Spring 2017

Environmental Justice

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-330


Jessica N. Hejny (Section 01)


Environmental harms are not distributed equally across either U.S. or global populations.  In the United States, low income communities and communities of color suffer disproportionately from environmental harms.  Globally, developing countries shoulder many environmental burdens while the benefits of environmentally destructive production often flow to developed nations.  What are the reasons for this?  How can we address environmental injustice and environmental racism?  What theoretical approaches can help us understand and conceptualize environmental justice?  How have communities engaged politically in the fight for environmental justice?  What does environmental justice look like in practice?  This course will explore these questions.  We begin the course with a look at two cases—in Louisiana and North Carolina—that spawned the environmental justice movement.  To gain analytical purchase on these and other cases, we discuss theoretical approaches to environmental justice from multiple disciplinary perspectives, including economic, social movement, legal, policy, and philosophical.  The next three substantive sections of the course focus on different themes.  In the first section, we look at the role of environmental justice in urban planning, and examine issues of space, place, and local knowledge.  The next section focuses on the relationship between gender, environmental justice, and sustainable development.  Here we look at empirical cases of protests against mountain top removal, women’s empowerment through tree planting, and dam construction in India.  We then focus on three recent cases of environmental injustice in the U.S. that revolve around water—Hurricane Katrina, Flint, and Standing Rock.  We close the course with a discussion of climate justice.

Requisite: ENST 120 or permission of instructor.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester.  Visiting Professor Hejny.

If Overenrolled: priority given to ENST majors and then 4th, 3rd, and 2nd years


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2020