Skip to main content

Spring 2023


Course Section Title Day/Time Instructor
ENVR_POL 211-0 20 Food and Society: An Introduction MW 3:30pm-4:50pm Eliyahu, Miri
ENVR_POL 360-0 1 Animal Law TTh 12:30pm-1:50pm Bruner, Nicolette
ENVR_POL 385-0 20 Archaeologies of Sustainability and Collapse MW 10:30am-11:50am Rosenzweig, Melissa
ENVR_POL 390-0 20 Environmental Justice in Modern South Asia TTh 11am-12:20pm Anusha, Chandana
ENVR_POL 390-0 21 Sociology of Disaster MW 12:30pm-1:50pm Ewert, Rebecca
ENVR_POL 390-0 22 U.S. Environmental Politics MW 9:30am-10:50am Marion Suiseeya, Kimberly
ENVR_POL 390-0 23 International Environmental Politics MW 2pm-3:20pm Marion Suiseeya, Kimberly
ENVR_POL 390-0 24 Media and the Environment MW 10am-11:20am Smith, Jacob
ENVR_POL 390-0 25 Water in Arid Lands: Israel and the Middle East W 4pm-6:50pm Packman, Aaron
ENVR_POL 390-0 26 Hazards, Disasters, and Society TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Hoominfar, Elham
ENVR_POL 390-0 27 Media, Earth and Making a Difference F 2pm-4:30pm Taylor, Sarah
ENVR_POL 390-0 28 Food & Culture TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Logan, Amanda
ENVR_POL 390-0 29 North America MWF 1pm-1:50pm Hudson, John Crandall
ENVR_POL 390-0 30 'The Chicago Way': Urban Spaces and American Liter TTh 3:30pm-4:50pm Savage, William
ENVR_POL 390-0 31 Environmental Anthropology TTh 11am-12:20pm Rosenzweig, Melissa
ENVR_POL 390-0 33 Climate Change Law and Policy MW 9:30am-10:50am Burns, William
ENVR_POL 390-0 34 International Wildlife Law and Policy MW 11am-12:20pm Burns, William
ENVR_POL 390-0 35 Native American Environmental Issues and the Media MF 10am-11:50am Morales Cardenas, Reynaldo


Additional courses EPC students can take for credit toward the minor:
Course Number Title Instructor
BIOL SCI 103 Diversity of Life Gary Galbreath
BIOL SCI 333 Plant-Animal Interaction Paul CaraDonna
BIOL SCI 336 Spring Flora Nyree Zerega
CHEM 201 Chemistry of Nature and Culture Bethel
CHEM 306 Environmental Chemistry Farha
CHEM 393 Green Chemistry Aperece
CIV ENV 203 Earth in the Anthropocene Neal Blair
CIV ENV 308 Environmental Justice Keith Harley
EARTH 101 Earth Science for the 21st Century Jacobsen
EARTH 201 Earth Systems Revealed Jacobsen
ENVR SCI 203 Humans and the Environment Beddows
ENVR SCI 390 Urban Ecology Anderson
ISEN 230 Climate Change and Sustainability: Ethical Dimensions Chad Horne
MECH ENG 380 Thermal Energy Systems Design Manohar Kulkarni



ENVR_POL 211-0-20: Food and Society: An Introduction

What makes food social? What is sociological about eating? How does society shape our relationship with food? These are questions at the center of this course. During the span of this quarter, we will learn about the role of food in society, how social norms as well as culture impact our view of food and review the following topic within food and society: Food inequality, food and sustainability, food and gender and lastly, food culture in the US. We will do so by employing a sociological perspective to food that will help is critically engage with something we do every day - preparing and eating food. This is an introductory level class and does not require prior knowledge in sociology or in knowledge production. By the end of the quarter students will view food as a social and community construct that impacts our lives, well-being, and society. 

