Environmental Studies Program

Environmental Studies is a multidisciplinary program that involves the natural and social sciences as well as the arts and humanities. It explores the relationships between people and the totality of their environments-natural, built, and social. As part of that exploration, environmental studies concerns itself with the description and analysis of natural systems; with interspecies and species-environment relationships and the institutions, policies and laws that affect those relationships; with aesthetic portrayals of nature and how these portrayals affect human perceptions and behavior toward it; and with ethical issues raised by the human presence in the environment. A component of the program is the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), whose mission is to broaden and enrich the Environmental Studies program by emphasizing and supporting fieldwork, research, and engagement in the community.

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, assigns an advisor to each student. Advisors are selected from the 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. For additional information please consult the program website.

Research studies by Environmental Studies majors are supported by the Environmental Research Institute.

Environmental Studies is a major in which students concentrate in two disciplines or areas of focus (one in the natural sciences). Potential majors are encouraged to take additional introductory courses in the disciplines or areas where their focus may be.

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in Sustainability

Courses

Environmental Studies: I. Introductory

100a or b. Earth Resource Challenges (1)

(Same as ESCI 100, ESSC 100, and GEOG 100) This course combines the insights of the natural and social sciences to address a topic of societal concern. Geographers bring spatial analysis of human environmental change, while Earth scientists contribute their knowledge of the diverse natural processes shaping the Earth's surface. Together, these distinctive yet complementary fields contribute to comprehensive understandings of the physical limitations and potentials, uses and misuses of the Earth's natural resources. Each year the topic of the course changes to focus on selected resource problems facing societies and environments around the world. When this course is team-taught by faculty from Earth Science and Geography, it serves as an introduction to both disciplines.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods.

101a or b. The Art of Reading and Writing (1)

(Same as ENGL 101) Topic for 2015/16a: Thoreau in His Time and Ours. Henry David Thoreau's influence on American environmental thought, political ideas, and literary culture is enduring.  The course examines some of his own writings, including WaldenEssay on Civil Disobedience, excerpts from his Indian Notebooks, and from his lifelong Journal.  We will also read and write about twenty-first-century works in his tradition, including Cheryl Strayed's book Wild (and the recent film made from it), as well as some contemporary journalism.  Twentieth-century writers could include John Muir, John Burroughs (with a field trip to his nearby retreat Slabsides),  Ernest Hemingway, Annie Dillard, and Gary Snyder.  Photography and landscape painting influenced by Thoreau will also be considered.  Thoreau himself was a great prose stylist, and can provide a model for our own writing, including journal writing.  Mr. Peck.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

107b. Global Change and Sustainability (1)

This class offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the climate, ecosystem and sustainability principles needed to understand human impact on the natural environment. We discuss the issue of global change prediction and the scientific basis for global change assessments and policy measures. Key topics are the physical climate system and its variability, the carbon cycle and related ecosystem processes, land use issues, nutrient cycles, and the impact of global change on society. Common threads in all of these topics include the use of observations and models, the consideration of multiple scales (temporal and spatial), the interaction of human behaviors and choices with natural systems, and the linkages among aspects of the global change issue. Ms. Spodek.

Two 75-minute periods.

124a. Essentials of Environmental Science (1)

A lecture/laboratory course in which basic topics in environmental biology, geology, and chemistry are covered with examples from current environmental issues used to illustrate the application and interdisciplinary nature of these fields. This course treats the following topics: energy sources and waste products, atmospheric patterns and climate, biogeochemical cycles, properties of soils and water, and ecological processes. Using these topics as a platform, this course examines the impact humanity has on the environment and discusses strategies to diminish those effects. The laboratory component includes field trips, field investigations, and laboratory exercises. Mr. Pregnall.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

125b. Environmentalisms in Perspective (1)

This multidisciplinary course examines significant approaches to the theory and practice of environmentalisms past and present. Students explore possible connections between the ethical, aesthetic, social, economic, historical, and scientific concerns that comprise environmental studies. The methods of inquiry we follow and the environmentalisms we consider vary among sections. Ms. Batur.

Required of students concentrating in the program.

177b. Environmental Political Thought (0.5)

(Same as POLI 177   ) The emerging awareness of ecological problems in the past half-century has led to a questioning and rethinking of some important political ideas. What theories can describe an ecologically-sound human relation to nature; what policies derive from those theories; and how do they value nature? What is the appropriate size of political units? What model of citizenship best addresses environmental issues? This course will address selected issues through readings in past political thinkers like Locke and Marx and in contemporary political and environmental theorists. Mr. Stillman.

