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Urban Environmental Politics: (In)Justice, Inequality, and the City

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1987
Section 001
Instructor Mohammed Rafi Arefin
Days F
Time 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC, GLOBAL



In this course we will explore the production and contestation of injustice and inequality in urban environments. Rapid rates of uneven urbanization in the Global North and Global South have made cities important sites of environmental struggle. To examine environmental struggles in cities across the world we will first ask: what constitutes urban environments? We will work to create an expansive and distinctly urban definition of the environment to include sites as diverse as subway stations, urban gardens, sewers, landfills, highways, and city parks. After defining the urban environment, we will draw from a range of disciplines including urban political ecology, environmental history, urban geography, and environmental justice to ask: how is inequality and injustice both produced and resisted in and through urban environments? We will illustrate these concepts with specific case studies of urban environmental politics from cities across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and placebased exercises in New York City. In these case studies we will examine both spectacular events such as urban natural disasters and more mundane challenges like mold and water pressure in informal and public housing. Readings will be drawn from scholars including but not limited to Maria Kaika, Paul Robbins, Erik Swyngedouw, Sarah Moore, Nikhil Anand, David Harvey, Karen Bakker, Nik Heynen, and Laura Pulido.


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Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)