In addition to the ENVS courses below, see our courses specific to Environmental Literature and Writing and Environmental Justice

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Reimagining Sustainability: Exploring Holistic Futures (Half Credit)
What does Sustainability mean and how does it apply to our campus and beyond? In this course students will deconstruct the mainstream views of sustainability and the systems that surround it. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and excerpts from climate thinkers such as Adrienne Marie Brown, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson as a framework, we will delve into themes surrounding an evolving paradigm shift. Students will explore how to redefine what sustainability could mean for a holistic future grounded in interdependence and interconnectedness and develop their climate communication and storytelling skillsets. Readings will include Johnson and Wilkinson, eds., All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Jeremy Caradonna, Sustainability: A History. 1.5 hours sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Science of Environmental Systems
We will utilize a systems approach to study selected environmental topics as we learn how to integrate scientific principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. We will also explore intentionally interdisciplinary approaches such as socioecological and regenerative systems frameworks. In lecture, we will take a more global approach as we examine climate change, water, energy, biodiversity, ecosystem services, pollution, and agriculture. We will discover emerging knowledge that is shaping potential solutions and learn how to evaluate such efforts through a systems science lens. In the lab units, we will investigate local manifestations of human-environment relationships through experiential, hands-on, embodied approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Navigating A Toxic World: Environmental Health in Your Daily Life
Have you ever wondered how the environment around you impacts your health? Environmental health scientists study how water, air, food, and the built environment affect wellbeing. In this class, we will explore environmental health topics relevant to our daily lives, including what’s in “BPA Free” water bottles, the science and politics behind your waterproof raincoat and mascara, and whether organic foods are actually better. We will also explore themes of environmental justice because who you are and where you live determine your environment and, in turn, your health. We will engage in lecture, discussion, and a semester-long project on environmental health in your daily life. 3hrs lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Human Geography with GIS
How do geographers study spatial interactions between people and the environment? How does socio-economic status relate to spatial patterns of settlement, social organization, access to resources, and exposure to risks? How can geographic information systems (GIS) help geographers explain these spatial patterns and processes? In this course we will apply GIS to a wide range of topics in human geography including urban, environmental, political, hazards, and health. We will learn how to gather, create, analyze, visualize, and critically interpret geographic data through tutorials, collaborative labs, and independent work that culminate in cartographic layouts of our results. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

DED, SOC

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Course Description

Contemporary African Environmental Works (Writing, Photography and Film)
Concerned with social implications of environmental change, many contemporary African photographers, filmmakers, and authors are challenging the public with social documents that protest ecologically destructive forms of neocolonial development. These works actively complicate what it means to write about and look at those most affected by environmental injustices perpetrated by international and national actors. In this course we will read and view relevant works of African environmental literature and art. Whilst reading, we will ask ourselves the hard questions of what to do with our own complicity when facing the role that the global north plays in the causation of environmental degradation and human suffering. (REC)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

ART, LIT, SAF

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Course Description

Mapping Global Environmental Change
How do geographers use geospatial technologies to observe the Earth’s surface? How do geographers use this information to interpret changes in the global environment across space and time? In this course we will learn how to work with large geographic datasets to explore patterns and changes to the Earth’s surface at local to global scales. Case studies will use remotely-sensed images to study land cover, climate, weather, wildfire, and other topics. Students will learn concepts, methods, and ethics for using a cloud-based geospatial analysis platform to process data, critically interpret workflows and results, and communicate findings with web maps and graphics. 4 hrs. lect./1.5 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

DED

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Course Description

Pleistocene Park, Jurassic World: Fossil Stories of Our Future
What can coprolites tell us about climate change? Will mammoths roam Siberia once more? While paleontology might seem like it’s all about the past, the tools that paleontologists employ are directly relevant to our future. Students will explore scientific topics such as the process of fossilization, how to reconstruct the history of life, and why mass extinctions happen. We will also discuss the ethical dimensions of fossil ownership, de-extinction, science communication, and other societal issues. Ultimately, students will leverage the richness of geologic and evolutionary time to develop a new personal context for interpreting our rapidly changing planet. 3 hrs. lect