Not offered in 2015/16.

178b. Political Theory, Environmental Justice: The Case of New Orleans After Katrina (0.5)

(Same as POLI 178   ) Hurricane Katrina flooded much of New Orleans, causing intense social and political problems within the city and testing the ability of citizens and governments to respond to the crisis. The course aims to interpret and evaluate those responses by reading past political theorists, such as Aristotle, Hobbes, and DuBois, and current evaluations, such as those based in concerns for environmental justice. Mr. Stillman.

Not offered in 2015/16.

180b. Green Fictions (1)

The course studies modern environmental writing from several European countries, including France, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, and explores the reimagining of vanished landscapes. A selection of narrative tales, accounts, and reflections foregrounding contemporary ecological issues and priorities are considered; they cover a range of styles, from geopoetics to wild writing. The works draw on different cultural traditions to reflect creatively about questions of global urgency, among them climate change, sustainable development, loss of habitat, and pollution. Critical readings accompany the study of primary texts. Authors may include Kathleen Jamie, Jean Giono, Andri Snaer Magnason, Kenneth White, Michel Rio, Robert Macfarlane. Mr. Andrews.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

Environmental Studies: II. Intermediate

254b. Environmental Science in the Field (1)

The environment consists of complex and often elegant interactions between various constituents so that an interdisciplinary approach is required to understand how human interactions may affect it. In this course, we study a variety of aspects of a specific environment by considering how biological, chemical, geological, and human factors interact. We observe these interactions first hand during a weeklong field trip. Some of the questions we may consider are: How does a coral polyp create an environment that not only suits its particular species, but also helps regulate the global climate? How has human development and associated water demands in the desert Southwest changed the landscape, fire ecology, and even estuary and fisheries' health as far away as the Gulf of California? How have a variety of species (humans included) managed to survive on an island with the harsh environment of the exposed mid-ocean ridge of Iceland? The course is offered every other year, and topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course. Ms. Batur and Mr. Belli.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

258b. Environment and Culture in the Caribbean (1)

(Same as AFRS 258) The ecology of the islands of the Caribbean has undergone profound change since the arrival of Europeans to the region in 1492. The course traces the history of the relationship between ecology and culture from pre-Columbian civilizations to the economies of tourism. Among the specific topics of discussion are: Arawak and Carib notions of nature and conservation of natural resources; the impact of deforestation and changes in climate; the plantation economy as an ecological revolution; the political implications of the tensions between the economy of the plot and that of the plantation; the development of environmental conservation and its impact on notions of nationhood; the ecological impact of resort tourism; the development of eco-tourism. These topics are examined through a variety of materials: historical documents, essays, art, literature, music, and film. Ms. Paravisini.

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 2015/16b: Animal Metaphors.  When humans place themselves above and beyond nature, they are more likely to engage in practices destructive to the environment.  The purpose of this course is to discover how and why humans so often define themselves in opposition to the animal world, and to use both art and science to explore alternative identities that would help us come to terms with our own "animal" being. As we consider stories about animals in various works of literature and film, we study humans themselves as a species to which evolution has bequeathed a host of traits and capacities, including the capacity for story-telling.  Readings in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology help us reframe questions of human identity in relation to animals. Towards the end of the course, we examine ways in which various cultural narratives, including ecocriticism, have been transformed by a more scientifically informed appreciation of animals as metaphors, and of humans as "metaphorizing animals." The course is taught in English. Works of French literature are in translation. Ms. Hart and Mr. Long.

Two 75-minute periods.

261b. "The Nuclear Cage": Environmental Theory and Nuclear Power (1)

(Same as SOCI 261 and INTL 261) The central aim of this course is to explore debates about the interaction between beings, including humans, animals, plants and the earth within the context of advanced capitalism by concentrating on the production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of nuclear power. The first question concerning the class is how does Environmental Theory approach nuclear power and its impact on the environment. The second question deals with how this construction interacts with other forms of debate regarding nuclear power, especially concentrating on the relation between science, market and the state in dealing with nature, and how citizens formulate and articulate their understanding of nuclear power through social movements. Ms. Batur.

