Representing Environmental Justice

Summer 2021
McKenna Rose
ENGL 1102

Even as the proliferation of new media platforms has made it possible for individuals and institutions to publicize the causes and consequences of climate change to a broader audience than ever before, the interrelationship between environmental degradation and racism remains underrepresented. Using an environmental justice framework, this semester we will study how the representation of nature as remote in space and time has meant that conservation efforts have been slow to recognize ways people of color are more likely to experience the negative consequences of climate change, while being least likely to contribute to it. In addition to investigating the ways in which racism enforces the unequal distribution of resources and limits equal access to decision making around such issues as illegal dumping, superfund sites, and industrial development, students will work with community partners such as Global Growers, Refuge Coffee, and Re’Generation ATL, as well as a series of theoretical and literary texts, to understand how real-world change comes to be through a blend of visionary representation and practical action. Using a WOVEN approach to communication, which considers the interrelationship between Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal modes, this course invites students to articulate their own ideas about the intersection of environmental degradation and racism through an infographic that defines environmental justice, a researched analysis of an environmental justice project of your choice, and a final individual podcast project that profiles a contemporary solution to problems you outline in your paper. Due to the health restrictions caused by COVID-19, this class is remote with both synchronous expectations (live, remote lectures, partner panel talks, drop-in hours, and optional site visits) and asynchronous expectations (discussion boards, peer-review, and recorded lectures). Developed in collaboration with the Center for Serve Learn Sustain, we will welcome lectures and workshops from community partners and tour both Global Growers in Decatur and the Kendeda and EcoCommons on the GATech campus. While you are not required to meet face-to-face, you are invited to attend the guided tours and remote panel discussions.  

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