2023-2024 Catalog

FYS 14 Race and the Environment

For several decades, scholars and activists have documented, analyzed, and organized against the myriad ways that race shapes the quality of environments in which human life unfolds. Their work has consistently revealed that environmental burdens, such as air pollution, toxic contamination, and urban heat island effects (to name a few), are distributed unequally across the color line,⁠ and that both nonwhite and low-income populations are most vulnerable when it comes to dealing with "natural" disasters and their aftermath.⁠ People of color also often lack adequate access to environmental amenities and necessities like tree canopy cover and green space,⁠ in addition to having inadequate access to healthy and affordable foods.⁠ This scholarship points to different facets of we might call racialized socioecological relations, or those relations and dynamics between humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems, that are mediated by racial hierarchy and difference. In this course, we will study racialized socioecological relations at various scales, from the neighborhood to the globe, with the underlying aim of rethinking “race,” “the environment,” and their complex relationship. Open only to first year frosh.


4 units