Many people in the world know that China has huge environmental problems. Who is to blame for the country's smoggy skies, polluted waters, and growing deserts? Is it an oppressive government? Or do those of us in the West, who enjoy the cheap products of Chinese factories, deserve some of the responsibility? What about China's people? Are they sitting back passively in response to these issues, rising up and organizing in response?
This course explores China’s complex environmental issues, their historical roots, and social implications. It also examines the rise of environmental social activism in China, as well as its growing influence in the country. The course will utilize pedagogical methods from InterGroup Relations (IGR) to provide students with the intellectual tools to analyze issues of power, privilege, and identity and by extension, their own position in the world in relation to these environmental issues.
This extended study is linked to ASIA/ENST/SOCI 313. Students will travel to the People’s Republic of China, where they will examine sites of environmental problems, but also meet activists and see their work in progress. The trip will also bring to the forefront some of the issues of power, privilege, and race issues that were discussed in the course.