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Winter 2022


Course Title Instructor Day/Time
ENVR_POL 309 American Environmental History Woodhouse MW 2:00-3:20
ENVR_POL 390-21 Special Topics: Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy Burns TTH 11:00 - 12:20
ENVR_POL 390-23 Special Topics: Maple Syrup and Climate Change Suzukovich F 11:00-1:50

ENVR_POL 390-24

Special Topics: Science and Knowledge in Global Climate Governance Suiseeya TH 2:00-4:50
ENVR_POL 390-25 Special Topics: Climate Geoengineering Burns MW 2:00-3:20

ENVR_POL 390-26

Special Topics: Archaeologies of Sustainability and Collapse Rosenzweig TTH 11:00-12:20
ENVR_POL 390-27 Special Topics: Parks and Pipeline: Indigenous Environmental Justice Whitson TTH 11:00-12:20
ENVR_POL 390-0-29 Special Topics: Hazards, Disasters, an Society Hoominfar MW 3:30-4:50



ENVR_POL 309 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 390-21 Special Topics: Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy

The world’s oceans are essential to life on earth, yet ever-more increasingly imperiled by an array of anthropogenic stressors, including pollution, overexploitation of resources and climate change. This class will focus on both the threats posed to ocean and coastal ecosystems, as well as the impacts on marine living resources. The course will also examine the role of national (with a focus on the United States) and international law in addressing threats to the world’s oceans.

ENVR_POL 390-23 Special Topics: Maple Syrup and Climate Change

As the earth's climate changes, maple trees and the maple syrup industry in the U.S. and Canada are being affected, in both good and bad ways. The class will cover these effects, their impact on Native American and non-Native communities, the maple syrup industry, and maple species themselves through articles and readings. We will also cover other aspects of Native American food sovereignty happening across the United States and Canada.

Students will work in groups, to collect data from three maple species on campus and examine sugar ratios, sap flow rates, and ambient temperature and precipitation: along with a focus on species differentiation, soil nutrients, and campus micro-climates. The final product for the class would be a group data report. A copy of the report will go to facilities management to be added to their campus tree inventory.

ENVR_POL 390-24 Special Topics: Science and Knowledge in Global Climate Governance

Despite decades of climate science research, current climate action remains limited in its ability to effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change. Efforts to reduce emissions are well-intentioned attempts to avoid the most severe effects of climate change, but have yet to spur the magnitude of action required. In this course we will explore the intersections of climate science, traditional ecological knowledge, and climate justice to unpack how different knowledge systems inform and impact effective climate governance and policy. Often unrecognized in science and policy arenas, traditional ecological knowledge generates insights for strengthening efforts to effectively address climate change. In this course, we ask: to what extent and how do different knowledge systems gain and lose traction in different climate policy arenas? How, why, and with what effects are the science and policy of climate change far removed from the people most vulnerable to its impacts? Is the exclusivity of science—marginalization of knowledge systems and extricating climate science from climate change experiences—the greatest threat to effective climate action? And, how might policy arenas facilitate the introduction, deliberation, and circulation of plural worldviews and knowledge systems? In this research seminar, students will directly engage with an ongoing collaborative research project that seeks to answer these questions. The seminar is structured to reflect the research process. Students enrolled in this course should consider themselves research apprentices and collaborators. There are three parts to this course: literature review, data analysis, and execution. In the first part of the course, we begin by first identifying and engaging with the empirical puzzles around science and knowledge in global climate governance to formulate a series of questions that emerge from these puzzles. We will engage the literature on global climate governance, climate policy, and knowledge politics, explore different research methods and approaches, including ethnography, content and discourse analysis, and quantitative interpretation of qualitative data. Each student will then conduct a mini-literature review on one of our broader questions and propose a research question, hypothesis (argument), and methodological strategy for carrying out the research. In the second part of the course, we will work to develop data collection and analysis skills. In the third part of the course, we complete the execution of the project, with each student developing and strengthening analytical writing skills by producing an original research paper.

ENVR_POL 390-25 Special Topics: Climate Geoengineering

Climate change is the keystone environmental issue of this generation, and most likely for many generations to come. While the world community and individual countries have formulated policies to address climate change, these policies are almost universally recognized as being wholly inadequate to effectuate the objective of the Paris Agreement to hold global temperatures to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit increases to 1.5ºC. This has led to increasing calls for research and development, and potential deployment, of so-called “climate geoengineering” options, defined as “deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.” This includes "solar radiation management" (SRM) approaches that seek to cool the Earth by deflecting income solar radiation back to space by approaches such as dispersing sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere and brightening clouds, as well as carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches that seek to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, or utilize it for production of products or energy. These options include nature-based solutions, e.g. tree planting or enhancing soil uptake of carbon, direct air capture through the use of filtration systems, and ocean-based approaches.

This course will assess to examine the case for climate geoengineering as a third component to address climate change, alongside mitigation and adaptation, as well as a granular assessment of the potential effectiveness and risks of the most widely discussed approaches. We will also discuss aspects of governance and public engagement in decisionmaking. Moreover, I will also seek to help students develop critical skills of analysis, public speaking, and writing.

ENVR_POL 390-26 Special Topics: Archaeologies of Sustainability and Collapse

This course is a seminar that uses archaeological case studies from the past to interrogate human-environment relationships across time and space, including the present and the future.  The emphasis here will not be on learning environmental archaeology methods.  Instead, we will be focusing on how archaeologists think about key environmental concepts, including climate change, sustainability, and resilience.  We will discuss examples of “failure” and “success” in the long history of human-environment interactions, and see if there’s room for nuance along the way.  We will also use this course as an opportunity to consider how archaeology can contribute to environmental sustainability and environmental justice efforts.  Prior coursework in archaeology is not required to appreciate this class or do well, but would be helpful.  

ENVR_POL 390-27 Special Topics: Parks and Pipeline: Indigenous Environmental Justice

This seminar explores how the relationship between the United States and Indigenous people has shaped the environments, ecosystems, and physical landscapes we live in today. Through engagement with a variety of digital resources including maps and digital media, we will learn how the environment of what is now the United States was managed by Indigenous people before and throughout colonization, how Indigenous people have been impacted by the environmental policies of the United States, and how Indigenous resistance and activism have shaped both the environmental movement in the U.S. as well as contemporary Indigenous political thought. In discussion, we will break down the politics, economics, and ethics of this history, challenging ourselves to think critically about the land we live on and its future. In lieu of a final paper, this course will include a digital, public-facing final assignment.

ENVR_POL 390-29 Special Topics: Hazards, Disasters 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.