Population, or “overpopulation,” has long been blamed as a primary reason for environmental problems, including climate change. In this class, we will critically examine the gendered and racialized ways that environmental thinkers have framed population in relation to resource scarcity, food insecurity, conflict and violence, environmental degradation and climate change. Starting from the 1948 bestsellers Our Plundered Planet and Road to Survival to the 2014 coffee table book, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, we will analyze environmental discourses that call for population reduction to address environmental issues. We will explore how these discourses influence environmental activism, impact sexual and reproductive health policy, and fuel anti-immigrant rhetoric, while obscuring the complex contributors to environmental problems. In the class, we will look to reproductive, environmental and climate justice movements to find frameworks that take action on environmental issues while fighting for social justice. This course meets the Power, Community and Social Justice distribution.
- Teacher: Anne Hendrixson