Design and Environmental Justice

Undergrad course, Williams College (fall 2022), Instructor

This course offers key literature to examine the relationship between design and environmental justice. It will help build a vocabulary to study the environment and sustainability as disputed terrains between technological fixes and issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and colonial status. Students will explore interdisciplinary approaches to design, environmental justice, and urban political ecologies, drawing on debates from architecture and urbanism, the social sciences, ethnic and queer studies, and new materialist feminism.

This interdisciplinary seminar examines the interrelationship between design and environmental justice from an intersectional perspective. It encourages students to develop a critical understanding of the role that technical rationality, devoid of ethics and respect for difference, plays in producing racist, heteropatriarchal, and ecocidal forms of oppression. In parallel, we will explore place-based practices that counter neoliberal and extractivist approaches to the (built) environment.