Studies in Gender and the Environment

Course Description

What do we mean when we talk about "Mother Nature" or "Mother Earth"? Gender structures the most ordinary details of our understanding and dealings with nonhuman nature. In other words, gender as a discourse (a symbolic system which is embedded in social institutions) helps us make sense of the natural world. For most of modern western history, the human relationship with nature has been governed by a dualism of culture and nature that enables both an ideology of technical control and the objectification of the environment and people. With a focus on gender as a discourse and a social formation, this course examines how social relations affect the relationship between human beings and non-human nature. The course will explore this question from several perspectives including ecological feminism, the environmental justice movement, feminist science studies, materialist feminism, and feminist dystopian fiction.