ENVR_POL 360-0-1: Animal Law

Animals, both domesticated and wild, inhabit an uneasy space in American law. On one hand, they are legally property—possessions of a human or a state. At the same time, many animals benefit from legal protections that we do not grant to a rock or a robot. How did we develop our patchwork system of protections over animals? How do we determine which animals are protected and which are left as unambiguous "things"? And is there any way to regulate a nonhuman animal as something other than property? In this course, we will survey the legal status of nonhuman animals in US law, both for domesticated (livestock and companionate) and wild animals. Our aim will be to develop a practical, rather than an idealized, understanding of the US's patchwork of regulation regarding how nonhuman animals can and cannot be treated. Readings will include federal and state caselaw and statutes as well as secondary legal and historical analyses. Pre-requisites: Legal_St 206-0 or Poli_Sci 230-0, or instructor approval.

ENVR_POL 385-0-20: 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 current 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 390-0-20: Environmental Justice in Modern South Asia

Environmental Justice in Modern South Asia Environmental Justice in Modern South Asia is an undergraduate class on the unequal experiences and effects of environmental change in South Asia, drawing primarily on case studies from India. Since at least the early 1990s, rapid economic growth, massive infrastructural projects, democratic transformations and global threats of climate change, have characterized the South Asian region. Such political, economic, and ecological processes come together to worsen the lives and livelihoods of marginalized people typically. They tend to intensify their vulnerability to environmental degradation, with historical structures of inclusion and exclusion profoundly shaping how natural resources are accessed and distributed. While the regional focus is on South Asia, at the heart of this course is a broader concern that environmental questions are always questions of equality and social justice. The class will examine how issues of justice and nature are framed within law and official policy debates, within social movements and right-based struggles, as well as within people's moral imaginations and everyday lives. The following questions will guide the class: What environmental problems arose in South Asia through accelerated economic development across the 20th century and early 21st century? Who suffered the most, why, and how were they affected, socially, culturally, and materially? What strategies for justice and sustainability emerged? How is environmental justice understood across activists, policymakers, and ordinary people whose lives are most in danger?

ENVR_POL 390-0-21: Sociology of Disaster

"Sociology of Disaster" Disasters are catastrophic events with human and natural causes and may be gradual or sudden and unexpected. What these events share is their potential to disrupt communities, displace residents, and cause economic, emotional, and social suffering. We know that disasters are on the rise globally and in the US, incurring significant economic and social consequences. The aim of this course is to understand how disasters like pandemics, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, plane crashes, oil spills, and terrorism provide a "strategic research site" where we can examine social life and inequality. In this course, students will be introduced to the idea that disasters are fundamentally social events. We will focus on the social, political, and economic conditions that influence disaster experience and recovery, paying special attention to the ways that social characteristics like race, class, gender, and age structure social vulnerability to risk before, during, and after disasters. In learning to think critically about prevailing media representations of disasters, students will master content analysis methodology by engaging in a term-long research project in which they study one recent disaster event and the associated media coverage. This is an introductory level course without any prerequisites.

ENVR_POL 390-0-22: U.S. Environmental Politics

This course explores the ongoing socio-political challenges of addressing environmental problems. Drawing primarily on research in political science and political ecology, we will analyze the diverse types of social dilemmas that produce environmental problems and the social effects of environmental politics. We focus on contemporary environmental politics to consider emerging frontiers in US environmental politics. We will examine the nature of environmental problems through different theoretical frameworks, including collective action, distributive, and ideational explanations of environmental problems. We will explore core debates in environmental politics that interrogate the role of science, ethics, and economics in shaping environmental policy. We will also consider different approaches and institutions for addressing environmental problems. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to the values conflicts that constitute environmental politics, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous and underrepresented communities. The course is designed to give students an understanding of important conceptual issues in environmental politics.

ENVR_POL 390-0-23: International Environmental Politics

Environmental problems that transcend national borders are amongst the most intractable challenges facing our global community. Collective action problems are pervasive in negotiations and attempts to address, monitor, and enforce international environmental agreements are often weak. Yet, despite these constraints, international actors have designed and secured agreement in a variety of policy arenas, aiming to improve global environmental governance. Through a team-based approach to learning, we will explore how, why, and when the international community is able to overcome collective action problems and effectively address global environmental challenges. The course is divided into three parts. In the first part of the course, we will focus on the problems, institutions, and politics in global environmental governance. The second part of the course focuses on key concepts or themes in global environmental politics that shape our understanding of international cooperation in solving environmental problems, such as science, justice, markets, and security. In the third part of the course, students will participate in an extended negotiation simulation to examine the diverse actors and modes of engagement that define the politics around a particular issue.