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene
We live in a moment defined by environmental change. Yet the causes and consequences of these transformations are profoundly uneven. Across race, class, gender, and other forms of difference, “environmental problems” manifest in radically unequal ways, disproportionately burdening some while benefiting others. In this class we will dwell on this central tension in thinking about present socio-environmental crises and what to do about them, from toxic landscapes and biodiversity loss to global hunger and a warming climate. Certainly, these problems pose urgent, even existential problems that demand intervention. Yet common refrains about ‘how to save the environment’ always come with baggage. They have deep histories and hidden assumptions about causes and solutions, justice and inequality, politics and social change, which we will wrestle with together in this course. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Gender Health Environment
Growing concern for the protection of the environment and human health has led policy makers and scholars to consider ways in which gender, class, and race and other forms of identity mediate human-environment interactions. In this course we will explore how access to, control over, and distribution of resources influence environmental and health outcomes both in terms of social inequities and ecological decline. Specific issues we will cover include: ecofeminism, food security, population, gendered conservation, environmental toxins, climate change, food justice, and the green revolution. We will draw comparisons between different societies around the globe as well as look at dynamics between individuals within a society. The majority of case studies are drawn from Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, however some comparisons are also made with the United States. 3 hrs. lect. (FemSTHM)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

CMP, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Social Class and the Environment
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models. (Not open to students who have taken ENVS/WRPR 1014)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Conservation and Environmental Policy
This course examines conservation and environmental policy in the United States. In order to better understand the current nature of the conservation and environmental policy process, we will begin by tracing the development of past ideas, institutions, and policies related to this policy arena. We will then focus on contemporary conservation and environmental politics and policy making—gridlock in Congress, interest group pressure, the role of the courts and the president, and a move away from national policy making—toward the states, collaboration, and civil society. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Contested Grounds: U.S. Cultures and Environments
Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have created a complex set of meanings pertaining to the environments (wild, pastoral, urban, marine) in which they live. From European-Native contact to the present, Americans’ various identities, cultures, and beliefs about the bio-physical world have shaped the stories they tell about “nature,” stories that sometimes share common ground, but often create conflicting and contested understandings of human-environment relationships. In this course we will investigate these varied and contested stories from multi-disciplinary perspectives in the humanities—history, literature, and religion--and will include attention to race, class, gender, and environmental justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

The N Word: Nature, Revisited
What do voices from American History, both past and present, reveal about the way race, and privilege shape how we understand conservation, climate change and environmental justice today? How does your voice matter in this current moment? We will consider the foundations of environmental ideas and attitudes. In particular, in this current climate where Black Lives Matter and systemic racism are central in our conversations about place and space, we will explore the construction of environmental narratives and how race impacts environmental participation. In addition, we will explore how representations of the natural environment are structurally and culturally racialized within environmental institutions and the media by engaging in “conversations” with environmental icons such as John Muir and other historical and contemporary figures such as Zora Neale Hurston and James Baldwin. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

Early Liberations, Early Reactions
In this course we will examine America in the 1950s to 1970s. It was a place of remarkable ferment—the world your grandparents may have inhabited was shifting in profound ways that both energized and unsettled its politics and culture. Consider this: before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962, ‘environmentalism’ was an obscure term; by the 1970’s there was Earth Day - 10% of the population was in the street protesting; by 1971 the Clean Air Act had passed Congress; by 1972 the reaction from business interests had begun, one of which came to fruition last year when the Supreme Court gutted that same law. The same dynamic played out across other spheres, from civil rights and women’s rights to economic policy. We will examine—mostly through the use of books and films of the period—this extraordinary moment in history and its lessons for the present.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

