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Fall 2023

FALL 2023 Course Schedule

Course Title Day/Time Instructor
ENVR_POL 212-0-20 Environment and Society MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Ewert, Rebecca
ENVR_POL 309-0-20 American Environmental History TTh 2pm-3:20pm Woodhouse, Keith
ENVR_POL 337-0-1 Hazard, Disaster and Society TTh 9:30am-10:50am Hoominfar, Elham
ENVR_POL 338-0-1 Environmental Justice TTh 2pm-3:20pm Hoominfar, Elham
ENVR_POL 340-0-20 Global Environments and World History TTh 2pm-3:20pm Tilley, Helen
ENVR_POL 384-0-20 Political Ecology MW 11am-12:20pm Rosenzweig, Melissa
ENVR_POL 390-0-20 Contemporary Issues in Energy MW 11am-12:20pm Burns, Wil
ENVR_POL 390-0-21 Cultural Res Mgmt and Evn Pol MW 12:30pm-1:50pm Suzukovich III, Eli
ENVR_POL 390-0-22 International Environmental Law and Policy MW 2pm-3:20pm Burns, Wil
ENVR_POL 390-0-23 Land, Identity and the Sacred MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Suzukovich III, Eli
ENVR_POL 390-0-24 Nature, Culture, & Environmentalisms W 2pm-4:50pm Sullivan, LaShandra
HISTORY 251-0-20 The Politics of Disaster: A Global Environmental History TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Barnett, Lydia
ANTHRO 290-0-2 Food in Culture and Society MW 11am-12:20pm Weismantel, Mary
ANTHRO 290-0-3 / MENA 290-3-1 Infrastructure, Power, and Justice in the Anthropocene TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Kurtic, Ekin
ART_HIST 390-0-1 Resourcing Empire: Colonialism and Modern Architecture in a Global Age MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Kennedy, Hollyamber
ASIAN_LC 240-0-20 / COMP_LIT 202-0-21 The End of a World: South Korean Fictions, Films, and Webtoons of Disaster TTh 11am-12:20pm We, Jeong Eun
COMM_ST 295-0-20 / GNDR_ST 382-0-20 AfroFeminist Futures MW 2pm-3:20pm Bailey, Moya
GEOG 240-0-20 Economic Geography WF 10am-10:50am Hudson, John
ENVR_SCI 201-0-01 Earth: A Habitable Planet TTh 2pm-3:20pm Bush, Rosemary
ENVR_SCI 390-0-02 GIS Level 1 (Geographic Information Systems 1) TTh 9:30am-10:50am Anderson, Elsa
ENVR_SCI 390-0-07 Urban Ecology TTh 12:30pm-1:50pm Anderson, Elsa
CIV_ENV 303-0-20 Environmental Law and Policy  Th 3:30pm-6:20pm Harley, Keith
CIV_ENV 368-0-20  Sustainability: The City T 3:30pm-6:30pm Gray, Kimberly
BIOL SCI 103-0-01 Diversity of Life MWF 3pm-3:50pm Galbreath, Gary John
EARTH 106-0-01 The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate TTh 9:30am-10:50am Blair, Neal
EARTH 342-0-01 Contemporary Energy and Climate Change TTh 11am-12:20pm Axford, Yarrow
JOUR 301-0-21 Environmental Reporting in a High Stakes Climate F 9am-1:50pm Foerstner, Abigail

Course Descriptions

ENVR_POL 212-0-20: Environment and Society

Our climate is rapidly changing. Rising sea levels and increasing ocean acidity, higher temperatures, more droughts, melting glaciers, wilder weather patterns, and mounting environmental disasters mean that climate change is increasingly visible in our daily lives. What role does human society play in these changes, and what consequences does society suffer as these changes occur? This course is an introduction to environmental sociology during which we will employ an intersectional, sociological perspective to look beyond the scientific basis for environmental problems to understand the social roots of environmental issues. We will cover a variety of topics in environmental sociology, including new directions in sustainable development and how actors such as corporations, the media, and social movements impact public opinion and environmental issues. Further, we will critically examine the gendered, racial, and socioeconomic production of disparate environmental risks.

ENVR_POL 309-0-20: American Environmental History

This course will survey American history from the Colonial Era to the present with two premises in mind: that the natural world is not simply a passive background to human history but rather an active participant in historical change, and that human attitudes toward nature are both shaped by and in turn shape social, political, and economic behavior. The course will cover formal schools of thought about the natural world—from Transcendentalism to the conservation and environmental movements—but also discuss the many informal intersections of human activity and natural systems, from European colonialism to property regimes, migration and transportation, industry, consumer practices, war, technological innovation, political ideology, and food production.

