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Fall 2022

Fall 2022 COURSE Schedule

Course Title Day/Time Instructor
ENVR_POL 212-0-20 Environment and Society MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Rebecca Ewert
ENVR_POL 309-0-20 American Environmental History TTh 9:30am-10:50am Keith Woodhouse
ENVR_POL 384-0-20 Political Ecology MW 11am-12:20pm Melissa Rosenzweig
ENVR_POL 390-0-20 Contemporary Issues in Energy MW 11am-12:20pm William Burns
ENVR_POL 390-0-21 Cultural Res Mgmt and Evn Pol MW 12:30pm-1:50pm Eli Suzukovich III
ENVR_POL 390-0-22 International Environmental Law and Policy MW 2pm-3:20pm William Burns
ENVR_POL 390-0-23 Land, Identity and the Sacred MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Eli Suzukovich III
ENVR_POL 390-0-24 Native American Environmental Issues and the Media TTh 10:30am-12:20pm Patricia Loew
ENVR_POL 390-0-25 Nature and Empire TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Lydia Barnett
ENVR_POL 390-0-26 Environmental Justice MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Elham Hoominfar
ENVR_POL 390-0-27 Hazards, Disasters & Society MW 9:30am-10:50am Elham Hoominfar
ENVR_POL 390-0-28 Biocultural Perspectives on Water Insecurity TTh 11am-12:20pm Sera Young
ART_HIST 368-0-1 Art & the Place of Nature in Modernity TTh 11am-12:20pm Rebecca Zorach


fall 2022 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 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


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: Native American Environmental Issues and the Media

This course introduces you to Native American environmental issues, such as treaty-based hunting, fishing, and gathering rights; air and water quality issues; mining; land-to-trust issues; and sacred sites with a particular emphasis on the First Nations in the Great Lakes region. In addition, it will also provide connections to corresponding international Indigenous environmental issues, and the responses and debates across science research, news and international policy contexts. The seminar focuses on how the media cover Native American environmental issues and how that coverage contributes to the formation of public opinion and public policy. The seminar provides the critical tools to analyze current environmental struggles; to understand the controversies within a cultural context; and to make informed decisions about issues that affect us all. The central case study of the seminar will be water and fishing rights for Indigenous Peoples, and how they are part of larger land rights issues. Over the past two decades the issue of tribal sovereignty has become front-page news. From major confrontations over pipelines affecting Tribal Reservations mobilizing Indigenous people and their allies around the world, to battles over whaling rights and mining of tar sands, to sulfide mining adjacent to Tribal Reservations, to disputed land claims in the Northeast and battles in the West over water, fracking, and grazing, the rights of Native governments to exercise their sovereignty remains in the new century at the cultural, political, and legal core of American contemporary history. These and many more issues—air and water quality standards, treaty rights, and land-into-trust—have contributed to tension between Native and non-Native communities, and have become the subject of news reports, in both mainstream and tribal media. The goals of this seminar are to understand how tribal sovereignty and treaty rights inform contemporary environmental issues; to identify source selection, bias, and framing in mainstream and tribal media accounts; to analyze and critique mainstream and tribal media accounts for accuracy and bias; and finally gain intercultural knowledge and competence through a final project that explores the intersection of Native environmental issues and the media.

ENVR_POL 390-0-25: Nature and Empire

Nature and Empire The arrival of European colonizing powers in the Americas in the wake of Columbus's voyages marked a new and often disastrous chapter in global environmental history. American nations and environments shaped the course of European colonial settlement at the same time as colonial expansion profoundly changed the flora, fauna, disease ecology, and patterns of labor and land use prevailing across the Americas. This seminar explores the entangled histories of imperial and environmental history in the colonial Atlantic world. Topics will include the so-called Columbian Exchange and the dispossession of indigenous lands; the transatlantic slave trade and the rise of the plantation system; the intersections of African, European, and Indigenous American agricultural practices; European theories of race and climate; colonial bioprospecting; and the role of disease in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions. We will also consider the imperial origins of modern conservationism and of key environmental concepts such as ‘wilderness' and 'native' and 'invasive' species.

ENVR_POL 390-0-26: 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 390-0-27: 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.

ENVR_POL 390-0-28: Biocultural Perspectives on Water Insecurity

The first objective of this course is to introduce students to the many ways that water impacts humans around the world. We will discuss what the international recommendations for safely managed water are and the health and social consequences of water insecurity. The second objective is to explore why there is such variety in water insecurity worldwide. Influences on access to water will be broadly considered; we will draw on literature in global health, ethnography, the life sciences, and public policy. These discussions will be guided by the socio-ecological framework, in which dimensions ranging from the individual to the geopolitical are considered. The third objective is to develop critical thinking and writing abilities to reflect on the multi-dimensional causes and consequences of water insecurity and the appropriateness of potential solutions. This will be accomplished through readings and documentaries that we have lovingly selected, writing weekly reflection pieces, preparing a short in-class presentation on recent media, and writing an OpEd.

ART_HIST 368-0-1: Art & the Place of Nature in Modernity

How did we get into this mess? The idea that human beings are separate from something called "nature" which they can and should dominate and control is one of the most pervasive ideas in modern Western culture—meaning European and North American culture since the end of the Middle Ages. Over hundreds of years, alongside and intertwining with the development of capitalism and colonialism (for the "indigenous" was often placed on the side of nature), Western culture produced artificial divisions between human and nonhuman nature. Artists and scientists alike aspired to equal nature's powers and eventually exploit and "conquer" it—or "her," since "Nature" has often been gendered female—with the tools of technology. How did this come about? How did nature push back? This course attempts an alternative, ecological history of Western art from the perspective of how art has depicted, defined, constructed, and reckoned with nature. What is nature and the natural? How do nature and art mutually define one another? What does it mean when art rejects nature? Without attempting to be comprehensive, the course will work through carefully selected case studies—some of them student-generated—in landscape, still life, and figure painting; scientific illustration; garden and landscape design; and photography. We will read accessible scholarship and primary texts in art theory and natural science. We will try (and undoubtedly not fully succeed) to come to terms with how this history is reflected in contemporary ecological and epidemiological crises. The course will be taught as a combination of lecture, discussion, and student presentations. It does not require prior knowledge but does hope for your attentive engagement and intellectual curiosity. Written work includes short papers, take-home midterm, and a an 8-10pp final paper.