Justice, Health, and the Environment
Since its beginnings, the environmental justice movement has been closely linked to the field of environmental health, a subdiscipline of public health which investigates how environmental conditions affect peoples’ health. In this course, we will explore how the intersectionality of a person’s identities can influence where a person lives, works, and plays, and, ultimately, the environment surrounding them. In doing so, we will explore the science underlying how justice-health connections have influenced pivotal fights in the environmental justice movement. We will engage in lecture, discussion, and a semester-long project to dive deeply into an environmental justice-health case study of your choice. 3 hrs. lecture.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Encounters With the Wild: Nature, Culture, Poetry (I)
Civilization is often defined against wilderness. The two ideas are not exclusive but mutually constitutive, for wilderness and the wild turn out to be central to notions of the civil and the civilized. Poets have long been preoccupied by the boundaries and connections between these ideas. The word "poetry" itself comes from a Greek word for "craft" or "shaping"; thus, poetry implies the shaping of natural elements into an artful whole. In this course we will examine the literary history of this ongoing dialectic by reading and discussing masterpieces of Western literature, from ancient epics to modern poetry and folklore. As we do so we will rethink the craft of poetry, and the role of the poet, in mapping the wild. Readings will include Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, sections of The Bible and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and poems by Wyatt, Marlowe, Jonson, Donne, Marvell, Pope, and Thompson. (This course counts toward the ENVS Literature focus and the ENVS Environmental Non-Fiction Focus) lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Environmental Health
In this course we will explore the science underlying reciprocal relationships between human health and the environment, with emphasis on health inequities and vulnerable populations. Through the context of the four pillars of environmental health (exposure assessment, epidemiology, toxicology, and risk assessment), we will study common types of chemicals found in consumer products, climate change and air pollution, food and nutrition, and characteristics of the built environment. We will engage in discussions and a semester-long project to apply principles of environmental health as we explore connections between personal actions and local as well as global impacts. (ENVS 112 and BIOL 140 or BIOL 145 or CHEM 103 or CHEM 107) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Poetics and Practice: Engaging Complexity in the Age of Climate Change
Climate change. Race. Technology. Story. In this course, we will engage academia, the arts, and activism to explore the nature of climate change and its impacts, how we show up in this moment, and how “difference” informs our choices. What is our emotional relationship to change and why does that matter? How do we consider different entry points based on experience, identity, and understanding? How do we lean into the complexity (whether talking about identity, technology, or the environment) and move from personal practice to a collective practice? We will explore diverse ideas from artists, activists, writers and thinkers including Ava DuVarney, Robert Sapolsky, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson through lectures, dialogue, writing and story-making. Come ready to play!

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

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Course Description

Human-Environment Relations: Middle East
In this course we will begin with an environmental history of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, asking such questions as: How does politics affect conservation practice? To what extent are formulations of nature constructed socially and politically? Whose rights are affected by protected areas and who decides governance criteria? The objectives of this course include providing students with an understanding of human-environment relations theory by addressing the regional specifics of modern environmental and social histories of these countries. We will look at animals, water, and forests in the literature of NGOs, UNEP reports, media, policy papers, and the academic literature. (One of the following: ENVS 0112, GEOG 0100, IGST 0101, SOAN 0103; Or by approval) (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1523) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

MDE, SOC

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Course Description

Mapping Global Environmental Change (formerly ENVS 0150)
How do geographers use geospatial technologies to observe the Earth’s surface? How do geographers use this information to interpret changes in the global environment across space and time? In this course we will learn how to work with large geographic datasets to explore patterns and changes to the Earth’s surface at local to global scales. Case studies will use remotely-sensed images to study land cover, climate, weather, wildfire, and other topics. Students will learn concepts, methods, and ethics for using a cloud-based geospatial analysis platform to process data, critically interpret workflows and results, and communicate findings with web maps and graphics. 4 hrs. lect./1.5 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

