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Environmental Justice

Session A: July 6 - July 16, 2021
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Philosophy and Society
Julia McWilliams

Environmental Justice will survey introductory concepts in the fields of environmental sociology, anthropology, urban education and explore case studies in relation to Philadelphia and other parts of the globe. Students will explore Philadelphia’s environmental landscape, learning about how exposure to toxins, hazard, and the threat of climate change often map onto broader patterns of racial and income inequality. They will further conduct critical reading in their subject of choice, culminating in a PowerPoint presentation on the last day of class with their group. Students will also participate in lectures, group discussions, and autoethnographic journaling exercises. 

Goals for Students

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the political economy of environmental hazard in relation to race and class
  • To conduct research on issues affecting local communities and communities in other countries
  • To learn to read peer-reviewed research on special topics including toxic school infrastructure, flood plains and climate justice, plastic, and renewable energy
  • To engage students in reflection about their own built environments and the social and economic forces that shape their health and access to sustainable futures

Syllabus Outline

Day 1
Colonialism and Environmental Hazard
Exposure in Indigenous communities

Day 2
Redlining in US
Disproportionate Corporate Siting (Cancer Alley Louisiana, Philadelphia)

Day 3
Toxic Schools

Day 4
Plastics, Recycling, and Pollution
SE Asia

Day 5
Critical Reading Projects Group Meeting

Day 6
Electronic Waste

Day 7
Rising Waters & Climate Justice
Maldives, Bangladesh

Day 8
Exploring Solutions
Regeneration & Sequestration, Renewables, Hemp, Activism

Day 9 Critical Reading Project Presentations