Spring 2021

PHYS 016

Gary Bernstein

Tuesday/Thursday 1:30-3:00PM

The developed world's dependence on fossil fuels for energy production has extremely undesirable economic, environmental, and political consequences, and is likely to be mankind's greatest challenge in the 21st century. We describe the physical principles of energy, its production and consumption, and environmental consequences, including the greenhouse effect. We will examine a number of alternative modes of energy generation - fossil fuels, biomass, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear - and study the physical and technological aspects of each, and their societal, environmental and economic impacts over the construction and operational lifetimes. No previous study of physics is assumed. Prerequisites: Algebra and Trigonometry. Target audience: Non-science majors (although science/engineering students are welcome). 

Spring 2021

ENGL 309, COML 308, ANTH 339

Rebecca Macklin

Tuesday / Thursday, 9:00 - 10:30am

Across novels, film, nonfiction and poetry, what does environmental justice look like in a world where the effects of colonialism and  climate change are unevenly distributed?

This course asks students to reflect on narratives that engage in different ways with the question of justice, attending to the ways that environmental crisis intersects with race, gender and sexuality. Engagement with texts by Indigenous North American, African American, Palestinian, and South African writers and creators will highlight diverse ways of relating to land, water and nonhuman animals challenge that challenge capitalist and colonial logics of extraction. Ultimately, through critical and creative modes of enquiry, we will strive to understand how artistic and creative expression might enable us to imagine more equitable futures.

This course is an approved course on the Environmental Humanities Minor and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor.

ej course poster
Spring 2021

CPLN 631-001

Thomas Daniels

Tuesday / Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm

An introduction to the tools and methods for preserving private lands by federal, state, and local government agencies and private non-profit organizations. 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 include: open space and scenic areas, farmland, forestland, battlefields, and natural areas.

This course fulfills the Social Sciences requirement of the EH minor.

Spring 2021

GRMN 151-401, CIMS 152-401, COML 154-401, ENVS 151-401

Simon Richter

Tuesday / Thursday 7:00-8:30pm

The destruction of the world’s forests through wild fires, deforestation, and global heating threatens planetary bio-diversity and may even, as a 2020 shows, trigger civilizational collapse. Can the humanities help us think differently about the forest? At the same time that forests of the world are in crisis, the “rights of nature” movement is making progress in forcing courts to acknowledge the legal “personhood” of forests and other ecosystems. The stories that humans have told and continue to tell about forests are a source for the imaginative and cultural content of that claim. At a time when humans seem unable to curb the destructive practices that place themselves, biodiversity, and forests at risk, the humanities give us access to a record of the complex inter-relationship between forests and humanity. Forest Worlds serves as an introduction to the environmental humanities. The environmental humanities offer a perspective on the climate emergency and the human dimension of climate change that are typically not part of the study of climate science or climate policy. Students receive instruction in the methods of the humanities—cultural analysis and interpretation of literature and film—in relation to texts that illuminate patterns of human behavior, thought, and affect with regard to living in and with nature.

Spring 2021

GRMN 312-301

Simon Richter

Monday / Wednesday 4:00-5:00pm

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

Spring 2021

ARCH 718

Daniel Barber

Wednesday 9:00am-12:00pm

This course discusses the history of thinking about climate in architecture. We confront the geographic and epistemic challenges of climate change and other environmental threats, and reconsider the forces seen to condition the development of the field. We elaborate narrative for the field that focuses on architecture as a device for climatic adaptability. As many of the arguments and innovations in the climate discourse were made through visual means, the images produced by architects will also be a central arena of exploration, in the context of other environmental-mediatic practices. This is a small lecture course, required for students in the Master of Environmental Building Design, undergrads and grads are welcome. 

 

This course fulfills the humanities requirement for the minor.

Spring 2021

ARTH 577/ ARCH 411/711

Daniel Barber

Thursday 1:30-4:30pm

This seminar will address the diverse narratives of ecological thinking in the history of art, architecture, and urban planning during the 20th century. The course will contextualize and interrogate contemporary disciplinary discourses as well as historical assumptions related to ecological thinking in art and architectural history and environmentally-conscious practices. By mapping received trajectories of Eco Art, Ecocritical Art History, and Ecological Histories of Architecture and Urban Planning, the course will work from a subtly hidden foundation of eco-historical knowledge that connects these fields of inquiry, while also critiquing these trajectories and seeking to provide more focused and robust alternatives for knowledge production in the present. It aims to attract students from the School of Arts and Sciences and the Weitzman School of Design in a discussion on the interconnected histories of art and architecture during the 20th century.

 

This course fulfills the humanities requirement for the minor.

Spring 2021

BEPP/OIDD 763

Arthur van Benthem

Tuesday / Thursday 3:00-4:20pm

BEPP/OIDD 763 (Energy Markets and Policy) teaches you how to think about energy markets – ranging from fossil fuels to renewable energy to cap-and-trade systems – from an economist’s perspective and how regulation impacts important large-scale investment decisions in the energy space.

 

This course fulfills the social science requirement for the minor.

Spring 2021

BEPP/OIDD 263

Arthur van Benthem

Tuesday / Thursday 12:00-1:20pm

BEPP/OIDD 263 (Environmental & Energy Economics and Policy) examines environmental and energy markets from an economist’s perspective, ranging from fossil fuels to renewable energy to cap-and-trade systems, and explains how different regulations can provide efficient or counter-productive incentives for firms, consumers and politicians.

 

This course fulfills the social science requirement for the minor.

Spring 2021

ENGL 158/STSC 118

Peter Tarr

TBD (once per week, for approximately 2 hours)

Millions of Americans are science-illiterate; a growing number are "science-deniers." This state of affairs was brought to light as never before in the uneven response to expert advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is much confusion about science and technology as reported in the press. Are GMOs dangerous? Does climate change pose a threat we need to act upon now? Should biologists be permitted to “edit” germline cells? Is data privacy something we should no longer expect? This workshop is for students interested in using popular science writing to broaden public understanding of such questions. The premise is that good sci-tech writing should help the public assess the role of science in society. Each student will produce 4 polished pieces of writing (3 fact-based op-eds of 750 words + a scientist-profile of 1500-2000 words) about scientists and sci-tech subject matter, based on a range of techniques that all journalists must master: researching a topic; identifying potential interviewees; focusing the story; and writing and rewriting story drafts. The object is to show improvement between first and subsequent drafts, with help from others in the workshop, who will provide periodic short critiques. [Note: The profile project will be modified to reflect what is possible under pandemic conditions.] This course is cross-listed in Science, Technology and Society as STSC 118.

 

This course meets both the humanities and public engagement requirements.

Spring 2021