262a. Consuming Paradise: A Global Pre-History of Environmentalism (1)

Today's fundamental topics of environmental justice and sustainability are not new. Likewise, our contemporary concerns with invasive species, wildlife conservation, and environmental degradation have deep histories. We trace the early development of these topics and concerns through the lens of imperial production and consumption, centered on the Global South, from the beginnings of European colonialism through the twentieth century. Tropical fruits, sugar, and spice first attracted Europeans and quickly turned verdant islands and robust laborers to dust. Innumerable weeds and other plants travelled the oceans---along with voracious sheep, cattle, and pig---reshaping the environment and inciting debate wherever they went. Commercial hunting and big game shooting flourished, giving rise to conservationism and hinting at the value of biodiversity as wildlife dwindled or disappeared. The appropriation of tropical resources---notably through the patenting of tropical species by private corporations---continues today in an ostensibly post-colonial world, forcing us to question just how much our interests in the environment have really changed. Ms. Hughes.

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods.

266a. Racism, Waste and Resistance (1)

(Same as SOCI 266) The 21st century will be defined in the dramatic consequences of the current events and movements regarding our waste: global climate change, pollution, resource depletion, contamination and extinction. One of the most striking and consistent observations is that racism plays a major role in placing waste in close proximity to those racially distinct, economically exploited and politically oppressed. This class examines the destructive global dynamics of environmental racism and resistance, as struggles against it. Ms. Batur.

Two 75-minute periods.

270a. Topics in Environmental Studies (1)

The purpose of this course is to take up topics relevant to environmental studies, and examine them through the perspectives of the humanities and the natural or social sciences. The course topic changes from year to year.

Not offered in 2015/16.

271a. Literature and the American Environment (1)

This course considers the representations of nature and the environment in American literature, from the nineteenth century to the present, with special emphasis on contemporary experience and perception. Topics will include: the importance of sense of place (and displacement); multiple cultural discourses about nature; the rise of modern ecocriticism; indigenous understandings of the natural world; and the role of literature in environmental movements. Readings will be drawn from such authors as H. D. Thoreau, Mary Austin, Jean Toomer, Aldo Leopold, Gary Snyder, Barry Lopez, Leslie Silko, John Edgar Wideman, Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, and Terry Tempest Williams, as well as from critical and scholarly sources. Mr. Kane.

(Not available to students who have taken ENST 270.)

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods.

276a. Plants and Plant Communities of the Hudson Valley (0.5)

(Same as BIOL 276) Plants are the most conspicuous components of terrestrial ecosystems. In this course, you learn how to observe and describe variation in plant form so you can recognize locally common plant species and determine their scientific names. You also learn to recognize the characteristic plant communities of the Hudson Valley. This course is structured around weekly field trips to local natural areas. Locations are chosen to illustrate the typical plant species and communities of the region, the ecosystem services provided by plants, environmental concerns, and conservation efforts. This course is appropriate for students interested in biology, environmental science, and environmental studies, and anyone wishing to learn more about our natural environment. Mr. Schlessman.

Environmental Studies majors may take this course instead of ENST 291. First 6-week course.

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

281b. Killing Fog: Coal, Energy and Pollution (0.5)

(Same as INTL 281 and SOCI 281) In December 1952, a deadly mix of fog and coal soot that lasted for five days killed thousands of Londoners. This event, one of the worst environmental disasters in history, raised awareness of the pollution associated with coal usage, and coal's deep integration into the economy and politics worldwide. Yet, more than half a century later, the fight continues to regulate coal power's impact in the United States and elsewhere. As the representatives of 195 countries met for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, coal soot continued to hang in the air.  The first day of the conference was marked by record levels of air pollution in Beijing, while in India coal power plants have contributed to one of the worst health crises, causing about 100,000 deaths and about 20 million cases asthma in India. This course, connecting science and policy making, will examine the science, economics and politics of coal usage in the United States and globally, and will explore movements against the hegemony of coal in the era of the Anthropocene. Pinar Batur.

Second six-week course.

One 2-hour period plus one 50-minute period.

290a or b. Field Work (0.5to1)

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.

291a or b. Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley (0.5)

The course emphasizes project-based learning that, rather than beginning with established divisions or disciplines, focuses on problems or questions to which students can bring all the resources of their previous classes in a truly multidisciplinary fashion. Mr. Nevarez.

