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SPRING 2012 COURSES

Courses for the ES Major: Social and Cultural Perspectives Track
Courses for the ES Major: Environmental Science Track
Courses for the ES Minor
Special Topics Course Descriptions

COURSES FOR THE ES MAJOR
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES TRACK

Foundation Courses:

Core Courses:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B1 Courses:

Capstone:

Methods:

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ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TRACK

Foundation Course:

Disciplinary Foundation Courses:

Core Course:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B2 Courses:

Capstone:

Methods:

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COURSES FOR THE ES MINOR

Foundation Courses:

Cluster A Courses:

Cluster B1 Courses:

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Special Topic Course Descriptions:

AN 352C Environmental Archeology – Instructor: J. EK

In modern public discourse, we often speak of human impacts on the physical environment in negative terms. In this class we will adopt a different perspective to understand the relationship between human groups and the natural environment, focusing on the dynamic relationship between human societies and the physical landscape in which they inhabit. As the importance of human/environmental dynamics has come to the forefront of public and academic discourse, archaeology will play an increasingly important role in understanding long term relationships between human land use practices, natural and anthropogenic environmental and climatic processes, and the sustainability of socionatural systems. This course will examine a range of issues relevant in the emerging subdiscipline of environmental archaeology, including the theories and methods researchers use to reconstruct ancient landscapes, patterns of environmental and climatic change, and human land use and modification practices. This course adopts a holistic approach that combines paleoclimatic reconstruction, regional analysis, settlement pattern research, sustainability studies, political ecology, and landscape approaches to construct a nuanced and dynamic view of the relationship between human groups and the physical environment. Prerequisite: AN-102 or ES-100 or permission of the instructor.

AR 351G Imaging the Environment – Instructor: R. ParkeHarrison
Responding to the environmental crisis in our world today, students in this advanced photography course will explore environmental issues and themes through creative photographic works of art. Each project in this course focuses on a specific environmental theme and photographic genre. We will use significant environmental texts (such as One with Nineveh by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, The End of Nature by Bill McKibben, and Walden by Henry David Thoreau) and study a diverse range of contemporary artists/photographers who have defined this powerful movement within photography (such Alfred Steiglitz, Sally Mann, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Minor White). Prerequisites: AR229 or permission of instructor. Lab fee: $80

EN 280 01 Environmental Journalism - Instructor: D. Willman
Environmental journalists cover what are perhaps the most significant issues facing the world over the next 50 years. This course will provide a better understanding of their work. You will practice skills needed to report on and write environmental stories. You will critique and learn from the work of other environmental journalists, and from each other. Finally, you will become wiser consumers of environmental news. Assignments will include a weekly discussion of current environmental news, several short writing assignments, and one major project paper.

EN 363 01 American Landscape and Literature – Instructor: T. Lewis
What is the relationship between American culture and the landscape? How have American writers responded to their landscape in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? We’ll seek answers in travel journals, novels, and poetry of the nineteenth and twentieth century, including:

Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of Americans (selections); James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneer; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Willa Cather, O Pioneers! Hart Crane, The Bridge; Jack Kerouac, On the Road; T. C. Boyle, World's End

In addition to the readings we will consider, briefly, the works of some important artists and photographers of the American landscape, including Winslow Homer, Joseph Stella, Thomas Hart Benton, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederick Church, Georgia O’Keeffe, Walker Evans, and Alfred Stieglitz.

ES 251A Political Ecology – Instructor: N Atalan Helicke
How does political ecology differ from ecology? Who has power over the environment? How is nature constructed and destructed? How do existing policies and stakeholder interactions affect the use of environment by society? How do resource conflicts arise and become resolved? How is environmental knowledge used and abused? This course will introduce students to the array of broad political and socio-economic forces that shape the human relationships with the environment. These forces are multiple and interact in complex ways over a set of interlocking scales from local to global. We will address these issues by covering several case studies, both from the United States and the world. This course includes Service Learning component that requires a 15-hour commitment to an off campus community project.

