(Re)considering Race and Heat: How Confronting Climate Change Reveals Anti-Racist Futures

Honors 88C Seminar

What does climate change have to do with racism? How do extreme heat environments produce and sustain racial inequalities? And what does it mean to confront climate change from an anti-racist approach? In this seminar, the instructors brought the environment from the background into the foreground to explore the ways in which environmental justice not only relates to racial justice, but also has shared interests in the fight against climate change.

Throughout the course, the instructors took a case study approach to consider how heat interfaces with human biology, public health, policy, education, fashion and popular media, (in)accessible infrastructure, and other topics to sustain racism. Students critically examined how their natural and built environment shape everyday life to produce an interdisciplinary approach to reconsider heat and racism and reimagine anti-racism in environmental justice. Using poetry, scrapbooking, storytelling, podcasts, and photoethnography, students learned anti-racist methods of producing knowledge of the climate crisis.

By paying closer attention to heat and how it shapes everyday life, this course challenged students to not only utilize an interdisciplinary approach to (re)consider heat and race, but to also think creatively about anti-racism and environmental justice.

The instructors for this course were Edna Tovar and Sean Sugai.