ENVR_POL 337-0-1: Hazard, Disaster and Society

This course examines how socioeconomic and environmental factors work together to cause hazards and disasters in human society. In this course we learn the main concepts about disaster such as preparedness, vulnerability, resilience, response, mitigation, etc. We learn that a disaster does not have the same effect on everyone (all groups of people), and factors of social inequality such as race, ethnicity, class, and gender, make people more vulnerable to impacts of disasters. Also, this course, with an interdisciplinary perspective, analyzes disasters in the global North and South. This is a discussion-intensive course for advanced undergrad students. The classes are the student-centered with an emphasis on collaborative learning. The class meetings will consist of lecture, discussion, presentations, teamwork, activities, video/audio materials and projects.

ENVR_POL 338-0-1: Environmental Justice

This course examines how environmental problems reflect and exacerbate social inequality. In this course, we learn the definition of environmental (in)justice; the history of environmental justice; and also examples of environmental justice will be discussed. We will learn about environmental movements. This course has a critical perspective on health disparities in national and international levels. How environmental injustice impacts certain groups more than others and the social and political economic reasons for these injustices will be discussed in this course. This is a discussion-intensive course for advanced undergrad students. The classes are student-centered with an emphasis on collaborative learning. The class meetings will consist of lectures, discussions, presentations, teamwork, activities, video/audio materials and projects.

ENVR_POL 340-0-20: Global Environments and World History

Environmental problems are today part and parcel of popular consciousness: resources are being depleted at a record pace, human population levels have crossed the seven billion threshold, extreme poverty defines the majority of people's daily lives, toxic contaminants affect all ecosystems, increasing numbers of species face extinction, consumerism and the commodification of nature show no signs of abating, and weapons and energy systems continue to proliferate that risk the planet's viability. This introductory lecture course is designed to help students understand the relatively recent origins of many of these problems, focusing especially on the last one hundred and fifty years. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the environmental effects of urbanization, industrialization, population growth, market economies, empire-building, intercontinental warfare, energy extraction, and new technologies. They will also explore different environmental philosophies and analytic frameworks that help us make sense of historical change, including political ecology, environmental history, science studies, and global history. Finally, the course will examine a range of transnational organizations, social movements, and state policies that have attempted to address and resolve environmental problems.

ENVR_POL 384-0-20: Political Ecology

This class is an introduction to Political Ecology, a multidisciplinary body of theory and research that analyzes the environmental articulations of political, economic, and social difference and inequality. The key concepts, debates, and approaches in this field address two main questions: (1) How do humans' interactions with the environment shape power and politics? (2) How do power and politics shape humans' interactions with the environment? These questions are critical to understanding and addressing the current issues of climate change, the Anthropocene, and environmental justice. Topics discussed in this class will include environmental scarcity and degradation, sustainability and conservation, and environmental justice. Readings will come from the disciplines of geography, anthropology and archaeology. Case studies will range from the historical to the present-day. No prior background in the environmental sciences is needed to appreciate and engage in this course.

ENVR_POL 390-0-20: Contemporary Issues in Energy

This course will chart the development of primary energy sources through the history of the United States, as well as the current status of energy sources, technologies, consumption patterns, conservation and energy policies. The emphasis will be on the environmental effects of various choices made at each step of the energy cycle, and an examination of those choices from technological, legal, and socioeconomic perspectives. The course will also examine the nexus of climate change and energy choices. The skill-set building component of this course will seek to build an understanding of the role of legal institutions in the energy realm, including how to interpret court cases and legislation.

ENVR_POL 390-0-21: Cultural Resources Management and Environmental Policy

Why is it important that we save significant cultural places, landscapes, and structures, and intangible culture? This will be the focal question of this class. Through the next 10 weeks we will explore this question and gain a better understanding of what makes something culturally significant and the laws and policies that govern cultural resources. Cultural Resources Management (CRM) is concerned with traditional and historic culture including archaeology; architecture; language; cultural landscapes; sacred sites; ecosystems; mortuary practices; ethno-biology; oral and intangible culture and history; intellectual property rights; enforcement and monitoring of preservation laws and policies; and can also encompasses contemporary culture. This Course will follow the development of the preservation movement and policy in the United States, with comparisons to other countries including Britain and Peru. We will examine the role of the industrial revolution in the creation of national preservation policies and ideas of national identities, and how the later influenced policies and enforcements. We will examine congressional acts ranging from the 1906 Antiquities Act, 1916 National Parks Act, to the 1978 Archeological Resource Protection Act, 1990 Native American Graves and Protection and Repatriation Act, Traditional Cultural Properties and Landscapes, and National Heritage Corridors. We will discuss the ethics and moral decision making that goes into these laws and the issues that arise with legislation and enforcement of cultural preservation.

