Environmental Studies

Director: H. Daniel Peck; Steering Committee: Stuart L. Belli (Chemistry), Randolph Cornelius (Psychology), Andrew Davison (Political Science), Rebecca Edwards (History), Harvey K. Flad (Geography), Leathem Mehaffey III (Biology), H. Daniel Peck (English), Anne Pike-Tay (Anthropology), Jill S. Schneiderman (Geology), Christopher J. Smart (Chemistry), Peter G. Stillman (Political Science), Jeffrey R. Walker (Geology). Participating Faculty: Michael Aronna (Hispanic Studies), Marianne H. Begemann (Chemistry), Frank Bergon (English), Pinar BaturVander Lippe (Sociology), Stuart L. Belli (Chemistry), Barbara Bianco (Anthropology), Robert K. Brigham (History), Andrew Bush, Mario Cesareo (Hispanic Studies), Mark S. Cladis (Religion), Randolph Cornelius, Jeffrey Cynx (Psychology), Andrew Davison (Political Science), Rebecca Edwards (History), Marc M. Epstein (Religion), Harvey K. Flad (Geography), Brian J. Godfrey (Geography), Diane Harriford (Sociology), Richard Hemmes (Biology), Lucy Lewis Johnson (Anthropology), Paul Kane (English), Brooks Kaiser (Economics), John H. Long, Jr. (Biology), J. Bertrand Lott (Classics), Brian Lukacher (Art), Brian G. McAdoo (Geology), Leathem Mehaffey III (Biology), Kirsten Menking (Geology), Seungsook Moon (Sociology), Leonard Nevarez (Sociology), Carolyn E. Palmer (Psychology), H. Daniel Peck (English), Anne Pike-Tay (Anthropology), Sidney Plotkin (Political Science), Ismail Rashid (History), Margaret L. Ronsheim (Biology), Jill S. Schneiderman (Geology), Christopher J. Smart (Chemistry), Peter G. Stillman (Political Science), J. William Straus (Biology), Patricia B. Wallace (English), Jeffrey R. Walker (Geology).

Environmental Studies is a multidisciplinary program that explores the relationships between people and the environment as broadly conceived, encompassing all aspects of the settingsnatural, built, or socialin which people exist. It involves the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Environmental studies concerns itself with the description and analysis of environmental systems; with interspecies and species-environment relationships and the institutions, policies, and laws which affect those relationships; with aesthetic portrayals of the environment and how these affect human perceptions and behavior towards it; and with ethical issues raised by the human presence in the environment.

Students majoring in Environmental Studies are required to take courses offered by the Program, a set of courses within a particular department, and other courses from across the curriculum of the College. Therefore, a student interested in the major should consult with the director of the program as early as possible to plan a coherent course of study. The director, in consultation with the steering committee, will assign an advisor to each student. Advisors are selected from the steering committee or participating faculty of the program. The steering committee approves each major's program, and is concerned not only with the formal requirements but also with the inclusion of relevant environmental courses in the student's chosen areas of study, interconnections among groups of courses, and adequate concentration in the methods of a discipline. Students are admitted to the program by the director, subject to the approval of their program of study by the steering committee.

Requirements for the Major: 14 units to be distributed as follows, with specific courses chosen in consultation with the student's advisor and with the approval of the steering committee. (1) The senior seminar, Environmental Studies 301; (2) three other courses from within the Program's own offerings, at or above the 200-level, one of which must be Environmental Studies 250, Environmentalisms in Perspective, and at least one of which must be at the 300-level; (3) the senior project/thesis, Environmental Studies 300; (4) a sequence of five courses in one department (or a set of five courses with a common focus, such as law or environmental policy, from two or more departments), including at least one at the 300-level; (5) for students whose disciplinary concentration is in biology, chemistry or geology, three courses, at least one at the 200-level, relevant to the major in a department outside biology, chemistry or geology; for students whose disciplinary concentration is not in the natural sciences, three courses relevant to the major from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, or Geology, with at least one at the 200-level; (6) one full unit of field experience which may come from field work, independent study, internships, or course work taken during the Junior Year Abroad. Field experience is expected to be carried out before the senior thesis/project.

