Environmental Studies Courses
Summer and Fall 2008

Summer 2009

RELG 2430 W1 Environment and Religion
Ecology and Spirituality
Instructor: George Billings

Fall 2009

ANSO 1090.01 Introduction to Geography: World and Regional (3 credits)
Instructor: Mikels Skele
MWF 10-10:50 am

This is a teacher certification course. It will be an exploration of most areas of geography: land-human relationships, regions, spacial interaction, population, resources and socioeconomic development. Students will look at geography in a changing world, doing so from the perspective of future teachers in elementary and secondary classrooms. International Studies [CUL, HST]

ANSO 3000.03 Topics in Anthropology/Sociology: Food, Environment, and Culture (3 credits)
Instructor: Gerry Tierney
M 2:00-4:50 pm

In this class we will try to discover the connections between what different environments offer in the way of edible items, the ways in which humans exploit the environment, and the ways our culture determines what are appropriate food sources.   We will discuss the ways in which plants and animals (including humans) are linked to the sun's energy and the earth's fertility.   We will explore the ways in which humans have subsisted in a variety of environments going back thousands of years to hunting and gathering subsistence strategies.   We will pay special attention to the current harmful industrial exploitation of our natural resources.   We will also uncover the ways in which contemporary foods are processed.   We will discuss the inhumane and harmful ways in which our food has become an industrial by product, harmful for both the natural environment and the plants and animals which are a part of it.  

BIOL 1318.01/ISTL 2600 Natural Systems & Sustainable Ecology
Instructor: A. Serrano
MW 3:00 - 04:20

This course examines ecosystems, how they function, and how they shape and are shaped by human societies. Includes both a comparative and global perspective on environmental issues and ecology. [SCI]

BIOL 1020.01 and BIOL 1021.01: Biology of Animals (4 credits total)
Instructor: Jeff DePew
TR 3:00-4:20 (BIOL 1020) and F 1:00-4:00 pm (1021)

Introduces the fascinating world of animals, from the tiny water flea to the elephant. Examines the challenges in their lives and the ways they meet them, including the search for food sources and shelter, reproduction, and internal stability. Laboratory (1021) required. BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 must be taken concurrently. Intended for non-majors. (SCI)

ENGL 3500 Contexts: Voicing Another Nature
Instructor: Karla Armbruster
MW 2:30-3:50

Cave paintings in France of wild animals drawn 32,000 years ago. The destruction of sacred grove of trees in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The blades of grass in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself." As these examples suggest, the human relationship with nature is one that has inspired and challenged writers (and before that, storytellers) as far back as we have records. Given the environmental challenges we face today, it's more important than ever to explore creative responses to nature for what they can tell us about the human desires, fears, and values that motivate and inform our interactions with the nonhuman.

In this course, we will begin such an exploration with Thoreau's Walden, the classic narrative of life in the woods that arguable gave rise to the tradition of nature writing in the U.S. We will see his influence on 20th-century writers when we read Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and selections from Gary Snyder's The Practice of the Wild. We will also read selections by some of the heroes of the environmental and conservation movements: Joh Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson, all compelling writers who had powerful impacts on government policy and public perceptions of nature. The latter part of the course will focus on questioning and enlarging the boundaries of the genre of nature and environmental writing with works like Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony, Toni Morrison's Tar Baby, Karen Tei Yamashita's Through the Arc of the Rainforest, short fiction by Ursula Le Guin, and the poetry of Robinson Jeffers and Mary Oliver.

Throughout the course, we will explore topics including the various meanings of the word "nature" (famously described by critic Raymond Williams as "the most complex word in the English language"); the history of environmentalism and conservation in the U.S.; ecofeminism; nature and spirituality; the relationship between language and reality; and the ethics of human interactions with nature. But the overarching concern that will guide us, which gives the course its name, is the writerly struggle to give voice to the nonhuman world while acknowledging that this voice will always be filtered through a unique human consciousness and human language.

In addition to our literary texts, we will read some criticism and also engage in one or more outdoor field experiences to help us not only better understand the challenges our writers faced but also apply and test some of their insights. Warning: this topic is one of your instructor's primary areas of expertise, so she will be enthusiastic!

ETHICS 1000.02 Issues and Problems in Ethics: Ethics and Climate Change
Instructor: David Pollack
W 1:00-2:00

GNST 1300.01 Technology, Science, and Society: Introduction to Environmental Studies
Instructor: Karla Armbruster
TR 1:30-2:50

PLEASE NOTE: Ths course REPLACES GNST 1300 Technology, Sciene, and Society: Environmental Literacy in the requirement list for the Environmental Studies Minor.

College students today face perhaps the greatest set of challenges in human history if they wish to secure a livable future: dramatically reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, developing sustainable sources of energy, ensuring adequate supplies of food and clean water, and stabilizing world population while reducing poverty and inequaity at the same time.

This course will introduce you to the multidisciplinary field of environmental studies and the ways it can help us understand and solve the environmental problems facing us today. In order to enable you to understand the scientific, social, and humanistic aspects of these problems, their causes, and their possible solutions, we will

  • cover basic ecological concepts and develop the ability to think in terms of interconnected systems,
  • explore our own environmental identities (personal/cultural connections to nature and environment and the ways they affect who we are) ,
  • use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the environmental implications of food, water, and air — three aspects of the environment that deeply affect us all, and
  • hear stories of success and hope.

Along the way, we will learn about a range of cultural/spiritual perspectives on nature and environment; the history of the environmental movement; genetic engineering of food; global climate change; the privatization of water; and issues of environmental justice. The course will include guest speakers and field trips.

GNST 1300.02 Technology, Science, and Society: Science Fiction & Environment
Instructor: Jerome Bauer
TR 12:00-1:20

HIST 1010.02 Topics in History: North American Environmental History
Instructor: Kim Kleinman
MWF 9:00 - 10:50

Environmental history examines how humans have interacted with our environment over time to extend our understanding of the past beyond wars, politics, laws, treaties, and government. This course will look at American history--including all the familiar episodes, such as the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, the slave trade, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and westward expansion--from the point of view of the land. Our questions will include: How did various people view the land? How were their experiences shaped by the land? How did their activity change the environment? This course counts towards the Environmental Studies Minor and meets the HST general education requirement.

PHIL 2360 Environmental Ethics
Instructor: Kate Parsons
TR 1:30 - 2:50

The food we eat, the cars we drive, and the clothes we wear affect our relationships with the environment in various ways. This course will examine human relationships with nature and animals while considering the philosophical concepts of rights, responsibilities, care, empathy, and freedom. We will explore topics such as population growth, corporate responsibility, genetically modified foods, and environmental activism. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, class, and nationality inform and shape our environmental choices.

RELG 2430 W1 Environment and Religion
Ecology and Spirituality
Instructor: George Billings

SCIN 1010.05 Topics in Physical Science: Natural Disasters (3 credits)
Instructor: Moats, Mark            
Fall II, M 5:30-9:30 pm (Downtown)

This is a survey of the various natural disasters and their causes. We will explore their relationship to Earth processes and the long term risks to human populations. We will also examine how scientists determine the causes, effects, and prediction of catastrophes. May be repeated if content differs. (SCI)