Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Imaginining Environmental Justice

ENGL 309.401
crosslisted as: ANTH 339, COML 308
instructor(s):
TR 9-10:30am
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

What does it mean to imagine environmental justice? 

Our course explores a range of narrative forms from distinct global contexts, to ask what environmental justice looks like in a world where the effects of colonialism and climate change are unevenly distributed across populations. Sustained engagement with Indigenous North American, African American, Palestinian, and South African imaginary traditions will highlight diverse ways of relating to land, water and nonhuman animals challenge that challenge capitalist and colonial logics of extraction.

This course asks students to comparatively and critically reflect on literary, filmic, and nonfictional narratives that engage in different ways with the question of justice. Course materials highlight not only instances of spectacular environmental catastrophe but also more subtle effects on bodies and landscapes, attending to the complex ways that environmental crisis intersects with race, gender and sexuality. The class will enable participants to translate these ideas into practice by producing public-facing content through creative modes of enquiry. Ultimately, we will strive to understand how various forms of artistic and creative expression might enable us to imagine more equitable futures. 


Syllabus: