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Syllabus-POS4936 - Fall 2009 Phone 412-5548 Instructor...

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1 Fall 2009 E-mail: [email protected] Phone# 412-5548 Office: FAMU “Old DRS” 106 Instructor, Kwasi Densu Office Hours: TTH 9:30 am-12:15 pm POS 4936 Seminar in Politics Culture, Land and Ecology: A Seminar In Black Environmental History and Politics In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that the issue of environmental quality is inextricably linked to that of human equality. Wherever in the world environmental despoliation and degradation is happening, it is almost always linked to questions of social justice, equity, rights and people’s quality of life in the widest sense. Julian Agyeman Just Sustainabilities Course Overview In simple terms this is a course in Black Environmental History and Politics. Our central goal is to explore the ways that communities of African descent have understood and related to the earth. Specific emphasis will be placed upon how this understanding and relationship has changed over time due to the socio- historical forces of westernization, capitalism, slavery, colonialism, industrialization and urbanization. Through the lens of this history we hope to develop a deeper appreciation for contemporary issues such as sustainable development, land reform, urban and rural poverty, global warming, food deserts, greening the economy, cap and trade and environmental justice. The first half of the course will engage selected issues in Africana environmental history with a specific emphasis on the African-American experience. The second half of the course will explore contemporary social and environmental problems in the African world community. Course Rationale Most assessments of the collective social conditions of African communities, globally speaking, reveal a picture that is both bleak and seemingly insurmountable. Of the fifty states categorized as “least developed countries” by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretariat, thirty-four of the fifty are located in sub-Saharan Africa. Collectively sub-Saharan African countries have the highest infant mortality rate at 172/1000 births, the lowest secondary school enrollment ratio at 18.89% and the lowest adult literacy rate at 49.8%. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the “worst impacted region in the world” by
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2 HIV. Africa is home to 64% of the world’s population living with AIDS, approximately 24.5 million people. The condition of African communities in the diaspora is analogous. Afro- Latino people represent one third of Latin America’s population yet comprises fifty percent of the regions poor. For African people in the United States the portrait is similar. African-American children are four times as likely as white babies to have their mothers die at childbirth. African-American youth are forty-eight times as likely to be incarcerated than white youth. Firearms have killed more African- American children and teens, over the past six years, than those who were murdered during the recorded history of lynching in the United States. Close to
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