While college campuses are legitimate sites of struggle for climate justice, this depiction is contested as universities are themselves deeply intertwined in the status quo. Crucial questions remain: what is the role of universities in upholding the injustices of an extractive fossil fuel-based economy? Is the university a climate actor?
This brand-new, 5-credit course, taught by Jackson School faculty Danya Al-Saleh in autumn quarter (JSIS 478D/578C), will begin with a grounding in two bodies of scholarship: critical university studies and climate justice. In bringing together and synthesizing insights from these interdisciplinary literatures, the course will ask: how has the university itself been shaped by struggles over racialized and gendered oppression, environmental and class exploitation, and colonial intervention? What does this have to do with the question of climate justice? Building on this historical and analytical foundation, students will collectively investigate the contemporary role and responsibility of universities.
Al-Saleh, who recently joined the Jackson School as Assistant Professor of International Studies in the the first-ever faculty position in environmental justice, focuses on the connections among energy transition, engineering, the role of gender and how U.S. universities are transnational actors in environmental injustice through their ties to fossil fuels. Her latest research sits at the intersection of Gulf Studies, political economy, energy geographies, and critical university studies.