Thursday, January 23, 2014

Syllabus for Planetary Thinking and Environmental Justice

Fridays, 9-11.45 AM, Studio 18 Chestnut
Instructor: Dale Carrico;;
Course Site:

Provisional Grade Breakdown: Att/Part 25%; Precis 15%; In-Class Report 15%; Final Exam: 45%

Provisional Schedule of Classes

Week One | January 24 | Personal and Thematic Introductions

Week Two | January 31 | Screening and Reading Critically the Politics of "An Inconvenient Truth," Nearly Ten Years Out

Week Three | February 7 | Green Idols and Precursors

Curtis White, The Idols of Environmentalism
John Muir, Save the Redwoods
Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic
Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain
Margaret Atwood, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, 50 Years On
Bill McKibben, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

Week Four | February 14 | Deep Ecology and Deep Economy

Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep
Arne Naess and George Sessions, Deep Ecology Platform
Bill McKibben, Reversal of Fortune
E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful
Murray Bookchin, Social Ecology Versus Deep Ecology

Week Five | February 21 | Ecosocialism

An Ecosocialist Manifesto by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy
Joel Kovel, Why Ecosocialism Today?
John Bellamy Foster, The Four Laws of Ecology and the Four Anti-Ecological Laws of Capitalism
Naomi Klein, Climate Rage
Alyssa Battistoni, Toward Cyborg Socialism
James Boyle, Enclosing the Genome

Week Six | February 28 | Eco-feminism

Cathleen McGuire and Colleen McGuire, Ecofeminist Visions
Rosemary Radford Reuther, Ecofeminism
Catherine Keller, Dark Vibrations: Ecofeminism and the Democracy of Creation
Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, Unnatural Passions: Notes Toward a Queer Ecology
Democracy Now! An Hour With Vandana Shiva

Week Seven | March 7 | Environmental Justice Critique

The Rio Declaration
The Johannesburg Declaration
Environmental Protection Agency: Environmental Justice Equals Healthy, Sustainable, and Equitable Communities
Ludovic Blain, Ain't I An Environmentalist?
Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D., Poverty, Pollution, and Environmental Racism
Rachel Schragis, Is Climate Apartheid Inevitable?
Lisa Campbell Salazar, National Parks and Environmental Racism

Week Eight | March 14 | Green Urbanity

Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
Mike Davis, Sinister Paradise: Does the Road to the Future End at Dubai?
Stewart Brand, How Slums Can Save the Planet
Fred Pearce, Greenwash: The Dream of the First Eco-City Was Built on a Fiction
WikiHow: How to Start Guerrilla Gardening
Raj Patel, Saving the World with Che, Mao, and Carrots
Wendy Koch, Green Living Thrives in Communes, Eco-Villages
Global Eco Village Network
Architecture for Humanity

Week Nine | March 17-21 | Spring Break

Week Ten | March 28 | From Agriculture to Polyculture

John Zerzan, Agriculture
John Zerzan, Why Primitivism?
Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, A 50-Year Farm Bill
Ted Nace, Breadbasket of Democracy
Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels
Al Gore, Introduction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
Permaculture Design Principles, Online Interactive Presentation
Permaculture Design Course Video
Farming With Nature Video
Introduction to Permaculture: Concepts and Resources, Online Compendium

Week Eleven | April 4 | Natural Capitalism and Greenwashing

Paul Hawken: Natural Capitalism
A Roadmap for Natural Capitalism, Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken
OpenPolitics Critiques of Paul Hawken and Natural Capitalism
Wayne Norman and Chris MacDonald, Getting to the Bottom of the "Triple Bottom Line"
Jane and Michael Hoffman, How Greenwashing Works
Greenpeace: Greenwashing
Greenwashing Index
New Scientist: Carry on Polluting

Week Twelve | April 11 | Futurology Against Ecology

Marc Stiegler, The Gentle Seduction
Bruce Sterling, Viridian Design Speech
Bruce Sterling, Manifesto of January 3, 2000
Bruce Sterling, Viridian Principles
Bruce Sterling, Last Viridian Note
The Guardian: What Is Geoengineering? Lisa Hymas, We Need Birth Control, Not Geoengineering
Time Magazine on Geoengineering
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The California Ideology
Jedediah Purdy The God of the Digerati

Week Thirteen | April 18 | Green Eats

John Vidal, Ten Ways Vegetarianism Can Save the Planet
Kathy Freston, Vegetarian Is the New Prius
Krissah Thompson, Michelle Obama Plays Referee in the Food Tug-of-War
Clara Jeffrey, Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner
Jim Hightower, Food Industry Is Now Calling Junk Food Healthy
Marc Abrahams, Food for Thought
Saul Landau, Reagan and Bottled Water
14 Questions that Could Save Your Life and the Planet
Just Food, Food Justice

Week Fourteen | April 25 | Extracting Ourselves From Extraction

Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
Scientific American Peak Everything: An Interactive Look At How Much of Everything Is Left.
Chris Vernon, Agriculture Meets Peak Oil
Michael T. Klare, The Coming Resource Wars
Michael T. Klare, The Third Carbon Age
Chris Arsenault, Risk of Water Wars Rises with Scarcity
Kate Kelland, Antibiotics Overuse Threatens Medicine

Week Fifteen | May 2 | Toxic World and Green Ethos

2013: World's Top Ten Toxic Threats
Top Ten Anthropogenic Disasters
Gayatri Spivak, on Planetarity
Bruno Latour, To Modernize or to Ecologize? That’s the Question
George Lakoff, How We Talk About the Environment Has Everything to Do With Whether We Will Save It

 Week Sixteen | May 9 | Conclusions

Keyword Final Due
All assignments due.
Concluding remarks and discussion.


1. Interrogate the discourses of "nature," as registers of materiality, worldliness, scientificity, wilderness, sublimity, insecurity, grace, and consider the ways in which these different (sometimes outright contradictory) registers function in argument and in identification as supplements, complements, resolutions, dissolutions, contraries, paradoxes, and so on.

2. Survey a host of "green" discourses, from transcendentalism, deep ecology, social ecology, urban gardening and green cities, permaculture, to eco-feminism, eco-socialism, environmental justice critique, natural capitalism, anti-civilizational discourse and anarcho-luddism -- identify both continuities and discontinuities in their assumptions, aspirations, figurations, frames, gestures.

3. Consider "environmentalisms" as more than argumentative claims, but as sites of subculture and style, identification and dis-identification, practices of education, agitation, and organization stratified by race, sex-gender, class, nationality.

4. Treat "greenness" as a site through which to think more generally about relations of theory and practice, political engagement, critical thinking, and art practices, as well as to think about political engagement and efficacy under contemporary conditions.

5. Acquaint students with hundreds of "Keywords" connected to various Green practices, theories, communities, strategies (eg, abrasion, biomimesis, cradle-to-cradle, downcycling, externality, financialization, greenwashing, etc.).

6. Embed these discourses within an STS (science and technology studies) framework, emphasizing publicity/historicity of objects/subjects, actor-network formulations of actant/associate agency, and strong critique (via Arendt, Latour, and Haraway) of triumphalist-emancipatory narratives of technoscientific-sociopolitical progress.

1 comment:

Gregory G. Geiger said...

Where do we get the Gayatri Spivak, on Planetarity article?