The Environment and Climate Change


Course lead: Dr Su-ming Khoo

2022

This module examines how climate change works through, and also exacerbates long-standing inequalities and exploitation. It suggests that to tackle environmental problems, climate change must be understood in relation to colonial histories. Sessions will focus on extractivism, pollution, the Anthropocene and more.

This module examines how climate change works through, and also exacerbates long-standing inequalities and exploitation. It suggests that to tackle environmental problems, climate change must be understood in relation to colonial histories. Sessions will focus on extractivism, pollution, the Anthropocene and more.


Lectures

1. Connected Sociologies of Pollution

Dr Su-ming Khoo

Pollution is a difficult, but essential topic for understanding how colonialism results in inequality, exploitation and injustice. Pollution embodies unjust distributions of harm, connecting structures of thought concerning law, land, resources, knowledge and waste to bodily realities of illness, injury and death, which are distributed in unjust and discriminatory ways. This brief lecture draws together and connects colonialism, pollution, environmental harm, with some broader reflections on industrialism, war, extermination, racism and wilful ignorance. This lecture takes Olof Palme’s speech at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment as its starting point. The idea of ‘ecocide’ is examined from its origins in war crimes to peacetime injustices that result from ‘economic logic of pollution’, a colonial logic of resource accumulation and harmful waste. This lecture suggests that a decolonial approach to pollution is needed to counter depoliticized, violently unequal and dehumanized understandings of the Anthropocene.

Pollution is a difficult, but essential topic for understanding how colonialism results in inequality, exploitation and injustice. Pollution embodies unjust distributions of harm, connecting structures of thought concerning law, land, resources, knowledge and waste to bodily realities of illness, injury and death, which are distributed in unjust and discriminatory ways.

This brief lecture draws together and connects colonialism, pollution, environmental harm, with some broader reflections on industrialism, war, extermination, racism and wilful ignorance.

This lecture takes Olof Palme’s speech at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment as its starting point. The idea of ‘ecocide’ is examined from its origins in war crimes to peacetime injustices that result from ‘economic logic of pollution’, a colonial logic of resource accumulation and harmful waste.

This lecture suggests that a decolonial approach to pollution is needed to counter depoliticized, violently unequal and dehumanized understandings of the Anthropocene.