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Digging where you stand: pedagogies of local space and place

I like teaching and try to work it into my everyday thinking, action and research. I have taught a first-year undergraduate course called Taking Action: Engaging People and the Environment for several years. In the course, I seek to introduce students to critical thinking, writing and presentation skills through lectures and assignments that focus on reading different stories around the university campus, the students’ own families, and everyday environmental issues. One central message of the course is that nature and culture are intricately intertwined and that, for example, our bodies constitute the very first environment that we inhabit. Another central theme is environmental justice, where we consider the violence done to not only non-human environments but also human bodies in the form of racism, ageism, classism and sexism. One component of the course, the Alternative Campus Tour, seeks to introduce and problematize a series of campus sites to students. In 2011 and 2012, the campus tour took on added dimensions as a collective of faculty, staff, and students conducted it as a Jane's Walk and as a combined critical historical and sculpture walk in collaboration with the Art Gallery of York. Currently, we are sponsored by the University's Academic Innovation Fund to extend the campus tour to the world wide web and York's neighbouring communities. For the website of the Alternative Campus Tour, see below:

Sandberg, L. Anders, “On Stockades and Bridges: From York University to the Jane and Finch Neighbourhood.” In (Sandberg, A., S. Bocking, C. Coates, and K. Cruikshank) (eds.) Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region. Hamilton, ON: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 2013, pp. 96-118.

Bardekjian, Adrina, Michael Classens, and L. Anders Sandberg, "Reading the Urban Landscape: The Case of a Campus Tour at York University, Toronto, Canada," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, published on line 21 July 2012.  DOI 10.1007/s13412-012-0084-x

Sandberg, L. Anders, “Promoting Environmental Education at the University: The Campus as a Sticky Wicket,” Our Schools, Our Selves, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Fall 2009), 25-32.

Sandberg, L. Anders and J. Foster, “Stormy Weather: On Hurricanes, Water, and Hard Choices at York University,” Critical Times, Vol. 3, No. 5 (April 2006), 6-7.

Sandberg, L. Anders and J. Foster, “Playing Tennis at York University: Game, Set and Match Tennis Canada,” Critical Times, Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 2004), 6.


Stong Pond at York University

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Stong Pond on the York University Campus before it was expanded. The Pond in its old form was deemed deficient since it was considered too small to hold the runoff for the campus. However, this position ignores the deficiencies of the Pond’s “headwaters,” the paving over of the campus and the resultant massive amount of water that flows into the Pond.