work. In this course, students will learn how to use these genres in their own writing. They will explore topics like justice and equity; read and listen to work from journalists, cookbooks authors, activists, and audio producers with a critical eye. Students will visit various restaurants, grocery stores, and/or farms and take field trips. Assignments will include readings, audio listening exercises, Q&As, and one 1,500 reported piece. Students will learn that reporting on food, when done with rigor and empathy, can lead to some of the world’s most significant journalism.