HIST 4262 Environmental Justice: Past, Present, Future

March 22, 2021

HIST 4262 Environmental Justice: Past, Present, Future (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS) (HNA)

Monday: 2:40-4:35

Professor Aaron Sachs

“Environmental Justice” is a relatively recent term, coined in the United States in the 1980s.  It usually refers to a social movement fighting against the unfair concentration of toxic sites within impoverished communities of color.  As a broader set of ideas, though, “environmental justice” has a much longer history, going back at least to the 17th century in England, when poor farmers banded together to prevent common land from being enclosed for the exclusive use of the aristocracy.  This course explores that deep history, examining various overlaps between environmental thought and theories of social justice over the past 400 years in the western world.  It concludes with an examination of the current climate justice movement and a consideration of how environmental justice concerns are being played out in recent works of speculative fiction.  What do we owe to the climate refugees of our present day?  What do we owe to future generations? 

Klarman Hall at sunset