ES/ENVS 3125. 3.0


Popular Education


Environmental &

Social Justice


Courtesy of Eric Drooker –





York University

BES Program




FALL 2012


York University

BES Program


ES/ENVS 3125. 3.0 Popular Education for Environmental and Social Justice


Fall 2012


Calendar Description: Students explore the key notions of popular education related to knowledge and power, and various forms of anti-oppression practice addressing racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ableism, and human/non-human domination in the context of organizations and movements for social and environmental justice in a globalizing and diasporic context.


Prerequisite    none


Course Director         chris cavanagh             HNES 114


Course consultation hours:   Mon. 12:30-3:30 pm; or by appointment


Time and Location    Mondays 8:30 – 11:30            HNES103


Purpose and Objectives of the Course

The purpose of this course is to provide a critical overview of the history, philosophy and practice of popular education in the context of struggles for social and environmental justice.


The specific objectives of the course include:

1.      to provide an understanding of popular education as a philosophy & practice relating to issues of power.

2.      To develop an understanding of the interconnection of popular education and environmental and social justice

3.      to provide an overview of strategies to build alliances across differences such as race, religion, gender, age, ability, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc.

4.      to provide an introduction to popular education planning, designing, organising, facilitating and evaluating on environmental and social justice issues

5.      to develop an understanding that popular education involves continuous collective and self-reflection and learning.


Organization of the Course

The course involves lectures and facilitated learning activities by the instructor and invited guests. There are no tutorial sessions. The lecture sessions will include time for participation in a variety of popular education activities, small group work, discussion, and will be supplemented by films and videos.

            The required readings are central to the course.  The lectures will serve to enrich, clarify, and illustrate crucial issues from the assigned readings.  Readings listed under a particular date are assigned for the lecture on that date.


            The grade for the course will be based on the following items weighted as indicated (Please   Note: Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Program or Faculty grades    distribution profiles.):


Assignment #1 – short essay: Story About Learning                                 15%

Assignment #2 – presentation & report: Naming the Moment                 25%

Assignment #3 – Praxis paper                                                                     25%

Participation (including structured criticisms):                                           35%


Assignment #1:     A Story About Learning

                             a short essay about learning – 750 to 1,250 words (15%)

                             DUE: beginning of class on October 1, 2012


Learning is, arguably, the most ubiquitous activity in our life. From the moment we are born we begin to learn. With family, friends, community and, eventually, educational institutions; our first couple of decades are structured by learning. Many people spend all or part of their third decade in the structured learning situations of college, undergraduate and graduate education. And in school or not, learning is an almost daily necessity of life. This essay is an opportunity to reflect on one or more experiences of learning in your life thus far. The following points are a guide to assist you:


a.     This essay is about the way learn. And, in particular, should describe and discuss the way(s) that you prefer to learn.

b.    Tell a story. You are not being asked for a bulleted list of skills, habits, behaviours, etc.

c.     Consider moments in your life when you learned a lasting lesson – whether this was a positive or negative learning experience. Choose an experience (you can choose to focus on one experience or two or three experiences linked by a theme) that explain the preferred way of learning you are describing.

d.    Connect this learning to why you are in a class about social and environmental justice.

e.    If you have ever been in the position of teaching others something that you had learned, you can include this experience. Did this teaching experience help you develop your own preferences?

f.       Link your preferred way of learning to how you think positive social and environmental change happens.

g.      Challenge yourself. Our preferences can often mean that we need to strengthen other ways of learning. What are two or three ways that you can become a better learner?

h.      You can include personal history, critical questions, ideas about popular education, social and environmental justice or other practices and theories of critical education of which you have knowledge or experience.

i.        You do not need to restrict your experience only to that of formal schooling. You can draw from any aspect of your life.


Assignment #2: Naming the Moment Presentation and report (25%)

You will form a team of three to five people. You will choose (or be assigned) an environmental justice topic for which you will prepare a presentation/activity to be presented in one of the classes in November. Your presentation or activity will be based on the popular education material and exercises that will be shared and covered in the course. The presentation will be approximately 30 minutes. The team will collaborate on a report (3 to 5 pages plus appendices) and each individual will write a personal reflection (300 to 500 words) on the learning experience of this team research and presentation. Further instructions will be shared once the course has begun.


