Cultural Landscapes: Sustainability, Power, and Justice
Revised Last Updated: 03/15/2010
Fall, Winter and Spring quarters
Major areas of study include environmental studies, cultural studies, geography, community studies and media studies.
Class Standing: This lower-division program is designed for 50% freshmen and 50% sophomores.
Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Students will be expected to do some catch-up work to review fall-quarter fundamental readings. This program will accept interested upper division students as space allows.
Accepts Spring Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, without signature. Students are asked to contact the faculty to help arrange for internships or project work.
This interdisciplinary program will focus on the production and transformation of landscapes by different cultures in the Pacific Northwest, South America and the Middle East. It will introduce students to the foundations of environmental, cultural, media and community studies, with an emphasis on sustainability, human geography, cultural practices, struggles for environmental justice, and movements to preserve land and cultures faced with colonization and globalization. We will explore themes such as the connection between native peoples, land, resources and struggles for self-determination; the potential for creating labor-environment coalitions; national security in relation to civil liberties and human rights; environmental and human impacts of war and military occupation; and the role that public art and media can play in community struggles and organizing. Through our studies, observation and engagement with movements and communities we hope to reframe these often polarized debates and identify emerging solutions. Students will be introduced to a variety of approaches to action for sustainability and justice, including movements that emphasize popular democracy and decision-making, national autonomy, and coalition-building across cultural, regional and national borders.
We expect to take a 2-3 day field trip in Washington each quarter, emphasizing field observations of the landscapes and cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Students will learn to "read" landscapes—natural, urban/industrial, rural or militarized landscapes—as primary sources of information about community identity, culture, social relations and human/environment relationships. We will also analyze cultural texts, including literature and film, to understand the relationships of people and communities to their natural and created environments and how their sense of identity is influenced by their experience of place.
Selected topics in environmental studies will be introduced, including climate change, human population, energy, pollution and species extinction. We will look at the role the media plays in shaping our understanding of people and places. We will also learn how people in diverse political, economic and social situations are working to create justice and sustainability and we will explore strategies and media for observing, analyzing and collaborating with communities engaged in these efforts.
Fall quarter will focus on the histories of expansion, colonization and globalization in the Middle East, South America and the American West. In winter, we will more closely examine specific international case studies in the Middle East and South America (Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Venezuela and Brazil).
The centerpiece of spring quarter will be learning about landscapes of sustainability and justice through active engagement with the community, via part-time in-program internships or through community projects. Part of each student's week will be spent working with an organization or on a project, with faculty support. We will work with you to identify a local organization with which you can collaborate. Some possible subject areas include (but aren't limited to) sustainability, agriculture and food systems, social justice, immigrant rights, education and climate change. The rest of our time will be devoted to readings, films, a weekly seminar and workshops. Students have the option to do project work in photography, writing or video-a weekly workshop to develop documentary video production skills will be offered throughout the quarter. We will work with four main texts: The Long Haul by Myles Horton, Witness in Our Time by Ken Light, The Land That Could Be by William Shutkin, and Doing Democracy by Moyer, McAllister, Finley, and Soifer. There will also be short readings, some of which will be decided on collaboratively by students and faculty. Continuing our observations and experiences with cultural landscapes, we will take a 3-day field trip to the Olympia Peninsula, and will continue to develop skills in field observation, expository writing, photography, audio recording/interviewing, and the terminology and methodology of environmental studies.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Enrollment: 69 Fall, 69 Winter and 46 Spring
Internship Possibilities: Internships are one option for spring quarter projects.
Special Expenses: Fall: $100 for project materials and $100 for overnight field trips; Winter:$100 for project materials and $100 for overnight field trips; Spring: $25 for project materials and $100 for overnight field trips.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in geography, cultural studies, international affairs, environmental conservation, community organizing and advocacy, documentary journalism and education.
|May 5th, 2009||Winter enrollment details added.|
|December 14th, 2009||This program has changed to Lower Division.|
|February 9th, 2010||Therese Saliba will be teaching Arab and Muslim Women Writers in spring quarter.|
|March 11th, 2010||Spring enrollment details added.|
|March 15th, 2010||Spring quarter activities expanded in description.|