Thesis Title

Purposeful Work

Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Second Department or Program

Art and Visual Culture


In classrooms, I’m the only black person and/or woman of color more often times than not. I’ve come to realize that in the past I’ve compromised myself trying to fit into the curriculum and culture of the prestigious private school, hence wealthy white culture. While race is a social construction, it’s important to pay attention to because it is fundamental to who we all are. This is true because race affects the way people, consciously or subconsciously, treat one another.

The more I learned, the more I realized how much history was hidden from me. Black and Brown folks have a long history of their belonging to the land that is richer than bondage and slavery. Black and Brown folks have been endorsers of environmental justice since the foundation of this country, but have somehow been left out mainstream talk, media, and curriculums. The more I learned, the more I felt robbed; robbed of knowledge and robbed of my right to belong. With my newfound knowledge, I started to ask why. Why was the focus of my environmental studies courses predominately on white scholars? Why were certain historical facts, figures, and contexts hidden from me?

This is my call to action:

To my professors, what teaching materials do you teach and why? What scholars are you choosing to idolize? Additionally, what representations of race are you allowing into your classroom? Are they images that serve to empower all students, or just some? Who’s knowledge and history are being reproduced in your classrooms? Are you utilizing teaching materials that are equally representative to the diaspora of identities involved in and affected by the environmental justice movement? There is lack of representation within the environmental studies curriculum and you are in a position to change that.

Lastly, to all my students of color --especially women of color-- who are trying to find representations of themselves within educational spaces like these, I encourage you to speak. Don’t be passive. Speak your truth. Speak to your teachers and professors about representations of race and knowledge. Conversations are one of the most powerful mechanisms for making change. It won’t always be easy, but know that you are not alone. You are one of many and we are strong.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Jane Costlow

Second Advisor

Sonja Pieck

Third Advisor

Ethan Miller

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages

32 Minutes

Components of Thesis

32 minute film

Transcript with citations and bibloigrapgy


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.