Greening Africana Studies

Greening Africana Studies: Linking Environmental Studies with Transforming Black Experiences

Rubin Patterson
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 258
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bsx8d
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  • Book Info
    Greening Africana Studies
    Book Description:

    Insufficient attention has been given to the environment in Africana studies within the academy. InGreening Africana Studies, Rubin Patterson initiates an important conversation explaining why and how the gap between these two disciplines can and should be bridged. His comprehensive book calls for a green African transnationalism and focuses on the mission and major paradigms that identify the respective curriculum, research interests, and practices.In his original work, Patterson demonstrates the ways in which black communities are harmed by local environmental degradation and global climate change. He shows that many local unwanted land use sites (LULUs), such as brownfields and toxic release inventory facilities, are disproportionately located in close proximity to neighborhoods of color, but also to colleges and universities with Africana studies programs. Arguing that such communities are not aggressively engaging in environmental issues,Greening Africana Studiesalso provides examples of how Africana studies students as well as members of black communities can prepare for green careers.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0873-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Education, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Introduction: Bridging Africana Studies and Environmental Studies
    (pp. 1-20)

    Budding intellectuals who are attracted to Africana studies and environmental studies are, of course, curious about the subject matter of these half-century-old academic fields, but they also want to know that their studies prepare them to become effective change agents, empowered to bring about and administer more equitable and sustainable societies. This book responds to the inquiries and needs of such individuals. First, however, we must recognize the two fields of study as complementary in their respective missions. For this reason, the primary aim of this book is to explore and rectify the disconnect between Africana studies and environmental studies...

  5. 1 Greening Africana Studies: Redemption, Redevelopment, and Remuneration in the Black Community
    (pp. 21-49)

    Scholarly contributors to and advocates of Africana studies are rightfully proud of the field: it has been successfully established in the academy for forty-seven years and has trained Ph.D.s in the field for twenty-seven. That Africana studies is flourishing is evidenced by its eleven doctoral programs and its high job placement rate of 75 to 100 percent (West 2012), which is higher than that in many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Throughout its history, Africana studies has contributed groundbreaking knowledge about social dynamics and culture and, as a result, has influenced other disciplines and interdisciplinary programs.

    However, rather...

  6. 2 We Have a Lot in Common: Let’s Talk
    (pp. 50-96)

    In all academic fields of study, multiple explanatory and predictive paradigms compete for dominance. Scholarly works tend to fit in a given paradigm or a school of thought, and rarely do scholars switch one for another in a serial manner. The major Africana studies paradigms covered in this chapter are class analysis, Afrocentrism, Africana womanism/black feminism, and radical egalitarianism. The major paradigms of environmental studies are ecological modernization, environmental justice, eco-Marxism, ecofeminism, and ecocentrism.

    Paradigms, or schools of thought, are organized around a set of assumptions and propositions about various aspects of the subject area in question. Take African womanism...

  7. 3 Brownfields, Toxics Release Inventory Facilities, and the Black Community
    (pp. 97-137)

    Environmental policy, like any other public policy, is defined by the dominant social paradigm, which is the embodiment of the beliefs and values shaping our outlook on society, government, and individual responsibility. The dominant social paradigm in America is laissez-faire capitalism—a minimalist government on behalf of the average citizen—with continual economic growth and technology fixes for much of our personal and social ills (Smith 2012). It is also hegemonic and self-interestedly advocates a social stasis that solidifies soaring political and economic dispensation.

    Fundamental change comes from those corners of society that are progressively against the dominant paradigm. Social...

  8. 4 Green Jobs
    (pp. 138-172)

    In this age of neoliberalism and restricted pathways to upward social mobility, leaders of higher-education institutions are increasingly privileging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the expense of liberal arts. Erick Fingerhut, former chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, argues that schools of higher education should focus on programs that create jobs and on course offerings that are clearly linked to labor demands. He is not only giving voice to the sensibilities of private-sector enterprises in Ohio but also reflecting the sentiment of students attending or soon to be attending one of Ohio’s state universities and their parents....

  9. 5 Greening and Growing Africa Economically: A Role for Transnationalism
    (pp. 173-199)

    Finally! Afro-pessimism has given way to Afro-optimism! For example, Africa is experiencing declines in child mortality faster than the world has witnessed anywhere for the last thirty years (“The Best Story” 2012). Since the late 1990s, it has been on a continuous economic growth trajectory, and the fundamentals make it such that this is not the false dawn witnessed in years past. This time, economic growth and transformation are represented not just by an expansion of commodities in response to churning development in wealthy core nations or the emerging giant of China; rather, they are being seen in telecommunications, retail,...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 200-206)

    In writing this book, I set out to fulfill straightforward objectives and complete a challenging task. One of my objectives was to provide evidence that unquestionably establishes Africana studies as a rigorous and hugely important academic field but also to show that it has not yet invested nearly enough of its scholarly attention in environmental degradation and climate change, which adversely affect persons of African heritage more than they do other groups. The empirical data presented in Chapter 1 support this proposition. For example, I looked at self-reported data on Africana studies programs and their faculty all across the country...

  11. References
    (pp. 207-222)
  12. Index
    (pp. 223-229)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 230-230)