ENVR_POL 390-0-22: International Environmental Law and Policy

Global environmental problems, including the looming threat of climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and increasing pressures on ocean ecosystems due to human activities, have become pressing concerns in recent decades. In response, a sophisticated architecture of global governance has emerged, including through the establishment of hundreds of multi-lateral treaties to confront these threats. As a consequence, nation-States have begun to cooperate with each other to an unprecedented extent, although not without facing significant obstacles, and not without domestic political agendas sometimes delaying or thwarting progress at the international level. This class examines the array of legal regimes, politics, governance processes and policy tools that have emerged in the arena of global environmental law and politics. We will focus on a number of different discrete international environmental problems, as well as how international environmental law is formulated and enforced at the international level. Assignments will include drafting of UN resolutions and simulated UN General Assembly "debates" and a mid-term examination. There will also be substantial small-group work to engage in interpretation of treaties.

ENVR_POL 390-0-23: Land, Identity and the Sacred

This class focuses on a cross section of religion, law, cultural preservation, land management, and ethno-ecology. We will focus on Native American sacred sites and cultural landscapes and their relationships to land, ceremony, history, and tribal/ethnic identity. Central to the class will be a focus on Cosmology and the idea of the Sacred and how it shapes identity, relationships to landscapes, and ceremonial life. Along with cultural perspectives, the class will touch on laws pertaining to religious freedoms and how they are applied to Native American contexts throughout the United States and Canada.

ENVR_POL 390-0-24: Nature, Culture, & Environmentalisms

This course examines anthropological treatments of the concept of nature and human relations with the natural environment. We discuss how conceptions of nature are always shaped, transformed, and produced by social relations. Course materials focus primarily on ethnographies on the intersections of political ecology, science studies, and postcolonial critiques. Course topics include the history of the Western nature-culture opposition and its critics, as well as recent scholarship on such topics as food studies, the social life of forests, race and the genome, human-animal interactions, and interspecies relations. Instructor Bio: LaShandra Sullivan (Ph.D., University of Chicago 2013) researches social movements, race, and environmental politics in Brazil. She conducts fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in the center-west state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Sullivan's research in Rio de Janeiro focuses on the intersections of Black activism, LGBTQ organizing, and black empowerment in the city, particularly as it regards historical transformations in land ownership and land occupation. In Mato Grosso do Sul, Sullivan conducted research in roadside squatter camps of indigenous land protesters and their confrontations with agribusiness plantation owners. She analyzes the emergence of squatter protests with rural economic development—specifically deforestation, mass displacement of indigenous people, and the casualization of labor—in recent decades

HISTORY 251-0-20: The Politics of Disaster: A Global Environmental History

The term “natural disaster” conjures images of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other powerful forces of nature that strike without warning, inflicting massive suffering on a powerless and unsuspecting populace. We now have several decades' worth of research from the social sciences and humanities showing that so-called "natural" disasters are not very natural at all. Instead, they are deeply political and profoundly man-made. This course adopts a historical and global approach in order to denaturalize disaster. From famines in British India to earthquakes in post-colonial Peru, from floods in New Orleans to nuclear disaster in Japan, we will see how disasters expose and exacerbate pre-existing inequalities, inflicting suffering disproportionately among those groups already marginalized by race, class, gender, geography, and age. These inequalities shape not only the impact of the disaster but the range of responses to it, including political critique and retrenchment, relief and rebuilding efforts, memorialization, and planning - or failing to plan - for future disasters of a similar kind. The course culminates in a unit on the contemporary challenge of anthropogenic global climate change, the ultimate man-made disaster. We will consider how memories, fears, and fantasies of past disasters are being repurposed to create new visions of what climate change will look like.


ANTHRO 290-0-2: Food in Culture and Society

This class explores food in all its cultural and social dimensions. Lectures and readings will begin with the deep history and origins of our foods, with a focus on ancient foods of the Americas; then, we turn to the social, economic and political organization of the modern food industry, from industrial production and fast-food empires to small-scale local farms and restaurants; and last, the cultural significance of food, whether as cherished ethnic tradition or in the rise (and fall?) of celebrity chefs, cooking shows and competitions. Individual research projects will allow an in-depth study of a favorite (or least favorite) food, and experiential assignments will take students out of the classroom and into local and regional stores, restaurants, and markets to meet the people who make and sell our food.

