Courses Related to Environmental Humanities and Social Justice (Spring 2024)
Undergraduate and Graduate, Listed Alphabetically by Departments and Programs
(Undergraduate and Graduate, Listed Alphabetically by Departments and Programs)
Arts Extension Service
ARTS-EXT 509 – Greening Your Nonprofit Arts Organization (name change pending)
Thurs 2:30 - 4
The arts have always been at the forefront of change, and never has change been more required than today. Whether your organization needs to cut its facility costs, be first in line for donation dollars, or serve as a 'green' model for your community, this class is for you. Determine which changes are easy to institute, provide the greatest cost-saving, reduce your carbon footprint, and build credibility with your audiences. This class concludes with a final green plan to be tailored to the unique needs of your institution. All course work is applied to a case study organization, which may be your own organization or one where you volunteer.
ENGL 190N – Environment, Climate Change, and the Humanities
This course introduces students to the exciting, interdisciplinary field of the Environmental Humanities, which engages with the relationship between humanistic study and environmental concerns, such as climate change. While questions of ecology, environment, landscape, and weather have always played a role in literary, historical, and philosophical inquiries, how might those critical lenses be utilized to think through urgent concerns such as anthropogenic climate change and unprecedented species extinctions around the world? Questions of climate and species extinctions are generally consigned to scientific enquiry; however, in this course we will learn how and why the humanities plays a crucial role in these debates. Students will be introduced to a range of literary, artistic, historical, and popular narratives from across the globe that interrogate these questions. In modules such as ecological imperialism and environmental racism, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between empire and climate change, why it is important to couple (rather than bifurcate) nature from culture. Other modules, for example, will encourage students to critically evaluate the role of fossil fuels in contemporary cultures and recognize the importance of storytelling in building environmental resilience. The final module of this course will encourage students to imagine post-oil, alternative and flourishing futures.
ENGL 492N – Nature, Climate, Literature
M/W 2:30PM - 3:45PM
In this capstone course for the Environmental Humanities Specialization in the English Department students engage in analyzing the cultural and political dynamics of climate change rhetoric, and climate change literature, art and activism. Students will gain a significant understanding of the discipline of Environmental Humanities, its justice-oriented analytical lenses, and its interdisciplinary committments. Students will take part in team research on timely topics such as the connections between contemporary wars and the climate crisis, the reliance of climate change policy on neoliebral financialized markets etc.
ENGL 365 – The Literature of Ireland
This course introduces students to the vibrant field of Irish literature. Students will gain a firm understanding of the history, culture, and literature of Ireland with a concentration on the 20th and 21st centuries. Irish literature is famed for its naturalistic impetuses and its environmental ethic. Classroom discussions will link such concerns with the history of colonialism in Ireland, the Great Irish Famine, and the Celtic Tiger of the latter decades of the 20th century.
ENGL 371 – African American Literature
This course will ask how African American writers sustain and manipulate a culturally specific literary tradition at various historical moments, ranging from the Colonial period to the post-Civil Rights era.
ENGL 273 – American Realism
This course will analyze nineteenth-century slave narratives under the scope of the realist literary period, asking: how did African American slaves documentary writing that seeks to capture quotidian experiences in social life.
Humanities and Fine Arts
HMFNART 101 – Traversing Difference with Critical and Creative Thinking Local Questions
WED/FRI 2:30-3:35 M/W 4:00-5:15 TUE/THU 1:00-2:15 TU/TH 11:30-12:45
HM&FNART 101 AL DU is a 4-credit small discussion-based, interdisciplinary course that focuses on reading transformative texts drawn from the US context. You will read fiction and poetry alongside works of philosophy, history, politics, and sociology that describe, model, and examine the complexities of human experience. This course is designed to ‘transcend’ individual majors, bringing students from across campus into shared conversation, helping you develop and practice skills for success in college, career, and life. Engaging deeply and imaginatively with multiple perspectives on human rights, the environment, science, and the arts, you and your peers will reflect on how to navigate the world as ethical human beings. By exploring these potentially life-changing works, you will develop new understandings of how they inspire new and liberating approaches to expression, selfhood, and community.
HMFNART 102 – Traversing Difference with Critical and Creative Thinking Global Issues
TU/THU 10:00-11:15 TU/THU 11:30-12:45 M/W 2:30-3:45 TU/THU 2:30-3:45 TU/THU 4:00-5:15.
HM&FNART 102 AL DG is a 4-credit small discussion-based course that focuses on reading transformative texts drawn from a global context. You will read fiction and poetry alongside works of philosophy, history, politics, and sociology that describe, model, and examine the complexities of human experience. This course is designed to ‘transcend’ individual majors, bringing students from across campus into shared conversation, helping you develop and practice skills for success in college, career, and life. Engaging deeply and imaginatively with multiple perspectives, past and present, you and your peers will reflect on how to navigate the world as ethical human beings. By exploring these potentially life-changing works, you will develop new understandings of how they inspire new and liberating approaches to expression, selfhood, and community.
PHIL 166 – Environmental Ethics
TuTh 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
In this course we will tackle a fundamental question of applied environmental ethics: what realistic actions should we endorse (as a society) at the level of policy if we hope to have a positive, concrete impact on climate change? We will focus, for the most part, on philosopher Joseph Heath’s Philosophical Foundations of Climate Change Policy as our main text. As Heath points out, millions of lives and the quality of human life in the future crucially depend on how we as a society approach these problems and what solutions we implement. We will begin this course with some quick background on logic and the importance of arguments for the purpose of rational inquiry, a discussion of traditional ethical views will then ensue and will be followed by a brief exposition of ideas from elementary political philosophy and elementary philosophy of economics. Since all of the above is indispensable background I will provide short guides on these subjects. We will then turn our attention to our main text, beginning with a discussion of some traditional views in environmental ethics, the problem of climate change and economic growth, the problem of intergenerational justice and then focus on the policy suggestion of carbon pricing and the problem of time preferences in political decision making. We will close this course by briefly looking at two questions not tackled by Heath as a coda for the course, one in philosophy of science and one in aesthetics. What is nature as an environmental system? What is the value of nature, ethically and aesthetically? This will be a challenging, but intellectually rewarding course. For the sake of evaluation I will assign two short papers and 1-page reading comprehension exercises every now and then. I will provide guidance and counsel throughout.
PHIL 170 – Problems in Social Thought
MWF 10:10 AM – 11:00 AM
This course serves as an introduction to social and political philosophy. We will consider a variety of issues related to how society should be structured, the nature of political authority and justice, and how certain social and institutional structures contribute to various social inequities. More specifically, we will consider the following sorts of questions: What kinds of societies are ideal for human beings? What is the role of government in those societies? Given that serious moral transgressions have affected how most contemporary societies are arranged, how should we characterize and respond to injustice and oppression in our non-ideal world? What role does the social pursuit of knowledge play in sustaining racist, sexist, or homophobic norms and institutions and what role can it play in overturning them? What obligations do we have towards global citizens who aren’t members of our immediate culture, community or country? Readings will primarily, though not exclusively, consist of classic and contemporary texts in social and political philosophy. No prior philosophical experience is required.