Taught by Perr Zurn
This course is an in-depth study of environmental ethics. Reading widely in classic environmental literature, we begin by interrogating the changing referent of the term “nature,” from animals and wilderness to city parks and the organics movement. We then critically compare 1) “nature” with forms of life that are socially naturalized (e.g. able-bodied people) and 2) anti-nature (e.g. toxic waste) with the so-called socially unnatural (e.g. the queer, the immigrant). Drawing on ecofeminism, queer ecology, and disability theory, students learn that a robust environmental ethics must address degrading ecosystems alongside social hierarchies and marginalization. Students will be required to write a series of short papers and one final research project. At least one prior course in philosophy is recommended; one prior course in philosophy or ecology is required. This course is part of the Ethics and the Common Good Program.