DED

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Course Description

Human Geography with GIS (formerly ENVS 0120)
How do geographers study spatial interactions between people and the environment? How does socio-economic status relate to spatial patterns of settlement, social organization, access to resources, and exposure to risks? How can geographic information systems (GIS) help geographers explain these spatial patterns and processes? In this course we will apply GIS to a wide range of topics in human geography including urban, environmental, political, hazards, and health. We will learn how to gather, create, analyze, visualize, and critically interpret geographic data through tutorials, collaborative labs, and independent work that culminate in cartographic layouts of our results. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Cartography
How do maps work? What are their intended uses and impacts? How do maps differ across cultures and times? In this course we will explore these questions through a series of practical exercises, readings, discussions, and critiques. We will learn fundamental concepts, principles, and patterns for using graphics to depict geographical ideas. We will practice both manual and digital methods for making maps, including GIS and graphics software, and compare frameworks and paradigms for evaluating map style and use. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Placebased Data Analysis (formerly GEOG 0139)
Who migrates from urban areas during a pandemic? How are livelihoods distributed around protected areas in Central Africa? How much does location influence the price of a house? In this course students will discover ways to answer questions like these by introducing fundamentals for generating and analyzing data about people and the places they are connected to. Students will practice constructing datasets, visualizing relationships, formulating and testing hypotheses, modeling outcomes, and conveying results. We will cover descriptive and inferential statistics, focusing on geographic applications and the unique complexities of spatial data. Through cases and problem sets, students will explore complementarities between quantitative and qualitative analysis, emphasizing critical and reflexive approaches. Labs will build proficiency with software packages like R and GeoDa. The course aims to make students more savvy consumers of published work, to produce careful analysts, and to foster a deeper appreciation for the research process. No prior experience with Statistics or Geography is required; the course is designed to introduce students to approaches broadly relevant in Geography and allied social sciences. (DED) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

CW, DED

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Course Description

Approaching Sustainability From the Roots
In this course we will explore root causes of environmental problems through systems and emergent ways of approaching ecology, philosophy, the economy and mainstream media. It begins from the premise that humans are born belonging to animals, plants and the rest of nature - connected to our instincts - but that we are conditioned immediately away from this inter-dependence. We will work to understand how we can overcome this state of being by considering indigenous thinkers and eastern philosophers. We will read Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kate Raworth, George Lakoff, Gary Snyder, Peter Senge, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Wes Jackson and others. The texts will be complemented by an exploration of current and emergent practices in the private sector through partnerships with non-profits and government agencies. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

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Course Description

Theories of Change
Clashing perspectives regarding how to envision and enact “social change” have long riven the environmental movement, animating deep disagreement among activists. In this seminar we will explore these debates by (1) analyzing various efforts aimed at “changing the world” and (2) troubleshooting their different methods, strategies, and underlying beliefs and assumptions about how they think social change “works.” Through close analysis of these initiatives, we will examine how activists, organizers, and other self-described practitioners of social change conceive of social change: what it is, what it looks like, how it happens, and how to do it. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

The Perennial Turn
The work of repairing Earth—response-ably attending to life-nourishing human and more-than-human interrelationships—starts at scales of self and community. Power dynamics, thoughtways, humans and planet Earth changed when our ancestors began annually disrupting soil ecosystems and storing surplus food. We explore notions of perennial thinking and action through readings, direct experience, and work with local partners at the forefront of the perennial turn. Combining ancient and contemporary knowledges in science, history, philosophy, spirituality, and more, we investigate thinking more like a prairie than a plow. How might we regrow deep roots and craft ways that align with current understandings of Universe, Earth, life? In the Spring 2023 semester we will focus on healing and food systems.3 hrs. sem.,

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

PHL

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Course Description

From Social Justice to Environmental Justice
We will examine environmental justice cases in the context of the social justice movements that have preceded them, paying particular attention to how these earlier movements have influenced the challenges and tactics of environmental justice today. Drawing on the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and others, we will explore the roles race, class, gender, and religion have played in confronting poverty, racism, and violence. We will then investigate contemporary environmental justice movements, using case studies to explore how these movements are rooted in, as well as distinct from, social justice movements of earlier periods (ENVS 0215 or any 100 or 200 level course in Religion or by permission) (not open to students who have taken ENVS 1028)

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, NOR, PHL

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Course Description

Water: From Fish to PFAS
In this team-taught course we will focus on water in the U.S. from the perspectives of natural science and policy. Three general themes, two of which map onto major environmental laws, will guide the course: clean water (Clean Water Act), drinking water (Safe Drinking Water Act), and dams. We will examine questions of human / non-human equity concerns throughout the course, from pollutants (e.g., PFAS and lead) to aquatic ecosystem health. Students will engage in major experiential, societally-connected projects. A major goal of the course will be to demonstrate the interplay of different ways of knowing. (ENVS 0211 or ENVS 0112 or GEOL 0255) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

