Senior Seminars

Fall 2010

395b. Advanced Seminar in Environmental Policy and Politics. DeWitt John.
Examines a complex current environmental issue in depth. Explores the underlying social, economic, scientific, and cultural dimensions of the issue; reviews how this and related issues have been addressed so far by state and local governments as well as by the federal government; analyzes current policy-making efforts; and suggests lessons from this policy area about the capacity of public institutions to deal effectively with complex issues. The course will give equal attention to the substance of public policy, the political process, and implementation of past and proposed policies. It will focus primarily on the US but will consider experiences in other nations as points of comparison and also any relevant international dimensions of the issue. For information on the Fall 2009 topic, click the course title above.
Prerequisite: once course in environmental studies or government, or instruction of the professor.

Spring 2011

306a.Advanced Topics in Environmental Chemistry (proposed).  Dharni Vasudevan.
Same as Chem 306.  Prerequisite Chemistry 225.

318b. Environmental and Resource Economics. Guillermo Herrera.
Seminar: Analysis of externalities and market failure: models of optimum control of pollution and efficient management of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources such as fisheries, forests, and minerals; governmental vs. other forms of control of common-pool resources; and benefit-cost analysis of policies, including market-based and non-market valuation. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 218 or 228. (Same as Economics 318.) 

363b. Law Politics and the Search for Justice. Allen Springer.
Examines the complex relationship between law and policy in international realtions by focusing on two important and rapidly developing areas of international concern: environmental protection and humanitarian rights.  (Same as Government 363.)
Prerequisite: Government 260, 261, or 263

375. Feeding the World: The Nature and Challenges of our Food and Agricultural Systems. Phil Camill
Few things are more essential to us than food. Although we live in a world where global food abundance is at record highs, and prices are at historic lows, our modern food system has its share of challenges. Methods of food production, marketing, distribution, and consumption have spawned waves of criticism, including concerns about farm economics, food justice, worker safety, animal welfare, famine, ecological degradation, climate change, biotechnology, and public health. In the wake of these challenges, alternative systems of food production, distribution, and consumption are beginning to emerge. This seminar is an interdisciplinary exploration of three major questions: How do we produce and eat food? What major social and environmental consequences have arisen from food production and consumption? What should we produce and eat? Students examine the historical context of agriculture, from the dawn of agricultural societies to the revolutions producing the modern industrialized farm, social and environmental problems arising from these transitions, and social movements oriented towards making our food system more ecologically sustainable and socially just. Current or prior enrollment in Environmental Studies 201, 202, and 203 is recommended.

391. Troubled Waters: Fishing in the Gulf of Maine  Anne Hayden
Around the world and in the Gulf of Maine, overfishing and threats to habitat are putting marine ecosystems and coastal communities under great stress. An interdisciplinary senior seminar exploring the causes and scope of pressures on the marine environment; the potential for restoring ecosystems and fisheries; political conflicts over fisheries and related issues; federal, state, and community-based approaches to managing marine ecosystems; and strategies for coping with scientific and management uncertainties.

397. Advanced Winter Field Ecology. Nat Wheelwright. 
Exploration of advanced concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology, and the natural history of plants, animals, and ecosystems in winter in Maine. Structured around group research projects in the field. Each week, field trips focus on a different study site, set of questions, and taxon (e.g., host specificity in wood fungi, foraging behavior of aquatic insects, estimation of mammal population densities, winter flocking behavior in birds). Students learn to identify local winter flora and fauna, evaluate readings from the primary literature, analyze data from field research projects, and present their results each week in a research seminar. Field trip to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island. (Same as Biology 397).  Prerequisites Biology 215 or 258 or permission of instructor.