ENVR_POL 390-0-24: Media and the Environment

With daily reports of super storms, heat records, species declines, and melting arctic ice, there is a global recognition that we are living in an era of environmental crisis. What role does the media play in that crisis? Media production depends upon the expenditure of large amounts of energy and natural resources. Media devices contain toxic materials and take part in a culture of obsolescence that sends increasing amounts of "high tech trash" to the landfill. Media content has often developed in close connection to advertising, and so has taken part in the creation of an unsustainable consumer culture. Despite marketing rhetoric that characterizes digital technologies as weightless, virtual, and environmentally clean, there are vast energy, resource, and labor costs that undergird the Internet. At the same time, media communication can function to increase awareness about environmental issues, can substitute for other kinds of high-carbon activities like international travel, can foster understanding of the more-than-human world, and can aid in the fight for environmental justice, as well as a host of other social and cultural benefits. How can we make sense of the complicated equation of environmental cost and benefit in media culture? This course will explore intersections of media and environment, considering media about the environment, media in the environment, and media as environment. It will cover a variety of media forms and examine how they shape our perception of the environment and foster environmental action. We will consider topics such as theories of media ecology; definitions of the "Anthropocene" epoch; the materiality of media infrastructure; media's role in raising environmental consciousness and promoting environmental justice; advertising and consumer culture; wildlife documentary; ecocritical aesthetics; environmental history; indigenous media; representations of landscape and soundscape; and animals as media performers. We will assess multiple forms of media (film, television, videogames, podcasting, sound art, infographics, and more) from a range of critical frameworks. We will consider numerous genres of environmental media as well, including apocalyptic eco-disaster narratives, eco-comedies, "toxic" dramas, environmental melodrama, conspiracy thrillers, documentary, and animation.

ENVR_POL 390-0-25: Water in Arid Lands: Israel and the Middle East

This seminar will explore how the availability of water has shaped the development of civilizations and driven innovation in water technologies. The course will investigate historical dimensions of water in Israel and the Middle East, focusing on ancient civilizations and the water infrastructures that are essential tools in aiding the development of water-poor societies. We will use this historical context as a stepping-stone to transition into a more recent history of the Middle East, focusing on the challenges that the nascent state of Israel faced following the influx of millions of immigrants. We will then examine efforts to develop the necessary water resources needed to support the burgeoning population as well as the irrigation projects designed to convert barren desert land into cultivated agriculture. This more recent history will help to set the stage for discussions regarding geopolitical conflicts over land and water that continue to this day. We will evaluate regional climate and water in the context of current and future geopolitical conflicts, reviewing recent advances in water technologies spurred by these limitations as well as the potential development of combined social and technological solutions for long-term water sustainability in Israel and the Middle East. We will end the course with discussions regarding opportunities for global translation of innovative water technologies and water-management solutions developed in Israel to other water-poor regions. In addition, the course will host a symposium featuring international experts. It will explore how water access and control contributes to trans-boundary politics and how recent advances in Israeli water technologies may serve as a model for sustainable water development in other water-poor regions of the world.

ENVR_POL 390-0-26: 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 390-0-27: Media, Earth and Making a Difference

The central question of this course is: What Makes a Difference? Analyzing a variety of works of media addressing environmental themes, including works drawn from advertising and marketing, we will consider different types of environmental messaging and attempts to mobilize public moral engagement. Specifically, we will be looking at strategies for implementing media interventions as moral interventions. Discussion taken up in this class will include evaluating the comparative value of media messaging that emphasizes individual action and personal responsibility, versus messaging that promotes collective action, policy, and structural changes. Students will consider and debate what constitutes authentic "green" messaging versus mere corporate "greenwashing." Throughout, we will ask what kind of media we need in what has been called the "Anthropocene" (a time when humans are now a major geologic force affecting the future of the planet). When motivating public moral engagement in climate crisis, are the solutions being offered those that the planet will actually "register" or "notice" on a global scale? If not, what kinds of "media interventions" do we need to be making and how? Course content will include discussion of media interventions as moral interventions, media activism for social change, eco-media responses by religious communities and organizations, participatory digital culture, and the challenges of addressing environmental crisis in the distraction economy and what has been called the "post-truth era." Students will have the opportunity to learn by doing, proposing and crafting their own environmental media interventions as the course's final project. This course is about taking action and making a true difference. [Format: lecture/seminar/discussion hybrid combination]

