Criminal Justice-COLL | Environmental Justice
P493 | 11494 | Kane


This is an interdisciplinary course on comparative environmental
justice with a core focus on water issues. We will draw on writings
and fieldwork of scholars from the fields of Anthropology,
Geography, Human Rights Law, Cultural Studies, Communications,
Journalism, and Ecology. Their writings and films will provide us
with the knowledge to compare and contrast situations and
interventions taking place in North and South America, the Mexican
borderlands, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Our goal
will be to understand environmental crisis as a combination of
cultural, political, economic, legal and ecological processes that
are set in motion by different factors, and take on different
character in localized settings. In other words, environmental
crisis is a global issue with a wide and varied array of local
manifestations (Pearce). The study of particular community and
regional cases of environmental crises will provide us with a
challenging arena for contemplating the meaning of justice, and the
contested pathways we may take to achieve justice (Harvey). We will
also think analytically about social activism at the community level
and how it can be effective (or not) in creating change through
legal procedures in national and international justice systems,
through performing in the mass media, and through other creative
tactics, such as “Toxic Tours” (Pezzulo).
Students will work on independent research projects as an
important component of the course. They may choose to further
develop the class’s work on water issues and pursue research in such
topics as water law and pollution; hydroelectric dams, flooding, and
displaced persons; marine ecological reserves; aquifers,
communities, and multinational bottled water companies;
international boundary water disputes; rural and urban water
conflicts in desert regions; poverty and access to water and
sanitation; etc. Alternatively, students can expand the course theme
according to their diverse interests in environmental justice,
focusing on such topics as, e.g., sustainability and social justice;
the sociolegal impact of historic industrial accidents (Union
Carbide pesticide release in Bhopal, India; Exxon Valdez oil spill
in Alaska); ethics of global production of GMO crops; international
agreements to reverse global warming; rainforest preservation and
indigenous peoples, etc. In addition to their independent projects,
evaluation of student work will be based on a series of short
papers, class participation, and oral presentations.

Required Books:
David Harvey. 1997. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of
Difference. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Pearce, Fred. 2006. When the Rivers Run Dry: Water—The Defining
Crisis of the Twenty-First Century. Boston: Beacon.
Pezzulo, Phaedra C. 2007. Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution,
Travel, and Environmental Justice. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama
Press. (Note paperback version will be 	available in fall 2009).

Class meeting: Wednesdays, 5:45-8:15

Instructor:  Professor Stephanie Kane, criminal justice department