Faculty Profile

Heather Bedi

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (2014)

Contact Information

bedih@dickinson.edu

Kaufman Hall Room 110

Bio

Grounded in political ecology and development, Dr. Bedi’s research examines how mining, land, and industrialization projects and policies are experienced and contested in South Asia and the United States. She has published on Special Economic Zones and land-use protest, the fallacies of mining environmental impact assessments, and the human rights and agricultural implications of resource extraction. As an UKIERI Visiting Fellow in Mumbai in 2014, she researched the judicialization of environmental claims in India. An advocate of place based learning and teaching, Dr. Bedi’s nascent research examines energy activism through the lens of hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania.

Education

  • B.A., Occidental College, 2000
  • M.S., University of Michigan, 2002
  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2012

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

ENST 311 Environment and Society
Margaret Mead famously warned, "we won't have a society if we destroy the environment". This course aims to understand how society is intimately dependent on natural resources, and how human actions alter the environment. The class serves as a gateway for students to gain qualitative skills necessary to analyze social and environmental issues through problem identification, assessment of challenges, solution review, and the formation of an argument based on evidence. These skills will be learned through analysis of the human implications of contemporary environmental challenges including: climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and food justice.

ENST 311 Environmental Activism
This course explores how a range of actors engage in activism to contest environmental harm. Through in depth analysis of activism, the opportunities and challenges associated with environmental protest are reviewed. Course material and exercises encourage students to explore how narratives of environmental protest reflect and respond to how people use and experience natural resources, and how cultural norms and expectations provide particular terrains to encourage or discourage environmental activism. Drawing from national and international examples, diverse means and methods of environmental activism are reviewed including: blogs, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), online petitions, litigation, street rallies, and shareholder activism.

Spring 2015

SOCI 230 Environmental & Social Justice
Cross-listed with ENST 311-08.This course reviews social inequities in relation to environmental issues. We examine the social construction of notions of equity and justice, and apply this learning to understand how societies frame environmental risk. Drawing from domestic and international case studies, we will explore how marginalized communities disproportionately experience environmental externalities. The social and environmental consequences of uneven development across places exemplify justice and capitalism contradictions. A review of community agency to re-appropriate or reframe their environment will allow us to explore collective action to contest social and environmental injustices.

INST 290 Energy Justice
Cross-listed with ENST 311-03. This class surveys the energy landscape of our carbon-centered civilization. From the local to the global, we question the social, political, and environmental implications of non-renewable energy resource extraction, transportation, and use. We will examine how energy associated risks and benefits are managed across people and places. The contemporary social and political landscape for global energy demand and extraction provides the foundation for the class. Analysis of individual and university-wide energy consumption will allow for localized reflection on course themes. Drawing from examples in India and the United States, we will explore development and justice considerations associated with natural resource extraction for energy purposes. A review of the social, economic, and health impacts for people directly impacted by energy procurement and transport will provide further lenses to explore justice concerns. Political and scientific efforts to improve the sustainability of energy extraction will also be analyzed. The class is structured to be accessible to students across disciplines.

ENST 311 Energy Justice
Cross-listed with INST 290-03. This class surveys the energy landscape of our carbon-centered civilization. From the local to the global, we question the social, political, and environmental implications of non-renewable energy resource extraction, transportation, and use. We will examine how energy associated risks and benefits are managed across people and places. The contemporary social and political landscape for global energy demand and extraction provides the foundation for the class. Analysis of individual and university-wide energy consumption will allow for localized reflection on course themes. Drawing from examples in India and the United States, we will explore development and justice considerations associated with natural resource extraction for energy purposes. A review of the social, economic, and health impacts for people directly impacted by energy procurement and transport will provide further lenses to explore justice concerns. Political and scientific efforts to improve the sustainability of energy extraction will also be analyzed. The class is structured to be accessible to students across disciplines.

ENST 311 Environmental & Social Justice
Cross-listed with SOCI 230-05.This course reviews social inequities in relation to environmental issues. We examine the social construction of notions of equity and justice, and apply this learning to understand how societies frame environmental risk. Drawing from domestic and international case studies, we will explore how marginalized communities disproportionately experience environmental externalities. The social and environmental consequences of uneven development across places exemplify justice and capitalism contradictions. A review of community agency to re-appropriate or reframe their environment will allow us to explore collective action to contest social and environmental injustices.

ENST 406 Sustainable Resource
Drawing from the interdisciplinarity of environmental studies, this senior seminar examines the extraction of natural resources from ecological, societal, and ethical perspectives. The timber, mining, and hydrocarbon extraction sectors sustain a range of human needs and desires. This seminar questions what forms of extraction are emphasized to meet societal demands, and if these methods are sustainable over time. We will broadly review the social and environmental implications of these industries, and then explore contradictions associated with a specific form of extraction. The class will engage in community-based research focused on natural gas extraction (hydraulic fracturing or fracking) and transportation (by pipeline) in the state of Pennsylvania. This collaborative effort will provide the opportunity for students to gain a multi-faceted understanding of this complex issue, while generating social awareness on concerns related to natural gas extraction, affected communities, and environmental implications. The seminar is required for Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors, and highly recommended for others with an interest in the sustainability of resource extraction.