Although the fall semester is winding down, the Bellarmine Forum is just ramping up. The spring semester will provide students with opportunities to interact with guest speakers, attend unique presentations, and participate in courses that span a variety of disciplines.
Kicking things off on January 19, David Pellow will present “The Struggle for Climate Justice and Environmental Health.” Pellow comes from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is the Dehlsen Chair, Professor of Environmental Studies, and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project. On January 26, climate writers Sarah Jaquette Ray and Cara Buckley will present “Coping with Climate Anxiety.” In addition to these events, several others will be announced throughout the semester.
For students who want to immerse themselves further into the study of climate justice, the spring semester will feature five common courses that connect to this year’s theme:
Nature Writing (JOUR 4404) aims to help students answer the following question: What role can we as writers play in documenting, honoring, and preserving our bond with nature? Journalism Professor Evelyn McDonnell first taught the class last year via Zoom, and despite the limitations of digital learning, it quickly became her favorite course. Now that we are back on campus, McDonnell says she hopes that her course will offer even more ways to engage with America’s rich history of nature writing, and will teach “[students] to experience, observe, and reflect on nature.”
Environments, Bodies, and the Climate Crisis (SOCL 4998) will ask students to draw on a variety of fields and areas and use the concepts of vulnerability and resilience to orient the examination of the relationships between bodies and environments within the context of the current climate crisis. While by no means minimizing the risks our planet faces, Sociology Professor Rachel Washburn hopes that her course will counteract some of the overwhelming fear the climate crisis understandably engenders. She says she aims to offer “fresh and hopeful insights about how to navigate this moment with curiosity, humility, and in solidarity with those seeking more just and sustainable ways of living.”
Sustainable Cities (URBN 3046/EVST 3020) will help students identify our climate emergency as the broad contemporary context for sustainability planning. The course, taught by Professor Mona Seymour from the Department of Urban and Environmental Studies, is oriented towards sustainable urbanism in the United States, and will explore concepts including sustainability, sustainable development, and resilience; tension and conflict between the various goals of sustainable development; sustainability-related planning paradigms; and tools used to plan for and evaluate sustainability.
Environmental Strategy (MGMT 3960) will offer a deep dive into the man-made problems plaguing the natural environment, looking at the activities that have caused them, their current effects, and the potential solutions that private firms and non-governmental organizations are devising. it will be taught by Associate Professor of Management Trevor Zink.
Modern Global Environmental History (HIST 1060) will be taught by Professor of History Amy Woodson-Boulton, who describes the course as “a history of the world from 1500 to present considering how humans, animals, natural forces, and science and technology have shaped the environment (and vise-versa!) plus many ways of understanding ‘nature.’” Professor Woodson-Boulton is excited to connect 500 years of environment issues to the crucial conversations happening today.
Each of the aforementioned professors brings a passion for climate justice into the classroom and plans to incorporate the forum’s special events into their syllabi. To stay up-to-date with the developing schedule, please continue to visit the Bellarmine Forum website.