Required for Environmental Studies majors. ENST 276 can be taken instead if 291 is not being offered.

First 6-weeks of fall semester and second 6-weeks of spring semester.

Two 75-minute periods.

298a or b. Independent Research (0.5to1)

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.

Environmental Studies: III. 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.

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

303a. Thesis (0.5)

Yearlong course 303-ENST 304.

304b. Thesis (0.5)

Yearlong course ENST 303-304.

305b. People and Other Animals in India (1)

(Same as ASIA 305 and HIST 305) How have Indians defined the proper relationship between themselves and the animals around them? What challenges and opportunities have animals and people met with as a result? How have our ideas changed animals' lives and the environments we both live in, and how have animals affected human lives and histories? We read excerpts from foundational ancient and classical texts, alongside British and Indian texts on war horses and elephants. We delve into the primary sources on Cow Protection and royal sport. We read children's literature and make extensive use of non-textual sources including miniature paintings, photography, and taxidermy. To provide a framework for our studies, we consult scholarship in the emerging field of human-animal history. Ms. Hughes.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period.

325b. Studies in Genres (1)

An intensive study of specific forms or types of literature, such as satire, humor, gothic fiction, realism, slave narratives, science fiction, crime, romance, adventure, short story, epic, autobiography, hypertext, and screenplay. Each year, one or more of these genres is investigated in depth. The course may cross national borders and historical periods or adhere to boundaries of time and place.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period.

331b. Topics in Archaeological Theory and Method (1)

The theoretical underpinnings of anthropological archaeology and the use of theory in studying particular bodies of data. The focus ranges from examination of published data covering topics such as architecture and society, the origin of complex society, the relationship between technology and ecology to more laboratory-oriented examination of such topics as archaeometry, archaeozoology, or lithic technology.

Prerequisite: previous coursework in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, or Science, Technology, and Society, or permission of the instructor.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period; plus 4 hour lab.

335b. Paleoclimatology: Earth's History of Climate Change (1)

(Same as ESCI 335) In recent decades, record high temperatures and extreme weather events have led scientists and policy makers to grapple with the fact that human activities are affecting the climate system. At the same time, scientists have come to realize that climate is capable of dramatic shifts in the absence of human intervention. The science of paleoclimatology seeks to understand the extent and causes of natural climatic variability in order to establish the baseline on top of which anthropogenic changes are occurring. In this course we examine the structure and properties of the oceans and atmosphere and how the general circulation of these systems redistributes heat throughout the globe; study how cycles in Earth's orbital parameters, plate tectonics, changes in ocean circulation, and the evolution of plants have affected climate; and explore the different lines of evidence used to reconstruct climate history. Weekly laboratory projects introduce students to paleoclimatic methods and to records of climatic change from the Paleozoic through the Little Ice Age. Ms. Menking.

Prerequisite: 200-level work in Earth Science or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 4-hour classroom/laboratory/field period.

340b. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)

Not offered in 2015/16.

341b. Oil (1)

(Same as ESCI 341 and GEOG 341) For the hydraulic civilizations of Mesopotamia, it was water. For the Native Americans of the Great Plains, it was buffalo. As we enter the twenty-first century, our society is firmly rooted both culturally and economically in oil. This class looks into almost every aspect of oil. Starting at the source with kerogen generation, we follow the hydrocarbons along migration pathways to a reservoir with a suitable trap. We look at the techniques geologists and geophysicists use to find a field, and how engineers and economists get the product from the field to refineries, paying particular attention to environmental concerns. What is involved in the negotiations between multinational corporations and developing countries over production issues? What are the stages in refining oil from the crude that comes from the ground to the myriad uses seen today, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers, not to mention gasoline? We also discuss the future of this rapidly dwindling, non-renewable resource, and options for an oil-less future. 

Prerequisite: one 200-level Earth Science course or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 4-hour classroom/laboratory/field period.