ANTHRO 290-0-3 / MENA 290-3-1: Infrastructure, Power, and Justice in the Anthropocene

Our lives are configured through the routinized functioning of infrastructures that mostly remain invisible until they break down. Material infrastructures such as roads, bridges, grids, and dams connect people, places, ideas, and things across time and space. They promise spatial and social connectivity, environmental control, technological modernization, and development in the age of Anthropocene defined as the era in which human activities play a dominant role in environmental changes. However, they also lead to uneven access to resources, prevent mobility, and produce injustices and socio-political conflicts. This course will scrutinize infrastructures to discuss their social, political, and environmental lives. We will read and discuss anthropological studies that examine how infrastructures are constructed, used, maintained, and repaired in everyday life. In this exploration, we will pay specific attention to power relations, social meanings, and environmental transformations that shape and are shaped by infrastructures. Conceptual themes include, among others, urban citizenship, state power, social conflicts, securitization, violence, community building, and ecology. These themes will be explored through the focus on water systems, renewable energy, road projects, waste facilities, oil extraction, housing, and other infrastructures. We will pay specific attention to infrastructure and its politics in the Global South, through readings and other course materials on regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, South East Asia, Africa, and South America. The course will also cover new understandings of infrastructure beyond material systems; we will discuss the new perspectives that approach social relations and nature as infrastructures that sustain human and non-human life.

ART_HIST 390-0-1: Resourcing Empire: Colonialism and Modern Architecture in a Global Age

This seminar will explore the entangled histories of colonialism and architectural modernism, from the mid-19h century until the 1960s, at the onset of mass decolonialization across the Global South. The course will look beyond the “laboratory” narrative of modernism as colonialism’s import, paying close attention to the role of local aesthetic and material practices, building technologies, environmental knowledge, and labor in the design of the colonial environment. Exploring stylistic forms of modernism and design theory in the imperial metropole, this course will also trace the European appropriation of indigenous cultural and material traditions and technical innovations. Expanding the scope of analysis beyond the urban scale, the seminar will situate the unique territorial character of colonial expansion during this period, and its reliance on emerging transregional infrastructures, within the broader framework of the industrialized “resource frontier.” Our inquiry into the built environment of the colonial past and its relationship to architecture’s modernity will be guided by contemporary debates and critical discourse that offer nuanced perspectives on the interlocking struggles over reparation, restitution, and the politics of memory.

ASIAN LC 240 / COMP LIT 202: The End of a World: South Korean Fictions, Films, and Webtoons of Disaster

What does one talk about when one talks about disasters? Whose world ends in “end of the world” narratives? This course invites students to read and watch South Korean and diasporic narratives centered around disasters, both real and fictional, to engage questions of politics, representation, and inequalities that shape disaster narratives. Ranging from disasters of the past to more contemporary ones such as pandemics and Sewol ferry, the disasters examined in this course have sparked complex conversations surrounding a more just society and the doomed end of the “normal.” Engaging scholarship on disasters, speculative fictions, critical race theory, and gender studies, the course introduces students to the varied academic and cultural responses to disasters and the underlying stakes that drive these responses.

COMM ST 295 / GNDR ST 382: AfroFeminist Futures

This course invites students to explore feminist speculative fiction as a site for social justice advocacy. Students will read classic feminist and afrofuturist science fiction as they prepare their own original short stories for publication. Drawing heavily on the work of feminist afrofuturist Octavia Butler, students will engage imaginative narratives that allow them to think through solutions to the problems of our time. Students will explore the genre elements of short stories and speculative fiction, ultimately integrating these lessons into their own short stories. This is a writing and reading intensive class.

GEOG 240-0-20: Economic Geography

Economic geography is a survey of the World's economic activities, including their inputs, the products they turn out, and the trade between nations in these products. Following a survey of current population trends, the subject matter focuses on primary industries (fishing, forests and forest products, agriculture), energy (coal, oil, gas, renewables), minerals (iron, copper, aluminum). The focus then shifts to industrial production (steel industry, general manufacturing industries), and modern distribution industries. In-depth case studies include the textile and garment industries and the automobile industry. Special emphasis on foreign direct investment and trans-national corporations.

