Degree Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Studies

Advisor(s)

Janet Fiskio

Committee Member(s)

Gina Perez
Michelle Baron

Keywords

Environmental justice, Theater, Community-based research, PAR, Rustbelt, Children's theater

Abstract

Children's knowledge of their eco-social environment is rarely privileged in environmental literature. Their voices help to broaden conceptions of environmental justice, to the benefit of both the environmental justice movement and the emerging discipline of environmental studies. In this community-based research project conducted in partnership with Save Our Children, an afterschool/summer enrichment center, in South Elyria, Ohio, third and fourth grade children utilized Theater of the Oppressed techniques to create an environmental justice narrative in the form of an original play. The goal of Theater of the Oppressed is for participants to dramatically analyze real-life oppressions/obstacles/challenges they face and act out potential solutions to overcome them. I collaborated with the children and staff members at Save Our Children to hold weekly Theater of the Oppressed workshops for an eight-week period. In these workshops, the children explored environmental injustices as it pertained to their own lived experiences and proposed imaginative solutions for dismantling them through an original play. Our community-based research serves as a step towards bringing justice to the city of Elyria by presenting the voices of its residents as an alternative environmental justice narrative that has yet to be heard in the larger environmental justice discussion.

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