The Weight of Trash: Teaching Sustainability and Ecofeminism by Asking Undergraduates to Carry Around Their Own Garbage
PDF

How to Cite

Fahs, B. (2015). The Weight of Trash: Teaching Sustainability and Ecofeminism by Asking Undergraduates to Carry Around Their Own Garbage. Radical Teacher, 102, 30–34. https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2015.186

Abstract

This essay outlines a recent assignment I designed for an upper-division cross-listed women and gender studies/social justice and human rights course I teach called, “Trash, Freaks, and SCUM.”  In the context of the students reading Edward Humes’ (2012) Garbology, the trash bag assignment asked that students carry around their trash for two 48-hour periods and that they present it to the class.  While the first two day period assesses their actual trash output, students are asked to produce as little trash as possible for the second two day period. This assignment aims to make trash visible and to help students learn about climate change, sustainability, conspicuous consumption, and how their individual carbon footprint contributes to the “big picture” of environmental strain.  I describe this assignment and its goals in this essay, followed by an assessment of its role in teaching about social justice, in order to underscore the importance of experiential learning with trash and to highlight how this assignment fits the mission of my courses on feminism and social justice.

https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2015.186
PDF

References

Adams, C. J. (2010). The Sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. Edinburgh, UK: A&C Black.

Author (Removed for blinding purposes)

Bryant, A. N. (2003). Changes in attitudes toward women’s roles: Predicting gender role traditionalism among college students. Sex Roles, 28, 131-142.

Case, K. (2007). Raising male privilege awareness and reducing sexism: An evaluation of diversity courses. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31,426-235.

Copp, M., & Kleinman, S. (2008). Practicing what we teach: Feminist strategies for teaching about sexism. Feminist Teacher, 18, 101-124.

Gardner, C. V., & Riley, J. E. (2007). Breaking boundaries: Ecofeminism in the classroom. Radical Teacher, 78, 24-33.

Harris, K. L., Melaas, K., & Rodacker, E. (1999). The impact of women’s studies courses on college students of the 1990s. Sex Roles, 40, 969-977.

Harvester, L., & Blenkinsop, S. (2010). Environmental education and ecofeminist pedagogy: Bridging the environmental and the social. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 15, 120-134.

hooks, b. (2000). Feminist theory: From margin to center. Cambridge: South End Press.

Houde, L. J., & Bullis, C. (1999). Ecofeminist pedagogy: An exploratory case. Ethics and the Environment, 4(2), 143-174.

Huey-Li, L. (2007). Ecofeminism as a pedagogical project: Women, nature, and education. Educational Theory, 57(3), 351-368.

Humes, E. (2012). Garbology: Our dirty love affair with trash. New York: Penguin.

Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror: An essay on abjection. New York: Columbia University Press.

Rubin, C. (2014, Sept 19). Making a splash on campus: College recreation now includes pool parties and river rides. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/fashion/college-recreation-now-includes-pool-parties-and-river-rides.html?_r=0.

Russell, C. L., & Bell, A. C. (1996). A politicized ethic of care: Environmental education from an ecofeminist perspective. In K. Warren (Ed.), Women’s voices in experiential education (pp.172-181). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Scott, J. W. (2008). Women’s studies on the edge. Durham: Duke University Press.

Shrewsbury, C. M. (1993). What is feminist pedagogy? Women’s Studies Quarterly, 21, 8-16.

Solanas, V. (1968). SCUM Manifesto. New York: Olympia Press.

Somerville, M. J. (2008). A place pedagogy for “global contemporaneity.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 42(3), 326-344.

Stake, J. E. (2007). Predictors of change in feminist activism through women’s and gender studies classes. Sex Roles, 57, 43-54.

Stake, J. E., Roades, L., Rose, S., Ellis, L., & West, C. (1994). The women’s studies experience: Impetus for feminist activism. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18(1), 17-24.

Veblen, T. (2007). The theory of the leisure class. New York: Oxford University Press.


Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

1.  The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.

2.  Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.

3. The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site; with the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.

4. The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

5. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a pre-publication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.


6. Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.


7. The Author represents and warrants that:

     the Work is the Author’s original work;
     the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
     the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
     the Work has not previously been published;
     the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
     the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
 
8. The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.