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Special Topics in Environmental Policy and Culture (390-0-30)


Art, Ecology, and Politics


Rebecca Elizabeth Zorach

Meeting Info

Harris Hall L04: Mon, Wed 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

In a time of growing awareness of severe environmental crisis, how do artists (and how do we) make change while avoiding despair? This class focuses on ways artists and activists who are motivated by ecological concerns, but also by optimism about the difference they can make, have adapted artistic strategies to address environmental issues over the course of recent decades. Blurring the boundary between art and activism, or art and environmental remediation, they have taken up themes of sustainability and materiality, "collaborated" with natural processes, and addressed crises from industrial toxins to global warming. In this course we address key themes in environmental art, considering art, ecology, and politics in relation to issues that include gender, race, poverty, territory, and indigeneity. The course will unfold in conjunction with a performance and class visit by a Kaplan artist in residence and will also involve one or more field trips. Along with class participation and periodic short writing assignments, work will include group and individual final projects.

Teaching Method

Field trips
Class participation
Guest speakers

Evaluation Method

Paper, final
Group project
Class participation
Group work
Project, final
Research project
Writing assignments

Class Materials (Required)

Readings will be available as PDFs