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Course Description

Global Political Ecology
From global land grabs and agrarian revolutionary movements to clashes over energy infrastructure and the establishment of protected areas, today’s “environmental issues” are suffused with political relations and deeply entangled with the historical formations of capitalism, colonialism, the state, and science. In this seminar we will analyze how “social” questions of power, political economy, and social struggle, pervade the “natural” (and vice versa). Such questions are invariably messy and full of surprises, confounding reduction to universal theories extended from afar. Often, they require a close in-the-weeds look. That is what this class will invite you to do. The field of political ecology offers a rich repertoire of approaches for developing empirically grounded, historically contextualized, and theoretically nuanced forms of analysis that grapple with the situated complexities of resource and environmental issues. (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Religion, Ecology and Justice
In this class we will consider the relationship between religion and ecology in some of the world’s great wisdom traditions, particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. Our approach will be comparative and attentive to “big ideas” about human-nature relationships. How do religious traditions perpetuate ideas of the natural world that are sometimes positive and protective and sometimes apathetic or destructive? Exploring such topics as stewardship, sacred landscapes, and the interdependence of living beings, we will consider both past and present, including examining how religious identity has fueled and shaped religiously-based environmental justice activism today.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, PHL

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Course Description

Community-Engaged Environmental Studies Practicum
In this course students work in small groups with one of a variety of partners and organizations to complete a semester-long, community-engaged project. Project themes vary by term and typically focus on local and regional environmental issues that have broader application. Projects rely on students’ creativity, interdisciplinary perspectives, skills, and knowledge developed through their previous work. The project is guided by a faculty member and carried out with a high degree of independence by the students. Students will prepare for and direct their project work through readings and discussion, independent research, collaboration with project partners, and consultation with external experts. The course may also include workshops focused on developing key skills (e.g., interviewing, public speaking, video editing). The project culminates in a public presentation of students’ final products, which may various forms such as written reports, policy white papers, podcasts, or outreach materials. (Open to Seniors) (ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0251 [formerly GEOG 0150] or GEOG 0261 [formerly GEOG 0120] or GEOG 0271) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Transnational Feminist Conservation
In this course we explore a transnational feminist approach to conservation. We will start by delving into the masculinist history of conservation, and reviewing a set of theories and vocabularies focused on gender, as well as race, class, and ability as key sites of power that effect both human and non-human bodies and ecological processes, from coral reefs to the arctic tundra. We will compare case studies across multiple regions globally on topics such as conservation via population control, feminist food, community-based conservation, and feminist-indigenous approaches to inquiry. We will debate feminist science, examining the conflicting epistemic foundations of objective versus situated knowledge. We will hone our writing skills in a variety of genres including blogs, academic essays, poems, and zines. (ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215 or ENVS/GSFS 209) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, CW, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

The New West: From Reagan to Burning Man
The U.S. West since 1976 has been transformed by economic, social, political, and environmental forces. Immigration, amenity tourism, climate change, globalization, technology, political change, and economic booms and busts have remade a region once defined by isolated rural communities, extractive industries, “natural landscapes,” and filmmakers’ imaginations. In this course we will draw from history and politics to make sense of conflicts over public lands, water, fire, energy, Native sovereignty, racial inequality, rural gentrification, urbanization, and sprawl. Short papers will culminate in a historical policy brief on current challenges in the West. (ENVS 0211 or ENVS 0215 or HIST 0216) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, NOR

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Course Description

Just Environmentalisms
In this course we will draw on theories of social and political change to understand the systematic causes of inequality and environmental issues around the world. We will look at both proximate as well as ultimate drivers of socio-environmental problems focusing on the relations between production and consumption, representation and regulation, rights and responsibilities, and information and norms. We will also study prospective solutions including political movements that resist environmental enclosures on land and at sea. More specifically, we will focus on examples of transnational movements fighting for socio-ecological justice, and how individuals and collectives within these movements navigate their socio-cultural and political economic differences while working in solidarity together. 3 hrs. seminar