The unit of field experience is graded Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. The senior project/thesis is graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. After declaration of the major, no required courses may be elected NRO.

Senior Year Requirement: Environmental Studies 301. While not required for the major, Environmental Studies 103 and 150 are recommended for freshman and sophomores interested in environmental studies.


Course Offerings

I. Introductory

100a. The Earth Around Us (1/2)

(Same as Geology 100a) A series of lectures by geology faculty on topics such as water quality, soil erosion, global climate change, coastal development and evolutionary change. A broad introduction to environmental problems and their impact on all living things.

Two 75-minute periods.

103b. Earth System Science and Environmental Justice (1)

(Same as Geology 103b) Exploration of the roles that race, gender, and class play in contemporary environmental issues and the geology that underlies them. Examination of the power of governments, corporations and science to influence the physical and human environment. We critique the traditional environmental movement, study cases of environmental racism, and appreciate how basic geological knowledge can assist communities in creating healthful surroundings.
Examples come from urban and rural settings in the United States and abroad and are informed by feminist analysis. Ms. Schneiderman, Ms. Sharpe.

Two 75-minute periods.

150a. The Environmental Imagination in Literature and Science (1)

The troubled relationship between humans and the rest of nature is a problem as urgent as any in our time. But if environmental thinking is timely, it is not new. This course, taught by a biologist and an environmental writer, considers how our thinking about nature has developed and how it shapes our ways of understanding and approaching environmental problems. The readings, which include poetry, fiction, essays, and scientific literature, focus on social and philosophical constructions of nature, on the historical interplay of humans and our environment, and the modes by which we evaluate and attempt to solve environmental problems. Readings and classroom discussions are complemented by trips in the local area, to experience how scientific methods can be used to measure nature and to test ideas from our reading against experience in the field. Mr. Straus, Mr. Nichols.

Two 75-minute periods.

One 4-hour lab or field trip.

151a. Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)

(Same as Geology 151a)

201b. Religion Gone Wild: Spirituality and the Environment (1)

(Same as Religion 201) A study of the dynamic relation between religion and nature. Religion, in this course, includes forms of spirituality within and outside the bounds of conventional religious traditions (for example, Buddhism, Christianity, and Jainism, on the one hand; ecofeminism, the literature of nature, and Australian Aboriginal religion, on the other). Topics in this study of religion, ethics, and ecology might include: religious depictions of creation, nature, and the position of humans in the environment; religious aspects of environmental degradation and contemporary ecological movements; environmental justice; and environmentalism as a religion. Mr. Cladis.

Prerequisite: One course in Religion, or by permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

250a. Environmentalisms in Perspective (1)

The purpose of this course, an introduction to the core issues and perspectives of environmental studies, is to develop a historical awareness of selected, significant positions in the contemporary theory and practice of environmentalism. In addition to studying different views of the relationship between human beings and their environments posited by different environmentalisms, the course critically examines views of science (or the study of nature), implications for policy, and the creation of meaning suggested by each. Environmentalist positions under consideration vary. By examining the roots of major contemporary positions, students explore possible connections among the ethical, scientific, aesthetic, and policy concerns that comprise environmental studies. Mr. Stillman, Mr. Cynx.

Required of students concentrating in the program. Open to other students by permission of the director and as space permits.

Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above.

Two 75-minute periods.

260b. Issues in Environmental Studies (1)

The purpose of this course is to examine in depth an issue, problem, or set of issues and problems in Environmental Studies, to explore the various ways in which environmental issues are embedded in multiple contexts and may be understood from multiple perspectives. The course topic changes from year to year.

