Asynchronous Online Class. Spring Quarter 2020.
Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Kalamazoo College
Our era of human caused climate crisis and in some cases irreversibly human-altered landscapes and environments that has been identified by scientists as “the Anthropocene” is defined by extinction, environmental disasters, displacement, crises and conflicts on a planetary scale. At the same time, from Climate Strike to Standing Rock, and from Australia to Brazil, new collective voices, new forms of environmental activism, indigenous resistance, anti-capitalist and anti-globalization movements gain momentum, challenge the capitalist logic of extraction, but also seek, and often demonstrate, alternative, decolonial and radical modes of land use, environmental knowledge and perception beyond established hierarchies and dichotomies. In this course we will examine cases of environmental crisis, disaster or injustice and forms of mobilization in response, through a global and comparative perspective and by focusing on some key issues such as land use, extraction, waste, forced migration/displacement, conflict and violence, urbanization, media representation and discourse. The course is structured around the media/environment duality in terms of exploring both mediated/representational as well as embodied/experiential ways of perceiving environmental crises and articulating a “sense of place”. It also uses it as a conceptual device to think about alternative, experimental, multimodal, and radical ways of re-imagining and re-mediating places, landscapes, environments in their human and “more than human” networks, relations, and ecologies and drawing from projects, movements and initiatives of environmental activism, indigenous knowledge and resistance, land use and re-claim or digital media, and radical cartography. Students will be able to critically review and explore forms, media and scales of place and the environment, from ethnography and ecocriticism to digital storytelling and mapping, both in collaborative assignments and in a final individual project.