350b. New York City as a Social Laboratory (1)

(Same as URBS 350   ) What is the future role of cities in the global environment? The goal of this class is to explore the major challenges in making cities environmentally sustainable. Efforts to generate and foster green and sustainable urban space confront economic, political and social complexities, while our imagination is being challenged to define alternatives. By focusing on New York City, we explore alterations in the discourse on sustainability as it relates to spatial allocation in urban design, and architectural innovations in the form and function of green buildings. Through a combination of classroom based discussions and New York City on site investigations, the class strives to understand expanded definition of sustainability in the contemporary urban environment.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

352b. Conservation Biology (1)

(Same as BIOL 352) Conservation Biology uses a multidisciplinary approach to study how to best maintain the earth's biodiversity and functioning ecosystems. We examine human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function and discuss how to develop practical approaches for mitigating those impacts. We start the semester by assessing the current human footprint on global resources, asking questions about what we are trying to preserve, why we are trying to preserve it, and how we can accomplish our goals. We critically examine the assumptions made by conservation biologists throughout, using case studies from around the world to explore a range of perspectives. Discussion topics include conservation in an agricultural context, the efficacy of marine protected areas, the impact of climate change on individual species and preserve design, restoration ecology, the consequences of small population sizes, conservation genetics, the impacts of habitat fragmentation and invasive species, and urbanecology. Ms. Ronsheim.

Recommended: BIOL 241, BIOL 208, or BIOL 226, GEOG 260, GEOG 224, or GEOG 356; or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

356a. Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)

(Same as GEOG 356 and URBS 356) This seminar focuses on land-use issues such as open-space planning, urban design, transportation planning, and the social and environmental effects of planning and land use policies. The focus of the course this year is impacts of planning policies (such as transportation, zoning, or growth boundaries) on environmental quality, including open space preservation, farmland conservation, and environmental services. We begin with global and regional examples and then apply ideas in the context of Dutchess County's trajectory of land use change and planning policies. Ms. Cunningham.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in Geography, Urban Studies or Environmental Studies.

One 3-hour period.

361b. Modeling the Earth (1)

(Same as ESCI 361) Computer models are powerful tools in the Earth and Environmental Sciences for generating and testing hypotheses about how the Earth system functions and for allowing simulation of processes in places inaccessible to humans (e.g. Earth's deep interior), too slow to permit observation (e.g., erosion driven uplift of mountains ranges), or too large to facilitate construction of physical models (e.g., Earth's climate system). Taking readings from the scientific literature, we create and then perform experiments with simple computer models, using the STELLA iconographic box-modeling software package. Topics include the global phosphorus cycle, Earth's radiative balance with the sun and resulting temperature, the flow of ice in glaciers, and the role of life in moderating Earth's climate. Toward the end of the semester, students apply the skills they have acquired to a modeling project of their own devising. Ms. Menking.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in the natural sciences.

Satisfies the college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

One 4-hour classroom/laboratory period.

367b. Peoples and Environments in the American West (1)

(Same as HIST 367) This course explores the history of the trans-Mississippi West in the nineteenth century and its legacies in modern America. Themes include cultural conflict and accommodation; federal power and Western politics; and humans' negotiations with their environments. The course considers the history of the frontier as a process; the Western U.S. as a geographic place; and the legendary West and its functions in American mythology. Ms. Edwards.

Not offered in 2015/16.

368a. Toxic Futures: From Social Theory to Environmental Theory (1)

(Same as INTL 368 and SOCI 368) The central aim of this class is to examine the foundations of the discourse on society and nature in social theory and environmental theory to explore two questions. The first question is how does social theory approach the construction of the future, and the second question is how has this construction informed the present debates on the impact of industrialization, urbanization, state-building and collective movements on the environment? In this context, the class focuses on how social theory informs different articulations of Environmental Thought and its political and epistemological fragmentation and the limits of praxis, as well as its contemporary construction of alternative futures. Ms. Batur.

370a. Feminist Perspectives on Environmentalism (1)

(Same as ESSC 370 and WMST 370) In this seminar we explore some basic concepts and approaches within feminist environmental analysis paying particular attention to feminist theory and its relevance to environmental issues. We examine a range of feminist research and analysis in 'environmental studies' that is connected by the recognition that gender subordination and environmental destruction are related phenomena. That is, they are the linked outcomes of forms of interactions with nature that are shaped by hierarchy and dominance, and they have global relevance. The course helps students discover the expansive contributions of feminist analysis and action to environmental research and advocacy; it provides the chance for students to apply the contributions of a feminist perspective to their own specific environmental interests. Ms. Schneiderman.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor; WMST 130 recommended.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period.

