E-Lecture (WiSe 2016/17)

"Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development" (BA 03 141 01505)
Wednesday, 4 pm to 6 pm

HowTo setup your devices and to use the virtual classroom

Playlist of all recorded e-lectures of this seminar

Not a student at Philips University of Marburg?
Follow the link for tuition fees and registration.
Second of its kind, the next e-lecture is hosted by the Philips Universität Marburg, Institute for political science (internal QIS link). The course contributes to the nationwide goal of International Network University to foster e-learning in academic teaching as outlined in the principles of strenghtening and reforming teaching in academia as agreed on the German wide Hochschulrektorenkonferenz.

Past e-lectures have demonstrated it a powerful tool for international networking, joint learning, inter-disciplinary exchange, and sustainable production of knowledge.

Please pay close attention to the Technical details in general, and the Course requirements for successful participation in particular, at the end of the site.

Course description

This course will analyse the environmental problem set by looking at two concepts Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice. Both concepts will be discussed as part of their socio-historical emergence as well as in their relevance for policy making. We are going to look at the discourses of both as well as at the policy frames in which these are settled.
Poster (click here or on the image to download pdf)
Environmental concerns have reached the international political agenda after decades of debates within governmental institutions. Paul and Anna Ehrlich’s (1970; 1968) Positive Program triggered political movements in the Western world and the Stockholm Conference in 1972 together with the Limits to Growth (D. H. Meadows, Meadows, Randers, & Behrens, 1972) made the starting point for the raise and development of environmental movements around the world (Huber, 2001). The concept of Sustainable Development became one of the most relevant discourses at this time and until today. Around this famous concept other discourses on climate change and biodiversity have also been settled as part of global struggles and discussions about the environmental impacts of our current path of development. Connected to anti-colonialist, indigenous, anti-capitalist, and feminist movements, grassroots tried to get a foot in the doorstep to addressing local environmental problem sets in the global framework. According to Huber (Ibd.) these movements grew in size and power until the end of the 1980s. When Spirit of Rio spread over after the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro (1992), many of these movements were institutionalized and became part of the international policymaking process. Since the millennium the environmental movements are declining (Ibd.).
At the same time (after 2000), critiques emerged on the weakness of the Sustainable Development concept. Some argue that the concept is more about development than about sustainability (Nobre, 2002). Others assume the ambiguity as being part of the concept itself. Another perspective argues that Sustainable Development lost its connection to the local settings in the above named process of institutionalization (Kaufmann, 2013).
At the same time, when established concepts (see above) were perceived as too weak to describe the existing problems, Environmental Justice – a local grassroots concept from the 1970s in the USA – or the question of social justice and environmental problems became more and more influential.
Naturally, like Sustainable Development Environmental Justice contains several partial conceptions. Sustainability and development questions are part of the former concept, whereas justice and environmental concerns dominate the latter one. As many authors argue (c.f. Bolte, G., Bunge, C., Hornberg, C., Köckler, H., Mielck, 2012; cf. Maschewsky, 2001; Walker, 2009), Environmental Justice consists in the concepts of environmental goods, environmental bads, and environmental risks (Kaufmann, 2013, p. 167).
There is a rough institutional understanding, recognized from the American and Canadian debates since the 1980s that refers strongly to environmental justice claims and claims of environmental racism (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008), historically targeting the beginning of environmental justice struggles after the Love Channel incident (cf. Dobsen, 1998; T. H. Fletcher, 2003; T. Fletcher, 2002) and protests against illegal waste siting in Warren County (cf. R. D. Bullard, 1993; R. Bullard, 1993; Chavis & Lee, 1987). Environmental justice research examines not only marginalized racial or ethnic groups (native Americans, indigenous people, people of Afro-American or Aboriginal origin etc.), but also gender divides (Souza, 2008). Due to the history of the movement (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008), environmental justice research is ‘bottom-up’ – it focuses on the community level (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996) and an understanding of the ‘environment’ concept as a place where we “live, act and play” (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008, p. viii). As for the justice conception, the concept deals with distributional, intergenerational, and procedural justice likewise.
The grassroots orientation of this research has established environmental justice research close to cultural studies but also close to studies on inequality, gender, planning, economics, ethics, philosophy, sociology, and politics (among others). As a general research framework, environmental justice refers to environmental racism in terms of statistical likeliness to face negative impacts in the respective environment (Beck, 1986, among others). It is important to distinguish two possible answers to the revealed unequal distribution of environmental goods and environmental burdens. One is called the Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) claim that came from the early days where Afro-American communities articulated the demand of replacement of waste sites that threaten their neighbourhood. The second one is more critical and asks for Not-In-Anyone’s-Backyard (NIABY) (cf. Maantay, 2001). According to the latter answer, the solution must include the concerns of society as a whole. Environmental justice adds community as an autonomous actor to environmental research and makes social justice concerns part of the environmental research field (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996).
Planning research has added the concept of polyrationality (Davy, 2008) to express differently perceived environments of housing communities. In sociology, environmental justice research is tied to the social construction of the environment concept. This leads here to the understanding that environmental issues only exist as an environmental problem when the affected community perceives them as such, or the ‘social nature’ concept (cf. Kaufmann, 2013). Political science focuses on equal participation rights in the process of building public opinion (Maguire & Lind, 2003) whereas law and philosophy look at the different conceptions of justice (Rawls, 1972; Schmidtz, 2007).


