GEOG 530 Seminar in Seminar in Human–Environment Interactions: Power, Uncertainty, Health
- Semester: Fall 2020
- Instructor: Brian King
- Office: 312A Walker Building
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office hours: Thursday, noon – 1:00 p.m. or by appointment
- Class time: Thursday, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. in 319 Walker Building. This seminar will be offered in mixed mode. This means that there will be in-residence learning with accommodations for students who are unable to come to campus.
The past year has seen the project of modernity in crisis. The realities of anthropogenic climate change, coupled with a global pandemic have unsettled the foundations of Western society. State violence against minority communities, and uneven health patterns due to Covid-19 in the United States, have highlighted long-standing inequities. The consequence has been a renewed engagement with the processes shaping social reproduction and the opportunities for social and ecological well-being. This is not a seminar on Covid-19 per se, but it is intended to engage with theories that help explain the pandemic, in addition to other social and environmental processes that generate risk, uncertainty, political and economic struggle, and illness. In doing so, this graduate seminar will engage with key themes in geographic scholarship, and more broadly within the social sciences, on the relationships between societies and environments. We will focus on the themes of power, uncertainty, and health to provide a conceptual framework for addressing emerging concerns about sustainability, poverty, race, gender, formal and informal decision-making, power, and justice.
While the themes of power, uncertainty, and health will be central areas of emphasis, students will be exposed to diverse theoretical frameworks for addressing social and environmental relationships. As such, the seminar will be useful for students in a wide range of disciplines, including geography, anthropology, sociology, ecology, and natural resource management. Course expectations include intensive reading, in-class discussions, and the completion of a research paper of individual interest.
Required course readings are on reserve. In addition, the following texts are required:
- Auyero, Javier, and Débora Swistun. 2009. Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown. Oxford University Press.
- Langston, Nancy. 2010. Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES. Yale University Press.
- Nixon, Rob. 2013. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Samimian-Darash, Limor, and Paul Rabinow. 2015. Modes of Uncertainty: Anthropological Cases. University of Chicago Press.
- Street, Alice. 2014. Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Duke University Press.