372b. Sustainability and Environmental Political Thought (1)

(Same as POLI 372   ) Sustainability is arguably the most important principle and practice for the contemporary environmental movement. This course will explore the historical origins of the concept, its various and contested meanings, its relation to other leading dimensions of environmental political thought, and its critics. We will also analyze the relation of sustainability to mass-consumption societies, to democracy, and to the modern state. Mr. Stillman.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period.

375b. Aquatic Chemistry (0.5or1)

(Same as CHEM 375) This course explores the fundamentals of aqueous chemistry as applied to natural waters. The global water cycle and major water resources are introduced. Principles explored include: kinetics and thermodynamics, atmosphere-water interactions, rock-water interactions, precipitation and dissolution, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, and nutrient and trace metal cycling. Ms. Spodek.

Prerequisites: CHEM 245; PHYS 113, PHYS 114; MATH 121, MATH 126 and MATH 127 or the equivalent; or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

381b. Topics in Ecosystem Ecology - Ecosystem Structure and Function (1)

(Same as BIOL 381) Ecosystems are complex systems, where biotic and abiotic factors interact to create the world we see around us. Understanding the nature of ecosystems is fundamental to understanding how disturbance and change in a dynamic world will influence ecosystem stability. This is especially critical as we enter the Anthropocene; a time in our planets history where one species, modern humans, dominate. Major changes brought about by increased human activity include changing climate regimes, invasive species spread and biodiversity loss. This course explores how ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial, are assembled (structured) and how different ecosystems process energy and matter (function). We use our understanding of structure and function to explore how different ecosystems respond to changes in the environment (including climate change, invasive species introductions, loss of biodiversity and pollution). A class project will explore an ecosystem scale problem, and students will develop a plan for effectively communicating the scientific understanding of the problem to multiple stakeholders. Ms. Christenson.

Prerequisite: BIOL 241.

383b. Dissent at the End of the Anthropocene (1)

(Same as INTL 383 and SOCI 383) Thomas Jefferson famously argued, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." The hallmarks of globalization---financial oligarchies, resource depletion, environmental pollution, global climate change, profound inequality---have given us the most convincing evidence to date that the ideals of progress, optimism, and humanism that have grew out of the Enlightenment are not fulfilling their promise. Perhaps these concepts became corrupted, or perhaps this is because these thought-systems have not paid adequate attention to the ethical dimensions of our economic, geopolitical, and social development, and counter cultural movements. On the other hand, movements of dissent have grown up around these ideals since at least the eighteenth century and some argue that if the Anthropocene, "the age of humankind," is to continue, we will have to fundamentally change our thinking. This course addresses the legacy of progressive "counter-Enlightenment" movements to develop an understanding of their discourse. Ms. Batur.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 3-hour period.

385b. Technology, Ecology, and Society (1)

(Same as STS 385) Examines the interactions between human beings and their environment as mediated by technology, focusing on the period from the earliest evidence of toolmaking approximately up to the Industrial Revolution. Student research projects often bring the course up to the present. Includes experimentation with ancient technologies and field trips to local markets and craft workshops.

Prerequisite: previous coursework in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, or Science, Technology, and Society, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 2-hour period; plus 4 hour lab.

387b. Risk and Geohazards (1)

(Same as ESCI 387 and GEOG 387) The world is becoming an increasingly risky place. Every year, natural hazards affect more and more people, and these people are incurring increasingly expensive losses. This course explores the nature of risk associated with geophysical phenomena. Are there more hazardous events now than there have been in the past? Are these events somehow more energetic? Or is it that increasing populations with increasingly disparate incomes are being exposed to these hazards? What physical, economic, political and social tools can be employed to reduce geophysical risk? We draw on examples from recent disasters, both rapid onset (earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones), and slow onset (climate change, famine) to examine the complex and interlinked vulnerabilities of the coupled human-environment system. 

Prerequisite: ESCI 121    or ESCI 151.

Not offered in 2015/16.

One 4-hour period.

389b. From the Natural History Museum to Ecotourism:The Collection of Nature (1)

(Same as AMST 389) 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 Amerian Indians (as natural objects) offered Euro-Americans a means to realize their new national identity. Today, the American consumer-collector goes beyond the boundaries of the museum, national park, 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 investigates historical and current trends in the way North Americans recover, appropriate, and represent non-western cultures, 'exotic' animals, and natural environments from theoretical and ideological perspectives. Course readings draw from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, museology, literature, and environmental studies. Ms. Pike-Tay.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Research (0.5to1)

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.