11.368 | Fall 2004 | Graduate

Environmental Justice


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Overview

This course explores the foundations of the environmental justice movement, current and emerging issues, and the application of Environmental Justice (EJ) analysis to environmental policy and planning. During the semester, we will examine the claims made by groups and the policy and civil society responses that have been used to address perceived inequity and injustice. While most of the course will focus on the United States, some attention will be given to international issues and perspectives. This course requires active participation in discussions and critical assessments of the implications of environmental in/justice from both theoretical and practical standpoints.

Grading Criteria and Assignments

  1. Class Participation: This course requires your full participation in each session. Most weeks everyone will read the same articles. However, some weeks you will select an additional article or two to read and summarize for the class. You should be prepared to provide summaries of the readings, ask questions, provide constructive feedback, assist classmates locate resources, and generate and share critical perspectives.

  2. Reaction Papers: You are required to write brief (no more than one-page) reaction papers on the readings each week. These papers should include a statement of what you believe are the most important aspects of the readings as well as your reactions, critiques, disagreements, and / or questions. Reaction papers will not be graded, but they will be counted toward your final grade.

  3. Term Project: Your project should focus on a topic related to environmental justice that is of personal interest. For instance, you can study the EJ campaigns of one or more environmental organizations, volunteer to work on an EJ related activity, analyze the distribution of sitings in a given locale, or do primary or secondary research on any topic related to EJ. Students who prefer to write two short papers or to submit their paper in installments are welcome to pursue these options. There are four requirements and deadlines related to the project:

  • Meet with the professor at least once during the semester to discuss your topic and plans for the term project, paper, and presentation.

  • Write a one paragraph summary of your topic.

  • Complete your final paper (details of the paper will be discussed) by Lecture 11.

  • Present your project to the class. Two class sessions are dedicated to this purpose.


Class Participation 20%
Reaction Papers 30%
Term Project 50%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004