Fall 2022

GRMN 1160

Bethany Wiggin

TR 1:45-3:14 PM

This seminar explores how the humanities can contribute to discussions of sustainability. We begin by investigating the contested term itself, paying close attention to critics and activists who deplore the very idea that we should try to sustain our, in their eyes, dystopian present, one marked by environmental catastrophe as well as by an assault on the educational ideals long embodied in the humanities. We then turn to classic humanist texts on utopia, beginning with More's fictive island of 1517. The "origins of environmentalism" lie in such depictions of island edens (Richard Grove), and our course proceeds to analyze classic utopian tests from American, English, and German literatures. Readings extend to utopian visions from Europe and America of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as literary and visual texts that deal with contemporary nuclear and flood catastrophes. Authors include: Bill McKibben, Jill Kerr Conway, Christopher Newfield, Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Karl Marx, Henry David Thoreau, Robert Owens, William Morris, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ayn Rand, Christa Wolf, and others.

Cross-listed: STSC 1160, ENVS 1050, ENGL 1579, COML 1160

Fall 2022

FNAR 2160 / FNAR 5032

Brent Wahl

Friday, 10:15AM-1:15PM

Starting with the representation of landscape in painting in the early 1800s, the course will then move through Pictorialism and the Modernist movement in photography. Revisiting the later half of the 20th century, we will begin to consider the shifting practices of landscape and the ways it has been photographically depicted up to the present. Collaborating with the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, students will begin their photographic exploration with the work of Andrea Wyeth and the landscape of the Brandywine Valley. As we consider Wyeth, the images of James Welling will also be introduced. Credited for pioneering new forms of representation in photography in the 1970s, Welling also revisited the work of Wyeth from 2010-2015, and committed to a fresh (and challenging) look at tradition.

Fall 2022

ANTH 3240

Chantel White

Tuesday/Thursday, 1:45 - 4:45PM

Interactions between humans and the living landscape around us have played - and continue to play - a fundamental role in shaping our worldview. This course is designed to introduce students to the diverse ways in which humans interact with plants. We will focus on the integration of ethnographic information and archaeological case studies in order to understand the range of interactions between humans and plants, as well as how plants and people have profoundly changed one another. Topics will include the origins of agriculture; cooking and plant processing; human health and the world of ethnomedicine; and poisonous and psychoactive plants. We will examine ancient plant material firsthand at the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) and will handle botanical ecofacts from the Penn Museum's collections. Students will also carry out a substantial research project focused on an archaeological culture and plant species of their own interest.

Fall 2022

PHIL 1343

Monday/Wednesday, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

In this course we will investigate some of the ethical issues that arise from our relationship with the environment. Topics may include : What are our responsibilities toward the environment, as individuals and as members of institutions? How do our responsibilities toward the environment relate to other ethical considerations? Do non-human animals/species/ecosystems have intrinsic value? What should conservationists conserve?

Fall 2022

ENGL 3501

Rachel Zolf

Tuesday 1:45-4:45 PM

This course will explore one of the fundamental questions we face as humans: how do we bear witness to ourselves and to the world? How do we live and write with a sense of response-ability to one another? How does our writing grapple with traumatic histories that continue to shape our world and who we are in it? The very word “witnessing” contains a conundrum within it: it means both to give testimony, such as in a court of law, and to bear witness to something beyond understanding. In this class, we will explore both senses of the term “witness” as we study work by writers such as Harriet Jacobs, Paul Celan, M. NourbeSe Philip, Bhanu Kapil, Layli Long Soldier, Claudia Rankine, Juliana Spahr, and others that wrestles with how to be a witness to oneself and others during a time of ongoing war, colonialism, racism, climate change, and other disasters. Students are welcome in this class no matter what stage you are at with writing, and whether you write poetry or prose or plays or make other kinds of art. Regardless of your experience, in this class you’ll be considered an “author,” which in its definition also means a “witness.” We will examine and question what authorship can do in the world, and we will analyze and explore the fine lines among being a witness, a bystander, a participant, a spectator, and an ally. In this class you will critically analyze and write responses to class readings; you’ll do writing exercises related to the work we read; and you’ll complete (and be workshopped on) a portfolio of creative writing (and/or art) that bears witness to events that matter to you. This class also has an optional Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) component for students who choose to do community work during the semester (organized through the Netter Center or on your own) and write about that community work for this class.

This course fulfills Sector IV: Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences of the College's General Education Curriculum


Fall 2022

CPLN 6310

Tom Daniels

Tuesday, 5:15 - 8:15 PM

Land preservation is one of the most powerful, yet least understood planning tools for managing growth and protecting the environment. This course provides an introduction to the tools and methods for preserving private lands by government agencies and private non-profit organizations (e.g., land trusts). Topics include purchase and donation of development rights (also known as conservation easements), transfer of development rights, land acquisition, limited development, and the preservation of urban greenways, trails, and parks. Preservation examples analyzed: open space and scenic areas, farmland, forestland, battlefields, and natural areas.

Fall 2022

ENVS 1615

Richard Pepino

Tuesday/Thursday 10:15-11:45 AM

Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, impaired hearing, behavioral problems, and at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death. Children up to the age of six are especially at risk because of their developing systems; they often ingest lead chips and dust while playing in their home and yards. In ENVS 404, Penn undergraduates learn about the epidemiology of lead poisoning, the pathways of exposure, and methods for community outreach and education. Penn students collaborate with middle school and high school teachers in West Philadelphia to engage middle school children in exercises that apply environmental research relating to lead poisoning to their homes and neighborhoods.

This course fulfills the EH minor Public Engagement Requirement. See the full minor requirements list.

Fall 2022

BIOL 1640

Daniel Janzen

Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Intensive exposure to current issues and solutions in contemporary human interactions with the environment. Global in scope, but focused on case histories. Emphasis on providing biological and sociological background for a given major environment-human interaction, and state-of-the-art suggested solutions.

This course fulfills the EH Minor Requirement in Natural Science Approaches to Environmental Inquiry. See the full minor requirements list.

Fall 2022

BIOL 2610

Erol Akcay

Brent Helliker

Monday/Wednesday 12:00 - 1:30 PM

The study of living organisms in their natural environment, spanning the ecological physiology of individuals, the structure of populations, and interactions among species, including the organization of communities and ecosystem function.

This course fulfills the EH Minor Requirement in Natural Science Approaches to Environmental Inquiry. See the full minor requirements list.

Fall 2022

GRMN 3212

Simon Richter

Tuesday/ Thursday 3:30-5:00pm

Many regard Germany as a leader in the transition to renewable energy. The Green Party has been a significant player in federal and local politics since 1981. The current Austrian chancellor is a member of the Green Party. Soon, Germany will shutter its last nuclear reactor. Work on the coal phase-out has already begun. Germans overwhelmingly support aggressive climate action by their government. How can we explain this? In this course, we will become familiar with current climate, environmental, and energy policy and practice in Germany and Austria, but we will also delve into the cultural history of German environmentalism. We'll learn about the origin of the German concept of sustainability in early 18th-century forestry; the role of the forest in Romanticism; the origin of the concepts of ecology and environment in the work of Ernst Haeckel and Jacob von Uexkull; the role of the mountains in Austrian environmental thinking; Nazi-era environmentalism; "Waldsterben," the anti-nuke movement and the rise of the Green Party; the "Energiewende"; and the impact of the uprising to protect the Hambacher Forest on the coal phase-out. We'll make use of readings from policy, history, and literature, and screen feature and documentary films. Pre-req: Taught in German, Prereq: GRMN 203

Fall 2022