ENVR_POL 390-0-28: Food & Culture

All humans have similar nutritional requirements, yet the diversity of food preferences across the world is virtually unlimited. In the first part of this class, we will explore why people choose to eat some foods and not others. The second portion of the class will examine change and continuity in foodways through the lenses of identity and inequality. Rather than being arranged by world region, this class is arranged topically in order to bring different cuisines in conversation with one another. Case studies cover a wide stretch of the world, from Africa to the Americas to Asia and Europe.

ENVR_POL 390-0-29: North America

This course covers the geography of the United States and Canada, beginning with Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada in the first week and finishing with the Pacific Coast and Hawaii in the ninth week. The course material is grouped by regions which offers a comprehensive way of understanding geographical differences from place to place. The natural environment, settlement history, cultural patterns, and economic development are studied in each of the regions as we move from east to west. The course is designed to give a general knowledge of the two countries' geography and to improve one's "mental map" of where things are and why they are there.

ENVR_POL 390-0-30: “The Chicago Way”: Urban Spaces and American Value

Urbanologist Yi Fu Tuan writes, "What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place when we get to know it better and endow it with values." In The Untouchables, Sean Connery tells Kevin Costner, "You want to get Capone? Here's how you get Capone. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. That's the Chicago way." In this class, we will examine "the Chicago way" from many different angles in order to interrogate the values with which various artists have endowed Chicago. We will read in a broad range of media: journalism, poetry, song, fiction, film, and sequential art to see how a sense of Chicago as a place works over time. We will pay close attention to depictions of the construction of American identity, and to the role of the artist and intellectual in the city.

ENVR_POL 390-0-31: Environmental Anthropology

Environmental anthropology is a more recent outgrowth of ecological anthropology, which emerged in the 1960s and 70s as an empirically-based focus on systemic human-environment relationships, especially as they pertain to patterns of social change and adaptation. Environmental anthropology became more prominent in the 1980s, and is typically characterized by research on communities' engagements with contemporary environmental issues. Environmental anthropology has greater commitments to advocacy, critique, and application than ecological anthropology, but as we'll see in this course, the proliferation of "new ecologies" (as opposed to "new environmentalisms") denotes the continued synergy between ecological and environmental anthropologies. This course is divided into two parts. Part I will provide an historical overview of the development of environmental anthropology. We will cover some of the most influential research trends in the field: environmental determinism, cultural ecology, systems ecology, ethnoecology, historical ecology, political ecology, and post-humanist ecology. Part II will then pivot to the application of environmental anthropology knowledge to some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the contemporary world: population pressure, capitalist consumption patterns, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and environmental justice.

ENVR_POL 390-0-33: Climate Change Law and Policy

This course examines the potential role of the law in confronting climate change from an institutional and policy perspective, examining the role of treaties, national legislation (in the United States), sub-national responses and judicial and quasi-judicial fora. Among the topics that will be addressed include the science associated with climate change, the role of key international climate treaty regimes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, national and state and local responses to climate change in the United States, the role of litigation in confronting major emitters, and the potential role of climate geoengineering approaches. It will also seek to help students develop critical skills of analysis of treaty provisions, legislative language, and court decisions, public speaking and cogent writing.

ENVR_POL 390-0-34: International Wildlife Law and Policy

Many scientists and policymakers believe that we are on the cusp of the world's sixth great extinction spasm, driven almost entirely by anthropogenic factors, including habitat destruction, unsustainable trade, the introduction of invasive species, and the looming specter of climate change. This course explores the role of international law in addressing the biodiversity crisis and efforts to protect wildlife species. An ancillary objective is to provide students with a foundation in international law, including skills in analyzing treaty provisions.

ENVR_POL 390-0-35: 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.