How to Read & Use the Textook
Social Class & the Environment is a college writing (CW) course; it fulfills Middlebury's second writing requirement. I began teaching this course in 2013, the goal being to expose non-traditional environmental studies students to the world of Environmentalism. The course launched 13 years after Robert D. Bullard's Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality (Westview Press, 2000), a standard text in the environmental justice field. Bullard, often described as the father of environmental justice, was central to my developing this course and, eventually (after having taught the course 5 previous times), lead me to Project Based Learning and this textbook.
"The internalization of negative feelings, images, stereotypes, prejudices, myths, and misinformation promoted by the racist system contributes to self-doubt and mistrust within and among other groups of people of color...This leads to a lack of the support that is absolutely necessary for effective leadership to emerge and group strength to grow," says Bullard (The Quest for Environmental Justice, Counterpoint, 2005).
Involving students in critical pedagogy (Maxine Greene, 1986), an engaged pedagogy (bell hooks, 1994), enables the interrogation of categories that foster "the internalization of negative feelings, images, stereotypes, prejudices, myths, and misinformation promoted by the racist system." This inquiry requires expression: enter SCALAR for the writing of long-form, born-digital scholarship online.
The project for this textbook began in the spring semester of 2020—pre-COVID19. Halfway through that spring semester, all at Middlebury College were sent home. The student-authors in the course opted to continue to work on the textbook. After the pre-COVID19 introduction to SCALAR, student-authors opted to continue with the project because the collaborative writing assignments, pages in SCALAR, could be done virtually by synthesizing synchronous and asynchronous activities, and ZOOM meetings, with each other and me.
The spring 2021 course picked-up where the spring 2020 course left off. This meant going back to the pages student-authors constructed, edit and revise, and create media where appropriate. "Lessons" and any additional pedagogical matter that involves writing on the part of the student user, I created.