Environmental Racism: The Problem with Water

Instructor: Miguel A. De La Torre

E-mail: mdelatorre@iliff.edu

Office Hours: Arranged by email

Course Synopsis:

Purpose:  The course seeks to develop a constructive conversation on the intersection of environmental racism and water by examining significant issues surrounding present-day issues the degradation of water quality its negative impact on communities of color. Furthermore, the course will examine what type of praxis can be employed to bring about social and political change.


  1. To teach students how to identify ethical and theological assumptions implicit in the moral life of persons and communities.
  1. To teach students to examine critically their own ethical assumptions as well as prevailing ethical assumptions in faith communities and society.
  1. To teach selected options in contemporary religious ethical theory, with special emphasis on Christian ethical theory.
  1. To enable students to develop an understanding of ethics which they can articulate and advocate with critical awareness as religious leaders.
  1. To relate theoretical ethical perspectives to select issues in church and society, especially those germane to pastoral practice.


  1. Participation in weekly assignments. 
  1. Complete required readings before the day of class.
  1. Final take-home examination.  Maximum Length:  12-pages, typed, double-spaced.


            Final take home examination             70%

            Class Participation                                   20%

            Academic Decorum                                 10%

1) Written grades will be based on the final (70%) Written grades are determined as follows:

A: The student demonstrates exceptional quality in written work. Little room for improvement exists. Several primary sources (outside of class readings) are used in the writing assignment. Both effort and execution are first-rate. It is obvious that the reading assignment was critically analyzed.

B: The student’s work is above average. At least one primary source (outside of class reading) is used in the writing assignment. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

C: The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course. Effort and the execution of assignment are of average quality. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not thoughtfully read. There is room for improvement.

D: The student work is below average. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not done. The student is not living up to the expectations of graduate-level work.

F: The student failed to accomplish the class assignments.


A late paper will lose one letter grade for each class day that it is turned in late unless prior arrangement (due to illness) is made with the professor prior to due date. If extra ordinary circumstances exist which prevent the student from completing their assignment on time, then the student needs to make an appointment to discuss an alternative schedule prior to when the assignment is due. Students who do not hand in ALL completed assignments must make prior signed arrangements for an Incomplete.  Students not making these prior arrangements will automatically receive an "F" for the course. 


2) 10% of the grade is based on academic decorum.  Being consistently present for class is a baseline expectation. Grade decorum is based on the following:

A: The student is respectful of others.  While disagreeing or challenging, the student never dishonors or disrespects. The student does not monopolize the conversation and is conscious of the need of all students having an opportunity to speak.

B: Every so often the student is insensitive to other student’s social location; rather than challenging or disagreeing with whatever point of view is being offered.  The student seems to speak more than others, insensitive that others have not had an opportunity to speak.

C: The student is disrespectful and is not willing to entertain different views. The student confuses their particular experience with the norm. Rather than paying close attention to the lecture and/or discussion, the student is texting, checking facebook, or engaging in some other form of social media unrelated to the class.

D: The student disrupts the learning experience of others by the way they conduct themselves in class.

F: The student creates a hostile classroom experience.

This quarter, we'll be having several Zoom meeting sessions as a way of communicating "in person" as well as through the online discussion forums.  These sessions will be a great way to talk about the readings and pose questions and comments in live format, and get some face time with your instructor! Please attend at least two of the sessions.

We'll be holding them on different dates and times.

They will be held on the following dates:

July 1   at 7pm - Link to: https://zoom.us/j/683818018

July 20 at 6pm - Link to: https://zoom.us/j/979230477

Aug 4   at 4pm - Link to: https://zoom.us/j/250563361

Aug 13 at 3pm - Link to: https://zoom.us/j/777128495




Required Readings:

Robert D. Bullard, The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution .

Ingrid R. G. Waldron, There's Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities .

Christiana Zenner, Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Fresh Water Crises .

Carl A. Zimring, Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States

Jun 13, 2020SatIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Jun 15, 2020MonHistory of Environmental Racism Part 1due by 05:59AM
Jun 21, 2020SunHistory of Environmental Racism Part 1 Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jun 22, 2020MonHistory of Environmental Racism Part 2due by 05:59AM
Jun 28, 2020SunHistory of Environmental Racism Part 2 Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jun 29, 2020MonEnvironmental Justice Part 1due by 05:59AM
Jul 05, 2020SunEnvironmental Justice Part 1 - Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jul 06, 2020MonEnvironmental Justice Part 2due by 05:59AM
Jul 10, 2020FriThesis Statementdue by 05:59AM
Jul 12, 2020SunEnvironmental Justice Part 2 - Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jul 13, 2020MonEnvironmental Justice - Part 3due by 05:59AM
Jul 19, 2020SunEnvironmental Justice - Part 3 Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jul 20, 2020MonWater: A Case Study due by 05:59AM
Jul 26, 2020SunWater: A Case Study Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jul 27, 2020MonWater, Theology & Spirituality Part 1due by 05:59AM
Aug 02, 2020SunWater, Theology & Spirituality Part 1 - Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Aug 03, 2020MonWater, Theology & Spirituality Part 2due by 05:59AM
Aug 09, 2020SunWater, Theology & Spirituality Part 2 - Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Aug 10, 2020MonFinal Notesdue by 05:59AM
Aug 15, 2020SatFinal Notes Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Aug 18, 2020TueFinal Examdue by 05:59AM