The course work includes an exam, a research project on a community project (15 hours/semester commitment and possible travel to outside campus), reflection papers and a presentation. Prerequisite: Familiarity with social science research methods, permission from the instructor

ES 251B The Engineering and Ecology of Energy - Instructor: R. Wiltshire
Energy is a principle means for providing basic human needs, and it facilitates opportunities for achieving a decent quality of life. Access to and distribution of affordable, adequate, and sustainable energy sources is a prerequisite for sustainable development, and understanding the design, efficiencies, and environmental impacts of different energy systems is critical to our transition to a cleaner, more equitable energy future. We will explore the fundamental physics of energy, the evolving designs, technologies and efficiencies of more traditional and alternative energy production, and the comprehensive ecological impacts of various energy sources and systems such as Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Biomass. Prereqs. ES 100 and QR1.

ES 351A 001 Environmental Art - Instructor: A. Barnes
Environmental art encompasses a range of approaches to connecting art with the environment. In this course, we will study contemporary works of art that explore environmental issues or encourage positive environmental change. Often referred to as eco-art or ecological art, these works are frequently collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature. They ask us to consider public and activist art in connection with environmental concerns. As a counterpoint to our study of these works, we will examine contemporary art made from natural materials. Much of this work emphasizes ephemerality and one’s personal connection with the natural world. Course assignments will include presentations requiring research and interdisciplinary analysis. In Skidmore’s tradition of “hand and mind,” assignments will also include a series of visual studies and a collaborative environmental art project. While this course does not require experience with studio art, it does require an interest in visual art and a willingness to experiment with visual communication and expression. Museum exhibitions discussed will include Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art, Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet, and ecovention. Prerequisites: ES100 or permission of instructor Lab fee: $25

ES 351A 002 Environmental Legal Issues – Instructor: M. Schachner

This course will entail study, discussion and writing about environmental legal issues at the Federal, State and Local levels. Topics covered will include laws governing air and water pollution, hazardous waste disposal and governmental zoning powers. After initial focus on the “birth” and evolution of environmental regulatory schemes, principally at the Federal level, emphasis will shift to analysis of environmental legal issues of regional and local significance. Class assignments will include analysis of environmental law statutes, regulations and cases, as well as other writings, including current articles, regarding local environmental issues. Students will also learn to find, research and analyze Court Decisions involving environmental law. Discussion group format will enable students to develop advocacy skills in debates among each other and group assignments may include the opportunity to participate in community or regional legal issues of environmental social relevance. Prereq. ES 100.

ES 351A 003 Environment and Development in the Middle East - Instructor – N. Atalan Helicke
The Middle East immediately brings to mind religious and political complexities. However, Middle Eastern nations also face distinctive environmental and development challenges. In this class, students will study the natural and human environment in the Middle East, addressing major development and environmental topics such as the impacts of oil and other natural resource use; modernization and large dam projects; population growth and access to water, energy and food; and climate change and transboundary environmental issues. Students will explore the complex and interdisciplinary characteristics of Middle East environmental issues at both the regional and global scales through the examination of case studies from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
The course work includes an exam, a research project, individual and group work on case studies. Prerequisite: Familiarity with international policy making and world geography; permission from the instructor

EX 131: Introduction to Public Health - Instructor: J. Burden
Introduction to the principles and practices of public health, emphasizing the prevention of disease and promotion of health and well being. Using a case-study framework, students will explore both the historical and current roles of public health, and will investigate basic, epidemiological concepts including study design, rates, causation, and surveillance. Environmental, behavioral, biological, and socio-economic determinants of health will be explored and students will study both health issues that impact larger society and those that threaten vulnerable populations.

HI 217 001: Natural Disasters in Asia – Instructor: P. Fuller
Focusing on the social response to natural disasters in Asia over the centuries, this course will cover the role of the state and other sectors of society in disaster relief, and changes to their priorities and capabilities over time; issues of entitlement and the “worthy poor”; the ideological (Buddhist, Confucian and Christian) bases of state and charitable action; rebellion due to ecological crises and attendant state failures; and modern or Western perceptions of “Asian” humanitarianism, and how they compare to what can be learned from the historical record. Centered on China for its sheer size and influence in the region, the course will also touch on the Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese experiences

HI 217 002: American Environmental History – Instructor: E. MorserThis course explores American environmental history from pre-colonial times through the modern era. We will investigate a number of themes including how the different landscapes and ecologies of North America shaped the continent's history, the links between industrialization and the environment, economic and political struggles for control of natural resources, and changing American perceptions of nature. Ultimately, by examining these themes we can understand how the nation's rich environmental history has crafted the world that we inhabit today.

If you have any questions about these courses, please feel free to Michael Marx (mmarx@skidmore.edu) or other members of the Environmental Studies faculty.

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