Assignment #3: Praxis Paper including self-evaluation (25%)

This final paper will be a chance to revisit your learning throughout this course. You will review your first assignment and all structured criticisms (these will be included as appendices) and your team experience. You will be expected to connect the course material with your learning. Further instructions will be shared once the course has begun.


(For assignments submitted on the last day of class, please refer to “Instructions for Submission and Return of Final Assignments” section below)


Your Participation (35%)

Your grade will be based on your attendance in class (which will be measured by the structured criticisms that will be completed at the end of each class), contributions to class discussions, awareness of issues in required readings, and ability to relate issues to broader concerns of the course.  Your participation grade will be assigned based on a subjective assessment of these factors.


Structured Criticisms:

A structured criticism is a dynamic way of evaluating something (a classroom situation, reading, event, experience, person, relationship, etc…). A structured criticism includes:


1.      What you connected with and how this insight is important for you or what helped you learn this in this particular class.

2.      What you learned about the way you learn.

3.      What you would like to change to better fit you & your values.


Required Reading

The following books are required reading for the course:


N Kane, Liam


Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau. – Available in bookstore

N Barndt, Deborah


Naming the Moment: Political Analysis for Action – A Manual for Community Groups. Toronto:  The Moment Project & The Jesuit Centre  for Social Faith and Justice. – Available on Course Moodle Site

N marino, dian


Wild Garden: art, education and the culture of resistance. Toronto: Between the Lines – Available in bookstore

N A Selection of readings distributed in class & through the Course Moodle site.


Recommended Reading

The following books are strongly recommended to supplement learning in this course:


                   Agyeman, Julian and Peter Cole, Randolph Haluza-DeLay, Pat O’Riley

                        2009      Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada.  Vancouver: UBC Press.

                   Barlow, Maude

                        1999      Blue Gold:  The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World’s Water Supply, International Forum on Globalization, June 1999, (special report)

                                      available at

                   Gosine, Andil and Cheryl Teelucksingh

                        2008      Environmental Justice and Racism in Canada: An Introduction. Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Ltd.

                   Raven, Dr. Peter

                        2003      Our Choice: How Many Species Will Survive The 21st Century? (Fifth Lecture: 21 May 2003).



§  International Forum on Globalization:

§  Indigenous Environmental Network:

§  Defender of the Land:

§  Environmental Justice/Environmental Racism:

§  Canadian Environmental Law Association:


Schedule of Topics and Readings : The following list of lecture topics and readings is subject to change.  Remember Readings listed under a particular date are assigned for the lecture on that date.






Sep 10

Popular Education for Beginners


Sep 17

From Practice to Praxis


Sep 24

Rehearsal for the Revolution


Oct 1

Framing and Re:framing


Oct 15

It’s About Power


Oct 22

Not Just a Bag ‘o Tricks


Oct 29

Naming the Moment - Structure & conjuncture 1


Nov 5

Naming the Moment - Structure & conjuncture 2


Nov 12

Naming the Moment - Structure & conjuncture 3


Nov 19

Naming the Moment - Structure & conjuncture 4


Nov 26

‘Facilitating’ Learning


Dec 3

It’s Stories All the Way Down






              Kane, Liam

                   2001      Chapter 1 in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 1-32.

              Lovelace, Robert

                   2009      Prologue: Notes from Prison: Protecting Algonquin Lands from Uranium Mining in Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada (Agyeman, Julian et al, eds.). Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. ix-xix. – Available through Course Moodle

              Haluza-DeLay, Randolph and Pat O’Riley, Peter Cole, and Julian Agyeman

                   2009      Introduction: Speaking for Ourselves, Speaking Together: Environmental Justice in Canada in Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada (Agyeman, Julian et al, eds.).                                 Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. 1-26. – Available through Course Moodle                                       



                   Kane, Liam

                  2001      Chapters 2 & 3 in Popular Education and Social Change in  Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 33-89.

                   McGregor, Deborah

                        2009      Honouring Our Relations: An Anishnaabe Perspective on Environmental Justice in Speaking for Ourselves:  Environmental Justice in Canada (Agyeman, Julian et al, eds.).                                                Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. 27-41. – Available through Course Moodle

marino, dian

2001      Intro and Chapter 1 Wild Garden: art, education and the culture of resistance. Toronto: Between the Lines




                   Kane, Liam

                   2001      Chapter 4 in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 90-110.

                   Simon, Roger

                        1982      Gramsci’s Concept of Hegemony: an outline in Gramsci’s Political Thought: An Introduction. London: Lawrence &                                               Wishart, pp. 21-28.

