Situating Justice and Sustainability: Connections, Convergence and Confounding
Virtual seminar presented by Dr. Julie Sze, University of California, Davis
Abstract: This discussion will focus on the question of how sustainability students, researchers and practitioners can move towards a more just world through their praxis. In arguing for a process, rather than an object-oriented sustainability, I (with others), suggest that we need to move and advance a reflexive politics of knowledge co-production in environmental sciences coupled with a democracy in action. Both co-production and democracy in action are central in a context where uninterrogated references to the “scientific enterprise” and “solutionist” ideology go largely unchallenged. Simply put, situating justice/ sustainability through interdisciplinarity/ place/ praxis and social justice and power enables deep connections, and ultimately, stronger research, policies and practices that may indeed move us towards justice in a rapidly warming world.
Bio: Julie Sze is a Professor of American Studies at UC Davis. She is also the founding director of the Environmental Justice Project for UC Davis’ John Muir Institute for the Environment. Sze's research investigates environmental justice and environmental inequality; culture and environment; race, gender and power; and urban/community health and activism.
Professor Sze has published 3 sole authored books, edited a collection, and written over 50 journal articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, primarily in the fields of environmental studies and the environmental humanities, geography, and public policy. She works in collaboration with environmental scientists, engineers, social scientists, humanists and community-based organizers in California and New York.
Professor Sze has received a number of grants for her individual research, from the UC Humanities Institute, the American Studies Association, and the AAUW. As Founding Director of the Environmental Justice Institute, she received two large grants to support the project from the Ford Foundation and smaller grants related to specific research projects. Outputs from the research from this period have had public policy impact in the State of California.
Professor Sze has been an invited keynote at international conferences and events in Germany, China, Italy, Abu Dhabi, France and Canada. She spoken at over 65 universities and colleges in the U.S. ranging from the Ivy League institutions, community colleges, Public universities, and liberal arts colleges. Sze has been interviewed widely in print and on the radio.
She is deeply committed to public scholarship, speaking at institutions like the SF MOMA, New York Academy of Medicine and the Asia Society, state agencies, service organizations and community groups interested in her areas of research throughout New York and California. She is also an active mentor for first generation and low-income students in graduate education, with a fifteen-year active involvement with the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.