ENGLISH 205: Nature and the Nature of Argument, Professor Kathleen Carmichael | Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:20 PM

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the time-honored genre of nature writing saw the emergence of a parallel literary tradition: Writing (and other media) devoted to drawing the world's attention to impending environmental catastrophe - and the steps human beings could take to avert it. In this course, students will examine the intersection of these two genres - that of traditional nature writing and environmental activist texts - with an eye to developing a portfolio of writing and communication work that showcases their unique voices, rhetorical strategies, and perspectives on this critically important topic. We will consider how people come to develop felt relationships to the natural world and what activist strategies seem to have the greatest potential to spark broad-based positive change. To that end, students will be asked to keep a journal of observation and reflections on the natural world as a foundation for later research and argumentative work. Some classes will be held outside at a range of campus (and possibly off-campus) locations, weather permitting, to allow for in-class observation and reflection workshops. Course readings/viewing will include selections from classics such Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth as well as Greta Thunberg's The Climate Book, essays by Elizabeth Kolbert, and selections from Hope Jahren's The Story of More. We will also consider practical topics such as how University library resources and experts can help students locate and evaluate key sources and develop authoritative arguments.

ENVR_SCI 201-0-01: Earth: A Habitable Planet

This course provides an overview of the physical processes governing environmental systems, from the Earth's lithosphere to hydrosphere to atmosphere. We will cover internal and external sources of energy to the Earth system; the processes from tectonic to atmospheric that are driven by that energy; and some human impacts on the resulting environmental systems. Students will gain physical science perspectives on current debates about environmental issues, such as those over water resources, energy, and climate change.

ENVR_SCI 390-0-02: GIS Level 1 (Geographic Information Systems 1)

Introduction to concepts underlying geographic information systems (GIS) and methods of managing and processing geographic information. Designed for students who have little background but want to learn the fundamentals and applications of GIS. Students will be exposed to both theoretical knowledge and technical skills in this course. Lab assignments and a project will promote students’ application of concepts and skills in solving real-world problems.

ENVR_SCI 390-0-07: Urban Ecology

In this course, we will evaluate different aspects of the urban environment through the lens of a social-ecological system. Students will explore the principles of urbanization and examine how these changes influence hydrology, biogeochemistry, climate, and ecology. We will culminate with a unit on environmental justice and sustainability, discussing ways in which urban science helps solve the pressing challenges of today to improve life in the future. Lab: In this laboratory section, students will learn experimental design, field methods, and in urban ecology which they will use to conduct a research project in their community. Furthermore, students will participate in urban ecology field trips across Chicago that highlight themes of climate, hydrology, and environmental justice in local communities.

CIV_ENV 303-0-20: Environmental Law and Policy

An introduction to important aspects of environmental law and policy. A wide range of environmental topics are covered, with a focus on national environmental policy as implemented through major federal environmental statutes.

CIV_ENV 368-0-20: Sustainability: The City

Exploration of the issues that motivate the design and engineering of sustainable resource use and development.

BIOL_SCI 103-0-01: Diversity of Life

This course constitutes a comparative survey of organisms, emphasizing adaptation and phylogenetic relationships. The gradual evolution of lineages of living things is treated chronologically, and the mechanism of natural selection is elucidated. The evolution of Animals is covered in special depth.

EARTH 106-0-01: The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate

The role of the world's oceans in the earth's climate system. Properties of the oceans and marine life. Interaction of oceans, atmosphere, and land.

EARTH 342-0-01: Contemporary Energy and Climate Change

Interdisciplinary course examining global energy use and associated challenges, including the history of energy use, the science of climate change, and technological, economic, and environmental aspects of various energy sources. Registration reserved for seniors majoring in math, science, or engineering, and graduate students in all disciplines. Taught with ISEN 410-0; may not receive credit for both courses.

JOUR 301-0-21: Environmental Reporting in a High Stakes Climate

What's at stake as our communities confront climate change, diminishing water supplies, outdated oil pipelines, drought, flooding, health risks from contaminants, and added COVID-19 contagion resulting from environmental injustice. The accelerating environmental news stories are expanding the need for reporters trained to cover them and tackle environmental threats, sustainability, new technologies and climate change. This class will teach you how to report on such issues and uncover environmental injustices with investigative strategies, on-site reporting, discussions with experts, diverse interviews and a deep dive into research. A focus on multimedia reporting techniques will enable you to report on stories with a choice of text, video, audio, photo-essays and infographics. You will produce compelling stories for general audiences that provide clear access to the science, politics, economic impacts and community concerns. You will participate in developing the learning experiences for this class through press conference-style discussions, role playing and peer sharing. You will participate om field research trips in the Chicago area as part of this class.