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Global Political Ecology
From global land grabs and agrarian revolutionary movements to clashes over energy infrastructure and the establishment of protected areas, today’s “environmental issues” are suffused with political relations and deeply entangled with the historical formations of capitalism, colonialism, the state, and science. In this seminar we will analyze how “social” questions of power, political economy, and social struggle, pervade the “natural” (and vice versa). Such questions are invariably messy and full of surprises, confounding reduction to universal theories extended from afar. Often, they require a close in-the-weeds look. That is what this class will invite you to do. The field of political ecology offers a rich repertoire of approaches for developing empirically grounded, historically contextualized, and theoretically nuanced forms of analysis that grapple with the situated complexities of resource and environmental issues. (formerly ENVS 0385) (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Integrated Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment and that meaningfully integrates perspectives, methodologies, and/or approaches from multiple academic divisions (e.g., humanities/arts, natural sciences, social sciences). Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and approval of the Environmental Studies Program. The project, carried out under the co-supervision of two faculty advisors from different academic divisions of whom at least one is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Open to Senior ENVS majors) (Approval Only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Kingdom Community Wind - Perspectives On Renewable Energy Development
In this course we will study Vermont renewable energy development goals, solar and wind turbine siting controversies, net metering rules, and Renewable Energy Credit policies. We will compare the Lowell, Vermont Kingdom Community Wind Project to the Cape Wind Project in Massachusetts, considering the diverse perspectives of developers, opponents, and regulators. Using public materials, we will analyze the issues and arguments surrounding large renewable (solar/wind) energy development. We will ask: How should renewable energy projects be sited? How have public discussions and projects in Massachusetts and California played out differently from those in Vermont? Are Vermont’s public policy tradeoffs different from those faced elsewhere? This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

African Environmental Writing, Photography, and Film
Concerned with social implications of environmental change, a burgeoning number of contemporary African photographers, filmmakers, and authors are challenging the public with social documents that protest ecologically destructive forms of neocolonial development. These works actively resist oppression, abuse, and conflagration of both the black body and the environment. Subverting the neocolonialist rhetoric and gaze, these creative practitioners complicate what it means to write about and look at those most affected by environmental injustices perpetrated by international and national actors. In this course we will view relevant photographs and films and read African environmental literature as sources of artistic and activist inspiration. Whilst reading, we will ask ourselves the hard questions of what to do with our own complicity when facing the role that the global north plays in the causation of environmental degradation and human suffering. Students will be expected to reflect upon how best to regard the pain of others in the Anthropocene, as well as upon how culture influences creative depictions of the Anthropocene. Seminar papers will address questions that arise from analyzing particular works. This course counts as a Humanities cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

AAL, LIT, SAF, WTR

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Course Description

The Politics of Hope
We are frequently told we must “never give up hope.” But what is at stake in hoping? In this course we will interrogate this ubiquitous injunction to hope. We will analyze contemporary debates about the possibility of hope in the face of uncertain planetary futures to consider the affective politics of how, in what ways, toward what ends, and why we hope. At what point does hope become misplaced, turning into a “cruel optimism”? How is hope mobilized politically? How are different futurities distributed among different groups? And what might happen if we let go of commonly-held yet narrowly-conceived hopes and tried imagining something different? this course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Vermont’s Farms, Food an Future
What crops make sense to grow in Vermont? Where is the best land to farm? Who owns land and capital, and who grows the food? What systems and interests shape the answers to these questions? In this course we will examine Vermont agriculture through lenses of climate change, racial equity, and socioeconomic viability. Through reading, discussion, and meeting with food system practitioners, students will understand intersecting and conflicting perspectives related to agriculture and land use. The final project will be a proposed policy, program or enterprise that would contribute to the agricultural future each student believes in for Vermont. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Jeannie Bartlett ‘15 grows fruit trees in Plainfield, Vermont. From 2016 through 2021 she managed the Franklin County Conservation District, where she developed and implemented programs to assist farmers with stewardship of soil and water in northwest Vermont. She serves on the board of Rural Vermont and is an active member of the VT Young Farmers Coalition. She studied Conservation Biology at Middlebury./

Terms Taught

Winter 2022, Winter 2023, Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Walking Body, Walking Mind: Philosophy on the Hoof
Walking upright with a bipedal gait emerged in early humans between 1.9 and 3.7 million years ago. For the last few millennia and across many cultures and traditions walking has accompanied and inspired human endeavors of the mind and spirit. In this course we will engage the literatures of walking in the humanities and natural/social sciences by reading and discussing excerpts from classic “walking” texts in philosophy, religion, and eco-spirituality, while also experiencing different modes of walking, including its social justice potential in resistance and reconciliation. Suitable footwear and clothing for walking/hiking in January in Vermont required. This course counts as a humanities cognate for Environmental Studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

