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

Campus Sustainability Practicum (Half Credit)
What is Sustainability and how does it apply to our campus and beyond? In this course students
working as interns at the Franklin Environmental Center during the semester will build a framework for
critical analysis of sustainability in theory and practice as they engage campus-related projects.
Meeting once a week for a full term, students will investigate the history, context, and meaning of
sustainability both on college campuses and in national and international contexts. Readings will
address both broad context and specific issues defined by students’ concurrent projects. Readings will
include Johnson and Wilkinson, eds., All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate
Crisis
and Jeremy Caradonna, Sustainability: A History. By permission. 1.5 hours sem. (Half Credit)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

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Course Description

Natural Science and the Environment
We will explore in detail a series of current environmental issues in order to learn how principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, as well as interdisciplinary scientific approaches, help us to identify and understand challenges to environmental sustainability. In lecture, we will examine global environmental issues, including climate change, water and energy resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services, human population growth, and world food production, as well as the application of science in forging effective, sustainable solutions. In the laboratory and field, we will explore local manifestations of global issues via experiential and hands-on approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab. (By Approval)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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

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 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

DED, SOC

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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

Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

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

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Global Warming
In this course we will cover the science, economics, politics, psychology, art and literature of climate change, understanding how we know what we know and what the implications are for the future. We will move quickly since there is a lot of ground to cover: climate change is arguably the largest thing humans have ever done. Some time in each class session will be devoted to the latest developments as they occur. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

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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 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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. (National/Transnational Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect. (FemSTHM)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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 2019, Spring 2020, 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.
(By Approval)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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. (By Approval)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

Conversations with Environmental Icons & Others
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

Requirements

AMR

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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

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Architecture and the Environment
Architecture has a dynamic relationship with the natural and cultural environments in which it operates. As a cultural phenomenon it impacts the physical landscape and uses natural resources while it also frames human interaction, harbors community, and organizes much of public life. We will investigate those relationships and explore strategies to optimize them, in order to seek out environmentally responsive architectural solutions. Topics to be covered include: analysis of a building's site as both natural and cultural contexts, passive and active energy systems, principles of sustainable construction, and environmental impact. Our lab will allow us to study on site, "off-the-grid" dwellings, hay-bale houses, passive solar constructions and alternative communities, meet with "green" designers, architects, and builders, and do hands-on projects. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Maritime Literature and Culture (II)
Writers have long found the sea to be a cause of wonder and reflection. A mirror for some and a desert for others, the sea has influenced the imaginations of writers throughout history in vastly different ways. In this course we will read a variety of literary works, both fiction and non-fiction, in which the sea acts as the setting, a body of symbolism, an epistemological challenge, and a reason to reflect on the human relationship to nature. Readings will be drawn from the Bible, Homer's Odyssey, Old English Poetry, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Kipling, Conrad, Melville, Hemingway, Walcott, O'Brian, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

LIT

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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

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 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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Course Description

William Shakespeare, Nature Poet (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the works of William Shakespeare through an ecocritical lens, paying particular attention to the representation of the natural world in a sampling of the plays and poems. Topics will include the European culture of early modern natural history and natural philosophy, the boundary between humans and beasts, the transformative power of the forest, the alterity of the sea, the dialectic of pastoral and georgic, the malleability of gender, and the complexity of sexual identities. Readings will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, and several of the sonnets and narrative poems. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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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 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Conserving Endangered Species
The planet is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event. In this course we will examine the science of species endangerment and recovery and how human society, through its political and legal systems, seeks to conserve endangered species. We will explore several case studies, primarily focused on species recovery efforts in the United States. The course will culminate in a student group project. (BIOL 0140 or ENVS 0112 or ENVS 0211) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

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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 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

PHL

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Course Description

Hope in a time of Climate Change
Climate change is arguably the most important challenge facing the world; addressing it will require the cooperation of diverse stakeholders. In this course we will ask how Christian theological and ecological viewpoints contribute to our understandings of climate change: how we got here, what it means to live in a time of climate change, and the basis of hope for the future. We will also explore how partnerships between science and religion can contribute to efforts to address climate change. Readings in the course will include works of Christian theology, history of science, and selections from the primary scientific literature. (not open to students who have taken ENVS 1040) 3 hrs sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

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 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Writing the Environment in the Digital Age
In this course we will explore the environmental narrative in the digital age. Equipped with laptop, camera, audio and video recorders–the tools of today’s investigative journalists–students will undertake their own environmental investigation in the Middlebury area (anything from wind energy to bat disappearance to land-use along rivers), then sharpen their skills as writers, focusing on setting, character, history and narrative thread. Students will read from a wide selection of environmental authors including Andy Revkin, Elizabeth Kolbert, Tim Robinson, Michael Pollan, Gretel Ehrlich, Rick Bass, Bill McKibben, Annie Dillard, Carl Safina, and Barry Lopez, and write in the environmental genre, incorporating interviews, photos, and audio and video files in the final writing projects. (ENVS 215 and CRWR 170 or CRWR 173) Approval required. (Video and audio equipment supplied by the college) Approval required; please apply online at http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/enam/resources/forms 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

ART

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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

Winter 2019, Fall 2021

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 Juniors and Seniors) (ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120 or GEOG 0150) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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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

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

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

Recent Novels of Environmental Justice
In recent years environmental justice has emerged as a major topic in the humanities. This intersection of environmentalism and social justice is motivated by a concern for the differential access to natural resources (clean water, clean air, tillable land) afforded to different groups of people within particular social systems. Students will encounter these themes thorugh the reading of many global Anglophone novels, including Waterland, by Graham Swift; The Hungry Tide, by Amitav Ghosh; Animal's People, by Indra Sinha; A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley; Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko; and Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

