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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Holly M. Barker
ANTH 487
Seattle Campus

Cultures and Politics of Environmental Justice

Comparative survey of environmental justice movements in the world with focus on critical studies of environmental racism, risk, and sustainable development. Provides theoretical knowledge and research methods incorporating the study of equity and autonomy in environmental impact and risk assessment and other aspects of environmental policy politics. Offered: jointly with AES 487.

Class description

(This class has a special thematic and area focus on the Pacific Islands and varies from Anth 487 offered by the Anthropology Department, a highly recommended course normally taught by Devon Pena.)

Historically, the United States, France, and Britain, look to the Pacific Islands as remote extensions of their home territories, as a treasure chest of human and natural resources to help fulfill their political, economic and military objectives. This class focuses on the consequences of environmental colonialism. What are the ripple effects for Pacific Islanders when outside powers commandeer their environments? Who benefits and who pays the price for the mining of natural resources from the land and seas, or the testing of nuclear weapons? In the post-colony, how do the political and economic objectives in developed countries result in rising seas and climate change for Pacific Islanders?

This class will privilege a Pacific Islander perspective in its readings, and by bringing in Pacific Islander leaders in the Seattle area to share their views, and by considering Pacific Islander methods for gathering knowledge. The class involves active participation by all students, and uses a workshop format to involve students in the research and presentation of course topics.

Class concepts include: environmental justice, environmental racism, environmental colonialism, environmental refugees, colonialism, post-colonialism, and neo-colonialism.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Guest speakers from the community. Student presentations.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Holly M. Barker
Date: 02/24/2010