PHL, WTR

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Course Description

Contemplative Practice and Social Change
What is the relationship between contemplative practice and social transformation? We will examine the lives and works of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Joanna Macy. Each of these transformational reformers understood their work to be deeply rooted in spiritual practices of various kinds, reflecting— but often going beyond— the traditions of Hinduism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Buddhism. In each case, our intention will be to investigate closely the relationship between spiritual identity and social reform. We will also develop our own (non-religious) community of practice in order to gain an embodied understanding of the questions we will pursue. (Pass/Fail) this course counts as a humanities cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

CMP, PHL, WTR

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Course Description

Writing Place: Class and Conservation in the American South
In this course we will examine non-traditional conservationists and conservation writing in the American South, with a focus on Georgia and South Carolina. We will read Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood; work about and by Carol Ruckduschel; John McPhee's Encounters with the Archdruid; work about MaVynee Betsch; and J. Drew Lanham's Home Place. We'll engage virtually with practicing southern conservationists, look for the ways scientists and self-taught scientists are leaning into underrepresented spaces, and, through our own writing, investigate meaningful and rich connections to place. This course counts as a humanities cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

A Mile in Your Shoes: Confronting the Promise and Peril of Pedestrian Experiences
Walkability has entered the urban planning lexicon as interest in compact and mixed-use development has renewed and the recognition of built environment impacts on public health has grown. Meanwhile, pedestrian fatalities increased 45% between 2010 and 2019, and exposures to harmful exhaust, dangerous crossings, and traffic enforcement violence vary across sociodemographic groups. In this course, we will confront the dissonance between encouraging walking for sustainability and health and recognizing fears engendered by pedestrian exposure to harm, especially for historically disadvantaged communities. We will also gain practical experience with tools to measure disparities, including walk audits, sidewalk inventories, and pollution measurements. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

The Spirit(s) of Trees
What, or who, is a tree? In this course, we will probe central questions in the field of “religion and ecology” using human-tree relationships as our interpretive lens. Emerging scientific views of trees as communicators and climate-regulators evoke ancient, non-utilitarian views of trees. In some Hindu contexts, trees are protected as abodes of the gods, or as divinities themselves. In Thailand, climate activists ordain trees as Buddhist monks. Christian and Jewish authors are reinterpreting the biblical “Tree of Life” in terms of ecological awareness and as solace for climate grief. Drawing on the work of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Christian scholars, our task will be to get to know trees— and thus, diverse eco-spiritual cultures— in a complex, multireligious way. This course counts as a humanities cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

CMP, PHL, WTR

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Course Description

Contested Ecologies and Boundaries in Action: Invasive, Native, and Heritage Species
In this course, students will examine ideas about invasive species, delving into the complex, contested relationships between control over nature and differing human perspectives on natural and national landscapes. We will read natural and social science literature and policies that govern land management. Students will analyze “invasive,” "native," and "heritage" designations, examine how these beliefs drive landscape restoration projects, and consider tradeoffs between “managing against” and “managing for.” Through field trips, conversations with conservation practitioners, and case studies, students will gain an applied understanding of the interplay between human beliefs and control over land. ENVS majors with a focus in the humanities/arts or natural sciences may count this course as a cognate requirement for the major.

Katie Michels ‘14.5 is a Masters of Environmental Science and MBA candidate at the Yale School of the Environment and Yale School of Management. She studied Geography and Environmental Studies at Middlebury, and is interested in land conservation and land stewardship, especially on working lands.

