SOCI-274-01 Environmental and Food Justice Movements
Fall for 2017-2018
M 11:00AM – 1:30PM

This seminar draws on a range of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives in examining the similarities and differences between the environmental justice movement (EJM) and the food justice movement (FJM). Both movements are primarily centered around the issue of racial and class injustice surrounding the access to resources, such as clean air, water and soil or fresh and healthy food. EJM has a slightly longer history in the United States than FJM, and the two movements share notable similarities but with some key differences in terms of in terms of how they define and aim to resolve the problems of environmental injustice or food injustice. We begin by situating the emergence of EJM in the context of broader environmental movements, both domestically and globally, and explore how various theoretical frameworks of EJM analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality, specifically on categories of race, class, and more recently, gender. Building on the understanding of the emergence and the changes in EJM, we will then examine the more recent rise of FJM, as a critical counterpoint to the general alternative food movement that had expanded rapidly since around 1990s in the US. Over the course of the semester we will examine various real cases of environmental and food justice activism, including both successful and failed attempts, and discuss each case in relation to the theoretical frameworks introduced in the seminar through the assigned readings and the lecture. Some of these cases may be presented in the form of documentary films or having a guest speaker from an activism organization to present their experiences. By the end of the semester, students are expected to critically examine the concept of justice as it is being deployed in the current EJM and FJM activism and scholarship, and propose concrete directions that both movements and academic research on the topic should take in order to most effectively define, address, and resolve environmental and food injustices.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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