       Barndt, Deborah

                         1989      Naming the Moment: Political Analysis for Action – A Manual for Community Groups. Toronto: The Moment Project & The Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice. – Available on Course Moodle Site

marino, dian

2001      Chapter 6 Wild Garden: art, education and the culture of resistance. Toronto: Between the Lines






                                 1987      Fierce Love: Resisting the Weapons the Culture Has Devised  against the Self in Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery. San Francisco: Harper & Row; pp. 71-89.

marino, dian

2001      Chapter 2 & 5 Wild Garden: art, education and the culture of resistance. Toronto: Between the Lines





                             Kane, Liam

                            2001      Chapter 5 in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 111-142.

                       Arnold, Rick et al

                            1990      Chapter 2 in Educating for a Change. Toronto: Between the Lines; pp. 31-67.

                             Manuals, ‘zines, etc




                             Kane, Liam

                            2001      Chapter 6 in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 143-169.

                             Burke, Bev et al

                                 2002      Chapter 7 – Facilitation in Education for Changing Unions. Toronto: Between the Lines; pp. 132-158.




                             Rebick, Judy

                                 2009      Chapter 3 & Chapter 4 in Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political. Toronto: Penguin Canada; pp. 53-83.




                             cavanagh, chris

2006      Do You See What I Mean essay & ‘Zine




                             marino, dian

                                 1997      Drawing from Action for Action: Drawing and Discussion as a Popular Research Tool in Wild Garden: art, education and the  culture of resistance. Toronto: Between the Lines, pp. 61-88




                             Kane, Liam

                            2001      Chapters 7 & 8  in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 170-213.




                             Kane, Liam

                            2001      Chapter 9 & Postscript in Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. London: Latin America Bureau, pp. 214-264.


Grading Scheme, Assignment Submissions, and Lateness Penalties

The grading scheme for ENVS courses conforms to the 9-point system used in other undergraduate programs at York.  Assignments and tests will bear either a letter grade designation (e.g., A, B, C+, etc.) or an equivalent percentage grade.  (See detailed descriptions in the FES Regulations or in the BES Handbook)  The final grade for the course will be calculated using the weighting formula established above for this course.


Instructions for Submission and Return of Final Assignments


In cases where students will be handing an assignment late in the term and the Professor or Teaching Assistant will not have an opportunity to return the graded assignment in a subsequent class/tutorial, special arrangements must be made to accommodate students’ wishes to have the graded assignment returned to them:


a)  students must submit their final assignment with a self-addressed, stamped, envelope if they want to receive the graded assignment. If the assignment is more than 5 pages in length they are advised to have the post office weigh the package to determine appropriate postage required.


b) if students do not attach a self-addressed stamped envelope, they must attach a document with their course details, their name and student number and their signature and a statement confirming they do not wish to have the assignment returned to them.


Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but on time.  Accordingly, the assignments for ENVS courses must be received by the Instructor or Teaching Assistant on the due date specified for the assignment.  Assignments can be handed in either the course drop box located across room 114 HNES or  [PLEASE INSERT CONTENT, SPECIFY HOW, WHERE, AND WHEN]. 


Note: students may have their essay or assignment date stamped by Reception staff in HNES 109. Once date stamped, Reception staff will deposit the essay or assignment in the course drop box on behalf of the student. Assignments should not be deposited in the Instructor’s or TA’s mailboxes in the HNES building, nor will they be accepted by OSAS staff.


Lateness Penalty

Assignments received later than the due date will be penalized 5% of the value of the assignment per day that the assignments are late. For example, if an assignment worth 20% of the total course grade is a day late, 1 point out of 20 (or 5% per day) will be deducted. Exceptions to the lateness penalty for valid reasons such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc. will be entertained by the Course Director only when supported by written documentation (e.g., a doctor’s letter).  Please note Faculty policy on electronic submission of material, "That all written or visual work that is submitted as part of an academic program must be submitted in hardcopy (not electronically), unless previously agreed to by the instructor or advisor."  Submission must be received in hard copy form on due date or will be considered late.