Jesse Callahan Bryant is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the Yale School of the Environment. His research interests revolve around the intersection of conservative thought and the environment, with a particular emphasis on the emergence of ecofascism. Specifically, he explores the complex relationship between conservative ideology and environmentalism, and how far-right movements are currently utilizing environmental discourse to advance their agendas./

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

SCI, WTR

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Course Description

What on Earth is Environmental Studies Teaching You?
The task of teaching about contemporary ecological crises, from global warming to global biodiversity loss, presents a vital educational challenge. Instructors across diverse subdisciplines of environmental studies (ES) are now revisiting fundamental questions concerning what to teach, how to teach, and even why to teach as their traditional subject matter transforms around them. In this course, we will investigate how ES educators and ES students are together grappling with the implications of what they are studying. Teams of students will carry out collaborative research projects analyzing these questions in the context of Middlebury’s very own ES program. Through direct engagements with current and past ES students and faculty, comparisons with other institutions, and targeted course readings exploring key facets of this bewildering “learning challenge,” we will begin to imagine what an education truly proportionate to the radical implications of this fateful planetary moment might look like.

Terms Taught

Winter 2025

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Climate Change and the Markets of Tomorrow
In this course, we will examine how new technologies and capitalism can be leveraged to fight climate change with a particular focus on green energy, plant-based meats, and electric vehicles. We analyze how these markets are evolving and what public policies can do to help them advance more quickly. The course takes an intentionally international approach and should be especially interesting to IPEC, PSCI, and ENVS majors. This course counts as a social science cognate for ENVS majors with foci in the natural sciences, humanities, or arts./

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Data Science Across Disciplines
In this course, we will gain exposure to the entire data science pipeline—obtaining and cleaning large and messy data sets, exploring these data and creating engaging visualizations, and communicating insights from the data in a meaningful manner. During morning sessions, we will learn the tools and techniques required to explore new and exciting data sets. During afternoon sessions, students will work in small groups with one of several faculty members on domain-specific research projects in Sociology, Neuroscience, Animation, Art History, or Environmental Science. This course will utilize the R programming language. No prior experience with R is necessary.
ENVS: Students will engage in research within environmental health science—the study of reciprocal relationships between human health and the environment. High-quality data and the skills to make sense of these data are key to studying environmental health across diverse spatial scales, from individual cells through human populations. In this course, we will explore common types of data and analytical tools used to answer environmental health questions and inform policy.
FMMC: Students will explore how to make a series of consequential decisions about how to present data and how to make it clear, impactful, emotional or compelling. In this hands-on course we will use a wide range of new and old art making materials to craft artistic visual representations of data that educate, entertain, and persuade an audience with the fundamentals of data science as our starting point.
NSCI/MATH: Students will use the tools of data science to explore quantitative approaches to understanding and visualizing neural data. The types of neural data that we will study consists of electrical activity (voltage and/or spike trains) measured from individual neurons and can be used to understand how neurons respond to and process different stimuli (e.g., visual or auditory cues). Specifically, we will use this neural data from several regions of the brain to make predictions about neuron connectivity and information flow within and across brain regions.
SOCI: Students will use the tools of data science to examine how experiences in college are associated with social and economic mobility after college. Participants will combine sources of "big data" with survey research to produce visualizations and exploratory analyses that consider the importance of higher education for shaping life chances.
HARC: Students will use the tools of data science to create interactive visualizations of the Dutch textile trade in the early eighteenth century. These visualizations will enable users to make connections between global trade patterns and representations of textiles in paintings, prints, and drawings.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

DED, SCI, WTR

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Course Description

Comparative Environmental Politics
How do different countries deal with similar environmental issues? Using the interdisciplinary framework provided by Coupled Human and Natural Systems theory we will learn to compare different human systems with similar biophysical environments while seeking to understand the complex drivers that shape their climate change adaptation strategies. Drawing from political science, anthropology, economics, sociology and landscape and fire ecology we will build a theoretical framework that we will then apply to the cases of California,

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, SOC

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Course Description

Culturally Powered Ecosystems of the World
Escape now from the degradationist myth. Preindustrial civilizations forged ecosystems that continue to yield sustainability to this day. Drawing from examples of silvo-agro-pastoralist Coupled Human and Natural Systems in California, Spain, Argentina, Kenya and Bhutan where the past is not even past we examine the complex feedback loops existing between traditional ecological knowledge, political and economic development, social change and the lasting legacy effects of human interventions in ecosystems. Challenging Enlightenment era cultural framings of linearity and progress these culturally powered ecosystems offer us insights into how to build long lasting landscape resilience with important implications for climate change adaptation. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

EUR, SOC, WTR

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