CMP, LIT

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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

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 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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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 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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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 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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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 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Poetry and the Marine Environment
In this course we will read and discuss Anglophone poetry about the sea, from the Old English poem The Seafarer to Derek Walcott’s The Sea is History. Our two main goals will be to investigate how poets imagine the marine environment and to bring multiple interpretive approaches to bear on literary texts from different regions and traditions. These approaches will include formal, contextual, and theoretical methods of inquiry. We will read poems by a diversity of poets, including John Masefield, Rudyard Kipling, Adrienne Rich, Derek Walcott, and Mary Oliver.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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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 2019, Winter 2020, 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 2020, Winter 2021

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Sea Turtles to Sharks
In the past two decades there has been an exponential increase in the number and size of marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide. MPAs are used to aid fisheries, protect biodiversity, and stabilize coastal ecosystems. In this course we will engage an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of conservation biology, political ecology, and anthropology, to investigate MPA design and effectiveness in multiple locales globally. Specific issues we will investigate include: marine organism life-cycle traits, connectivity, land-sea linkages, predator-prey dynamics, centralized versus decentralized MPA governance, gendered marine property, indigenous rights, and “sea grabbing.” We will draw comparisons among MPA projects and examine dynamics between individuals within a given MPA project. The course will consist of lectures and classroom discussions. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Adirondack Park: Conversations about Conservation
The Adirondack Park is considered one of the world’s greatest experiments in conservation. Throughout its ~130 year history, this experiment has attempted to balance rigorous environmental protections for millions of wilderness acres with the economic realities of local residents who live within the park boundaries. We will undertake an interdisciplinary approach to exploring how park conservation is affected by climate change, rural economies, recreation, tourism, the local food movement, and political action. Building upon course readings and discussions, and direct engagement with the Adirondack landscape, stakeholders, and local industries, students will develop practical policy recommendations to address pressing conservation issues in the park. This course counts as an approved social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Theological and Ecological Perspectives on Climate Change
In this course we will examine the interplay between science and religion by examining ecological and theological perspectives on climate change. We will begin with an exploration of how ecology and Christian theologies see the relationship between humans and nature. From there, we will delve into climate change, asking how theological and ecological viewpoints contribute to our understandings of the problem and how each elicits responses in the form of social action and policy. The course will end with an examination of how partnerships between scientific communities and communities of faith are addressing climate change and environmental justice. This course counts as an approved Integrative Cognate toward fulfillment of the ES major cognate requirement.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

PHL, WTR

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Course Description

Watershed Management for Lake Champlain: The Science and Policy of a "Wicked" Environmental Problem
In this course we will examine the scientific, political, and legal challenges that surround the “wicked problem” of nutrient pollution in Lake Champlain. We will take a multidisciplinary approach to understand the fundamental tenants of watershed management, the strategies available to address agricultural sources of pollution, and the ongoing legal battle over the future health of the lake. We will review scientific and technical reports, as well as primary materials with a focus on state and federal statutes and regulations. Class sessions will often feature round-table discussions with important stakeholders, including watershed scientists, attorneys, farmers, and state regulators. Students will work together to propose practical policies that can be applied locally. This course counts as an approved Social Science cognate toward fulfillment of the ES major cognate requirement.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Science of Climate Change and Its Impact
The disruptive impacts of climate change are already being experienced by coastal communities around the world.  Therefore, it is imperative for world citizens to understand climate change and its resulting impacts.  In this course we will explore both the drivers of and the physical process of climate change.  Via in class discussion and student led presentations, we will also examine some of the downstream impacts of climate change with a focus on its effects on coastal regions.  In the twice weekly computer labs, we will develop a climate model for exploring energy balances and climate feedbacks, and learn the data analysis techniques that scientists have used to interpret trends and identify the changing dynamics that result in these climate impacts. This course counts as an approved Natural Science Laboratory cognate toward fulfillment of the ES major cognate requirement.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

SCI, WTR

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Course Description

Researching Women, Water, and Justice
In this course we will explore the process of launching a research project, with a focus on women, water, and justice. We will discuss the gender politics of water. We will then explore initial research processes, including problem identification, collecting community input, narrowing your focus, methods, data, and ethical concerns. Students will explore these issues through participation in the Environmental Contamination and Lactation Justice initiative, a research collaboration with the African American Breastfeeding Network (in Milwaukee). Students will conclude the course developing their own proposal on a women, water, and justice issue of particular interest to them. This course counts as an approved social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

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 2020, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Waging Winning Campaigns: How to advocate for change
Campaigns are organized ways to achieve a particular political or social goal. Whether you are passionate about advancing solutions to climate change, increasing wages, fighting bigotry, expanding healthcare access, or anything else, you will need to inspire others to join your cause, develop persuasive, evidence-based arguments, communicate effectively, and influence decision-makers to act on your demands. In this course we will use case studies, guest lectures, discussions, and small group projects to design and launch successful campaigns. We will practice skills such as selecting campaign targets, power-mapping, writing press releases, delivering persuasive pitches, generating compelling digital content, holding 1:1 organizing meetings, measuring impact, and celebrating victories. This course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

SOC, 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, we will read and evaluate excerpts from classic “walking” texts in philosophy, religion, and eco-spirituality, and experience 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 2020

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

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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