Ehrlich, P. R. (1968). The Population Bomb. Population Control or Race to Oblivion. New York.
Ehrlich, P. R., & H., E. A. (1970). Population, Resources Environment. Issues in human ecology. San Francisco.
Huber, J. (2001). Umweltbewegung. Vom Outsider-Protest zur Assimilation. In Allgemeine Umweltsoziologie. Forschungs- und Interventionsfelder der Umweltsoziologie (pp. 245–273). Wiesbaden.
Kaufmann, G. F. (2013). Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. With a case study in Brazil’s Amazon using Q Methodology (3rd ed.). Saarbrücken: Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften.
Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The Limits to Growth. (D. Meadows, Ed.). Universe Books.
Nobre, M. (2002). Desenvolvimento Sustentável. A institucionalização de um conceito. Brasília.

Technical details

Prerequisites: A good command of English is prerequisite for this class. As this is an only-online course, each student is required to have a computer/laptop with a working camera and headset/microphone. Students are required to be in a silent working environment without high background noises during the class (preferrably at home or in one of the group working rooms).

Course requirements for successful participation: Attendance; active participation in the seminar's discussions and discussions with experts; oral presentation of a certain subject; final academic paper (10 to 15 pages) in English (preferred) or German. Grading (Prüfungsleistung): 50% final paper, 30& presentation (Studienleistung I), 20% active participation during the course (Studienleistung II)

General remarks: The first session will take place face to face by which technical issues will be discussed (room still tbd [= to be decided]). Therefore, every student is asked to come with the required hardware for the course. Please register early as you will receive beforehand instructions by email.
Please also bookmark this site as you are going to find here information about the course during the semester.

Teaching Method (virtual classroom) & technical requirements for participation:

This seminar is an only online course using the method of a virtual classroom setting. All meetings will be held in the virtual room and no face to face meetings in the physical room will take place. The principle requirement for successful participation is a laptop and a headset with microphone. No specific software is needed, only your browser should be up to date as we use Adobe Connect to create the virtual space, which you can open just by clicking on the link from the instruction email (see below). All technical issues will be discussed (if necessary in German) in the first meeting. All sessions will be recorded and made available for you on blackboard. Everyone who has listed on this course will receive detailed information of how to login by the course instructor.

For a first overview on the functionality and design of Adobe Connect, please watch the following classroom demo:

What is to consider:

First, you will receive an email by the instructor of how to enter the virtual classroom. This email will be sent to everyone who is listed in the ILIAS course (no password required) 24 hours before out first meeting on October 19.
Secondly, the first session is crucial for participating in the class. This session is saved for learning the tool (Adobe Connect). Those who have not participated in this session cannot join later on because the required skills to successfully take part in the virtual course cannot be obtained later on. Consequentially, the ILIAS course will be closed after the first session for registration.
Thirdly, a weekly consultation hour will take place in a virtual room particular designed for this purpose.

What is to learn:

By end of the seminar, you will be eligible to differentiate between the three main development theories (modernization, dependency, and world system). Also, you will have learned about the history of the environmental movements from Limits to Growth to the "decay of environmental movements" (Huber 2001).
Furthermore, we will discuss the other (remaining) part concepts of the main terms such as sustainability, environment, and justice.

Additionally, participating scholars will be trained to use Adobe Connect – a leading virtual classroom software – as a participant and as a presenter.
A certificate of participation will be issued by the instructor upon request after successful participation in the subject.

In case of problems to enrol on ILIAS (if student at Philips university Marburg [PUM]) or if you are not a student at PUM or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor by mailing to goetz.kaufmann@environmentaljustice.de.

Sustainable Production of Knowledge

In the last paragraph, the richness of possibilities provided by eLearning as a tool will be portrayed.
As part of the course, every session will be recorded and made available by video. The idea is to provide the participants with the ongoing possibility to re-watch in the moment of need (LMN). Learning in the moment of need or the possibility to follow up the lecture later on also integrates asynchronous learning and synchronous learning methods. Recordings of invited lecturers will be made available not only for the audience of the participants, but - through the institute's own youtube channel - for everyone and forever.

How to access the virtual classroom?

A link will be provided in ILIAS (for students from Philips University of Marburg) and sent respectively by email to externals. There, you are also going to find a video explaining how to access the virtual classroom.

To get a first idea, have a look at the tutorial that was provided last semester for students from Free University of Berlin and participants from abroad:

Course syllabus

Date Topic and presenter
19.10.2016 Technical introduction
Presenter: Götz Kaufmann (download documentation here)
Historical overview. Huber's five phases model of environmental movement
Presenter: Götz Kaufmann (download documentation here)
Introduction to EJ and SD: part concepts of development, sustainability, environment, and justice
Presenter: Marius (download documentation here)
Development Theories I: Modernization Theory and its Critiques
Presenter: Mareike (download documentation here)
Development Theories IIa: World System and its Critiques
Presenter: Lisa O (download documentation here)
Development Theories IIb: Dependency, Globalization and its Critiques
Presenter: Marcus
History and conceptions: four world-views on environmental change
Presenter: Dominique
History of nature and society relation
Presenter: Sebastian
Introduction: Mapping Sustainability
Public lecture: Varieties of sustainability and varieties of capitalism: The case of renewable energy development Presenter (introduction): Götz Kaufmann
Presenter (public lecture): Stefan Stefan Cetkovic
Justice: Theory or Road Map
Presenter: Lisa S
Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Research. History and frame
Presenter: Andrea
Case Study: tbd (originally USA)
Presenter: Serkan
Case Study: Canada (nationwide, First Nations vs. EJ movement)
Presenter: Anke
Case Study: Germany (Hamburg, Berlin) & Conclusion
Presenter: Julia