Topic for 2000/01: Environmental Hazards. The study of environmental hazards is approached from a variety of social science and policy perspectives and a variety of types of hazards are examined. Consideration is given to the psychological, social, cultural, political, and historical contexts in which environmental hazards are perceived, conceptualized, and addressed as both social and physical problems. Questions are raised about notions of danger, risk, and responsibility; the nature and production of environmental knowledge; and changing views of what the "environment" encompasses. Ms. Bianco, Mr. Cornelius.

Two 75-minute periods.

264b. "The Nuclear Cage": Environmental Theory and Nuclear Power (1)

(Same as Sociology 264b.)

280a. Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture (1)

Developing a sustainable system of producing food and fiber is one of the most important challenges facing human societies. This challenge is as much social as scientific or technological, because it is technically possible, even now, to produce an adequate diet for a world population of over twenty billion people. This course considers the two most important aspects of agricultural sustainability: the demands of consumers, and the abilities of producers to satisfy those demands. Through the writings of such authors as Wendell Berry, Sir Albert Howard, Wes Jackson, David Kline, Aldo Leopold, Gene Logsden, Chris Maser, Sandra Poste, Vandana Shiva, and Marty Strange, and through field trips to local farms, we explore the physical, social, economic, and environmental issues defining debates about sustainable agriculture. Mr. Walker.

Two 75-minute periods.

One 2-hour lab.

287a. Special Studies in the Environment (1)

(Same as American Culture 287a.) Topic for 2000/01: From the Natural History Museum to Ecotourism. From the rise of the Natural History Museum, the Bureau of Ethnology, and early endeavors to create a national literature, the appropriation of American Indian lands and American Indians (as natural objects) offered White Americans a means to realize their own national identity. Today, the American consumer- collector goes beyond the boundaries of the museum and zoo and into ecotourism, which claims to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate money, jobs, and the conservation of wildlife and vegetation. This course examines historical and current trends in the way North Americans recover, appropriate, and represent non-Western people, cultural materials, and natural environments from theoretical and ideological perspectives. Course readings draw from the fields of museology, literature, archaeology, anthropology, and environmental studies. Ms. Graham, Ms. Pike-Tay.

By special permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1)

Individual or group field projects or internships. Prior approval of advisor and instructor supervising the work are required. May be taken during the academic year or during the summer. Participating faculty.

298a or b. Independent Research (1)

Individual or group project or study. Prior approval of advisor and instructor supervising the work are required. May be taken during the academic year or during the summer. Participating faculty.


II. Advanced

300b. Senior Project/Thesis (1)

Recognizing the diverse interests and course programs of students in Environmental Studies, the Program entertains many models for a senior project/thesis. Depending on their disciplinary concentration and interests, students may conduct laboratory or field studies, literary and historical analyses, or policy studies. Senior project/thesis proposals must be approved by the steering committee.

[301a. Senior Seminar] (1)

In the Senior Seminar, Environmental Studies majors bring their disciplinary concentration and their courses in the Program to bear on a problem or set of problems in environmental studies. Intended to be an integration of theory and practice, and serving as a capstone course for the major, the seminar changes its focus from year to year.

Not offered 2000/01.

340b. Advanced Regional Studies (1)

(Same as Geography 340) Topic for 2000/01b: Inequality, Land, Technology, and Food: The Political Ecology of Agriculture. Mr. Engel-DiMauro.

355b. Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)

(Same as Geography 355b, Geology 355b.)

364b. Seminar on Selected Topics in Law and Technology (1)

(Same as Science, Techonology and Society 364)

386b. Advanced Special Studies (1)

(Same as English 386b) Topic for 2000/01: American Landscapes: Changing Conceptions of Natural Beauty, 1820-1920.

399a or b. Senior Independent Research (1)

Individual or group project or study. Prior approval of advisor and instructor supervising the work are required. May be taken during the academic year or during the summer. Participating faculty.