Missed Tests

Students with a documented reason for missing a course test, such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., which is confirmed by supporting documentation (e.g., doctor’s letter) may request accommodation from the Course Instructor. (State accommodation arrangement: e.g., allowed to write a make-up test on xx date.) Further extensions or accommodation will require students to submit a formal petition to the Faculty.



Provide a brief description (e.g. field trips, special lab session, special tutorials), dates, times, required materials or preparation, any fees or costs, etc.


Inclusivity in the BES Program

The BES Program strives to include a broad range of perspectives and substantive material in its course offerings.  Central to a clear understanding of environmental problems is the link between exploitation of the natural world, and justice issues related to racism, gender inequity, and poverty.  An inclusion of non-western perspectives is therefore essential to a fruitful discussion of North-South issues, and environmental debates generally.


Religious Observance Days

York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community, and making accommodations for observances of special significance to adherents.  Should any of the dates specified in this syllabus for in-class test or examination pose such a conflict for you, contact the Course Director within the first three weeks of class.  Similarly, should an assignment to be completed in a lab, practicum placement, workshop, etc., scheduled later in the term pose such a conflict, contact the Course director immediately.  Please note that to arrange an alternative date or time for an examination scheduled in the formal examination periods (December and April/May), students must complete and Examination Accommodation Form, which can be obtained from Student Client Services, W120 Bennett Centre for Student Services or online at


Student Representation

In order to facilitate the expression of student views, the Course Director will allow for class time to elect a student representative from the class list to represent student views and promote dialogue.  This representative will also act as a liaison between the Office of Student Academic Services and the Undergraduate Program Director.


Academic Honesty

York students are required to maintain high standard of academic integrity and are subject to the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty as set out by York University and by the Faculty of Environmental Studies.  Please read the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty (which can be found as Appendix One of the Academic Regulations of the Faculty of Environmental Studies or in the University Policies and Regulations section of the York University Undergraduate Programs Calendar), available at:


There is also an academic integrity website with complete information about academic honesty. Students are expected to review the materials on the Academic Integrity website at:


HPRC Review Process





York students are subject to the York University Policy for the ethics review process for research involving Human Participants.  All research activity with human participants and minimal risk as part of this course has to undergo ethical review. Please consider the following definitions:


·        Human participants” in research will be defined as persons who provide data or information to the researcher which are typically not part of their professional capacity.

·        The draft definition of funded research from the Human Participants Review Sub-Committee [HPRC] is: “‘Funded’ will refer to all research that is receiving money that is in response to a specific proposal and administered by the university.  Research using monies not administered by the University, and/or not in response to a specific proposal, will be considered ‘unfunded’.”

·        The definition of minimal risk being used is the one given in the SSHRC/NSERC/MRC Tri-Council Policy Statement Aethical Conduct for Research involving Humans@ (August, 1998): “If potential subjects can reasonably be expected to regard the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research to be no greater than those encountered by the subject in those aspects of his or her everyday life that relate to the research, then the research can be regarded as within the range of minimal risk.” (p. 1.5)


HPRC review forms are available at:


Student Conduct

Students and instructors are expected to maintain a professional relationship characterized by courtesy and mutual respect and to refrain from actions disruptive to such a relationship. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the instructor to maintain an appropriate academic atmosphere in the classroom, and the responsibility of the student to cooperate in that endeavour. Further, the instructor is the best person to decide, in the first instance, whether such an atmosphere is present in the class. A statement of the policy and procedures involving disruptive and/or harassing behaviour by students in academic situations is available on the York website at:



York provides services for students with disabilities (including physical, medical, learning and psychiatric disabilities) needing accommodation related to teaching and evaluation methods/materials. It is the student's responsibility to register with disability services as early as possible to ensure that appropriate academic accommodation can be provided with advance notice. You are encouraged to schedule a time early in the term to meet with each professor to discuss your accommodation needs. Failure to make these arrangements may jeopardize your opportunity to receive academic accommodations.


Additional information is available at or from disability service providers:

 • Office for Persons with Disabilities: Room N110 of the Bennett Centre for Student Services , 416-736-5297,

 • Learning and Psychiatric Disabilities Programs - Counselling & Development Centre: Room N110 of the Bennett Centre for Student Services, 416- 736-5297,

 • Glendon students - Glendon Counselling & Career Centre: Glendon Hall 111A, 416-487- 6709,