Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Courses / Spring 2011

Environmental Studies

Spring 2011

070. Preparing to Face Earth's Future
Rachel Beane M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
How do Earth's changes impact us? How do we impact the sustainability of Earth? How do scientists study the Earth? Case studies draw from current events such as Deepwater Horizon (why drill for oil in the deep sea? What are the spill's impacts?), carbon capture and storage (does this geoengineering technique have the potential to mitigate global climate change?), rare earth mining (how do we use Earth's materials to meet society's increasing demands?) and the Indonesian earthquake, volcano, and tsunami (how do the Earth's shifting tectonic plates impact communities? what are scientists doing to predict these events?).

071. Bird Song, Human Song
Robert Greenlee T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
A study of avian and human melodies, including the mechanics, anatomy, neurobiology, and endocrinology of sound production and recognition in birds and humans; ecological, geographical, and evolutionary contexts of song; and interspecific influences on songs. Songs and calls, identified aurally and through basic music notation, are used to inspire new musical compositions that explore the musical relationships between humans and birds. Requires field trips and anatomy laboratories; no music or biology experience is required or presumed.

102. Introduction to Oceanography
Collin Roesler M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography: tectonic evolution of the ocean basins, thermohaline and wind-driven circulation, chemical cycles, primary production and trophodynamics with emphasis on oceans' role in climate change. Weekly labs will apply the principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

104. Environmental Geology and Hydrology
Peter Lea M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
An introduction to aspects of geology and hydrology that affect the environment and land use. Topics include lakes, watersheds and surface-water quality, groundwater contamination, coastal erosion, and landslides. Weekly labs and field trips examine local environmental problems affecting Maine's rivers, lakes, and coast. Students complete a community-based research project on Maine water quality. Formerly Geology 100 (same as Environmental Studies 100).

201. Perspectives in Environmental Science
Dharanija Vasudevan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Functioning of the earth system is defined by the complex and fascinating interaction of processes within and between four principal spheres: land, air, water, and life. Leverages key principles of environmental chemistry and ecology to unravel the intricate connectedness of natural phenomena and ecosystem function. Fundamental biological and chemical concepts are used to understand the science behind the environmental dilemmas facing societies as a consequence of human activities. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, laboratory experiments, group research, case study exercises, and discussions of current and classic scientific literature.

203. Environment and Culture in North American History
Matthew Klingle M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores relationships between ideas of nature, human transformations of the environment, and the effect of the physical environment upon humans through time in North America. Topics include the “Columbian exchange” and colonialism; links between ecological change and race, class, and gender relations; the role of science and technology; literary and artistic perspectives of “nature”; agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization; and the rise of modern environmentalism. Assignments include a research-based service learning term project.

218. Environmental Economics and Policy
Erik Nelson T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An exploration of environmental degradation and public policy responses in industrial economies. Market failures, property rights, and materialistic values are investigated as causes of pollution and deteriorating ecosystem functions. Guidelines for equitable and cost-effective environmental policy are explored, with an emphasis on the roles and limitations of cost-benefit analysis and techniques for estimating non-monetary values. Three core themes are the transition from “command and control” to incentive-based policies; the evolution from piecemeal regulation to comprehensive “green plans” (as in the Netherlands); and the connections among air pollution, energy systems, and global warming.

244. City, Anti-City, Utopia: Building Urban America
Jill Pearlman M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Explores the evolution of the American city from the beginning of industrialization to the present age of mass communications. Focuses on the underlying explanations for the American city's physical form by examining cultural values, technological advancement, aesthetic theories, and social structure. Major figures, places, and schemes in the areas of urban design and architecture, social criticism, and reform are considered.

247. Maine: A Community and Environmental History
Sarah McMahon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines the evolution of various Maine social and ecological communities—inland, hill country, and coastal. Begins with the contact of European and Native American cultures, examines the transfer of English and European agricultural traditions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and explores the development of diverse geographic, economic, ethnic, and cultural communities during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth centuries.

