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2023-2024 Altman Symposium: Environmental Justice

The 2023-2024 Altman Program invited the Miami University community to join the urgent, transdisciplinary conversation on environmental justice. What political, economic, conceptual, and cultural barriers stifle the realization of an environmentally just and sustainable society? What is the meaning of “justice” at the astonishing scale of the planet? What ethical frameworks and imaginative interventions are essential to facing the environmental challenges of our time? What can we learn from the history of human responses to social and ecological peril? And how can scholars, students, and the public forge a more just and sustainable future for our planet?

Symposium Schedule

This two-day symposium featuring presentations by faculty and students and two exceptional keynote speakers is the culmination of our 2023-2024 Altman Program. All events will occur in the Shriver Center Heritage Room and are open to the public.

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

1:15 Welcome and Introductions, Tim Melley

1:25 Global Environmental Justice 

Roundtable moderated by Ryan Gunderson 

The ecological crisis is primarily driven by the practices of massive corporations and the institutions and policies of powerful nation-states, a crisis that disproportionately impacts marginalized groups who have done the least to cause environmental harm. This roundtable explores some of the social and historical drivers of, and adaptations to, global environmental injustice as well as proposals for, and barriers to, a more ecologically and socially just world. 

Gender and Climate Change Adaptation in the Global South

Naaborle Sackeyfio, Associate Professor of Global and Cultural Studies

Powerless, Stupefied, and Repressed Actors Cannot Challenge Climate Change: Real Helplessness as a Barrier Between Climate Concern and Action

Ryan Gunderson, Associate Professor of Sociology

Extractivist Masculinities and Installations of Modern Military Imperialism in US Foreign Policy

Casey Olthaus, M.A. Candidate in History

2:45 Coffee Break

3:00 Pedagogy & The Ethics of Care 

Roundtable moderated by Jacque Daugherty

In a time dominated by climate-related grief and anxiety, the classroom is an important site of care. From needing time away mid-semester to help their family recover from Hurricane Ian to factoring global warming into their decision to have children, students struggle with the impact of social and ecological crises on their lives. This roundtable explores some of the ways in which college classrooms can model care and prioritize the collective well-being of students, in line with scholars and activists who agree that such modes of social organization are critical to effectively addressing the challenges ahead. 

To Know a Plant is to Love a Plant

Hank Stevens, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

Project-based Learning and Environmental Justice Activism as Frames for Care in the Classroom

Jacque Daugherty, Associate Teaching Professor of Individualized Studies and Director of the Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation

Home Sweet Home: Free Black Women’s Relationship to the Environment in the Hostile Heartland

Jazma Sutton, Assistant Professor of History

The Pedagogy of Degrowth

Luis (Iñaki) Prádanos-Garcia, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

4:45 Coffee Break

5:00 Keynote – Black Ecofeminism and Abolitionist Ecology

Jennifer James, Associate Professor of English, George Washington University 

6:15 Reception

Friday, April 19th, 2024

9:00 Geoffrion Fellows Undergraduate Panel

Moderator: Pepper Stetler

Coastal Identity and Ecocriticism in East Frisia

Annalise Chapdelaine

Conditioned Unsustainable Ecological Behavior in Response to Militarism: Japan's Invasion of Machuria

Caleb Chun

Unpacking Perceptions: The Role of Framing in Shaping Voter Views on Climate Migration Policies

Mollie Duffy

Riddles in the Anthropocene

Sam Fouts

Outlaw Operators, Then and Now: How Coal Companies Enable the Black Lung Crisis in Central Appalachia

Meredith Perkins

Cinema's Climate Change Problem

Ryan Rosu

My Art is Trash, My Trash is Art: A Reimagining of Our Wasteful Circumstances Built Upon Art and Action

Brian Vogt

10:20 Coffee Break

10:35 Literature, History, and Art in a Time of Climate Crisis

Roundtable moderated by Michele Navakas

In an age of environmental peril, what use is literature and other art? Environmental problems are often seen as technical challenges requiring scientific expertise alone. This roundtable, however, explores how various forms of art, past and present, are indispensable for grasping and grappling with the spatial and temporal complexities of environmental injustice, and then designing a different, more just future. 

“the people on his estate lived in foul, sinful hovels!”: Environmental Injustice in Vernon Lee’s Miss Brown

Conner Moore, Ph.D. Candidate in English

Beautiful Consumption

Roscoe Wilson, Professor of Art

Rachel Carson Reading: The Literary Origins of American Ecology

Michele Navakas, Professor of English

 12:00 Lunch Break

 1:00 Closing Keynote – 'Everything is Going to Have to Be Put Back': Responsibility and Repair in the Anthropocene 

Michelle C. Neely, Associate Professor of English, Connecticut College

2:15 The Chem-Dyne Superfund Site: The Toxic History of Hamilton

Geoffrion Fellows Group Presentation

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