250. California Dreamin': A History of the Golden State
Connie Chiang T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Seminar. Sunshine, beaches, shopping malls, and movie stars are the popular stereotypes of California, but social conflicts and environmental degradation have long tarnished the state's golden image. Unravels the myth of the California dream by examining the state's social and environmental history from the end of Mexican rule and the discovery of gold in 1848 to the 2003 election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Major topics include immigration and racial violence; radical and conservative politics; extractive and high-tech industries; environmental disasters; urban, suburban, and rural divides; and California in American popular culture.

257. Anthropology and the Environment
Jonathan Padwe T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Explores anthropological approaches to the natural world and applies anthropological forms of investigation to environmental issues. Topics include indigenous peoples, environmental management practices, common property resource management, deforestation, conflicts over natural resources, and the cultural politics of conservation. Covers a series of approaches, from ecological anthropology and human/cultural ecology to political economy, political ecology, and the politics of representation within environmental struggles. Focuses on environmental issues in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with specific case studies drawn from India and South America's Amazon Basin providing a comparative perspective.

258. Environmental Ethics
Lawrence Simon M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
What things in nature have moral standing? What are our obligations to them? How should we resolve conflicts among our obligations? After an introduction to ethical theory, topics to be covered include anthropocentrism, the moral status of nonhuman sentient beings and of non-sentient living beings, preservation of endangered species and the wilderness, holism versus individualism, the land ethic, and deep ecology.

263. International Environmental Policy
Allen Springer T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the political, legal, and institutional dimension of international efforts to protect the environment. Problems discussed include transboundary and marine pollution, maintaining biodiversity, and global climate change.

264. Energy, Climate, and Air Quality
DeWitt John M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Examines how the federal government in the United States, as well as states, communities, businesses, and nonprofits, can address climate change and energy issues. Compares American policies and politics with efforts in other countries and examines the links between American policies and efforts in other nations.

280. Plant Responses to the Environment
Barry Logan M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Plants can be found growing under remarkably stressful conditions. Even your own backyard poses challenges to plant growth and reproduction. Survival is possible only because of a diverse suite of elegant physiological and morphological adaptations. The physiological ecology of plants from extreme habitats (e.g., tundra, desert, hypersaline) is discussed, along with the responses of plants to environmental factors such as light and temperature. Readings from the primary literature facilitate class discussion. Excursions into the field and laboratory exercises complement class material.

306. Advanced Environmental Organic Chemistry
Dharanija Vasudevan T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Human activities result in the intentional or inadvertent release of organic chemicals into the natural environment. Interconnected physical, chemical, and biological processes influence the environmental fate of chemicals and the extent human and ecosystem exposure. Focuses on the thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical transformations in the natural environment via nucleophilic, redox, photolytic, and biological (microbial) reactions.

318. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
Guillermo Herrera T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
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. Permission of instructor required for students who have credit for Economics 218 (same as Environmental Studies 218) or 228 (same as Environmental Studies 228).

343. Tectonics and Climate
Rachel Beane M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
Exploration of the complex interactions between tectonics and climate. Discussion of current research is emphasized by reading primary literature, through class discussions and presentations, and by writing scientific essays. The emphasis on current research means topics may vary, but will include topographic growth of mountain belts and Cenozoic climate change.

363. Advanced Seminar in International Relations: Law, Politics, and the Search for Justice
Allen Springer T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the complex relationship between law and policy in international relations by focusing on two important and rapidly developing areas of international concern: environmental protection and humanitarian rights. Fulfills the environmental studies senior seminar requirement.

375. Feeding the World: The Nature and Challenges of Our Food and Agricultural Systems
Philip Camill M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
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. An interdisciplinary exploration of three 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? Examines the historical origins agriculture, 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 T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Around the world and in the Gulf of Maine, overfishing, threats to habitat, and climate change are putting marine ecosystems and coastal communities under great stress. An interdisciplinary senior seminar draws on oceanography, ecology, history, economics, anthropology, and political science to explore the causes and scope of pressures on the marine environment; the potential for restoring ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal economies; 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.