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Graduate Courses

Environmental Studies Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Please note that the following lists only include descriptions of courses with the ENVS prefix. Graduate students may take classes in other programs and departments as well. Please consult the UO Class Schedule and the UO Catalog for other course options.


Fall 2017

ENVS 500M Climate Responsive Design (4 cr) Syllabus Rempel
How did people design their shelters for thermal comfort, and even thermal delight, before fossil fuels made mechanical heating and cooling possible? This course explores the world’s diversity of climates and biomes, focusing on indigenous building practices developed over centuries of experimentation and innovation. These structures are formed by necessity of local wood, stone, skins, leaves, and earth. They are also often assembled to connect human communities with minimal need for transportation, and they have met great pressures to minimize energy use for providing warmth and coolness. As such, they form the great majority of the world’s truly sustainable buildings, and they offer fascinating lessons for contemporary green design. The goals of this course are to reveal these lessons, to evaluate existing green buildings in light of them, and ultimately to apply them in the redesign of existing projects. This is a seminar course taught through class discussion and field investigation. Discoveries, insights, and experimentation will be synthesized through weekly assignments and a term project.

 

ENVS 577 Soil Science(4 cr) Silva
Chemical and physical characteristics and classification of soils, field soil identification, soil degradation.

 

ENVS 631 Theory and Practice(4 cr) Morar
Introduction to various disciplinary perspectives that contribute to environmental studies, including their research methods, vocabularies, and core concepts.

 

Spring 2017

ENVS 510 Water, Pub Health, & Env (4 cr) Syllabus Russel
Water, public health and the environment will examine the provision of water and sanitation services around the world with a particular focus on cases studies from low and middle income countries in Africa and South East Asia. This course will examine:

– The current crisis of access to water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services and infrastructure around the world.

– The public health and environmental impacts of insufficient WASH services.

– Technology, planning and policy options for expanding WASH services

– The economic and behavioral barriers to the adoption of WASH technologies and services.

– The human  right to WASH and its impacts on market-based approaches to service delivery.

 

ENVS 511 Top Conservation Areas (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
The purpose of this seminar is to examine biodiversity conservation as perceived and practiced by a wide range of actors involved in the creation and management of protected areas throughout the world. As a class, we will establish a set of criteria for evaluating conservation practice and policy as reflected in various case studies throughout the world. In the process we will critique our own values and assumption regarding the constructs of nature, culture, development and scientific knowledge. The final goal is not to simply raise questions but to move towards more effective strategies of biodiversity conservation in the international arena

 

ENVS 610 Inter Env Research Dev (4 cr) Syllabus Silva
 In this course, students will explore benefits and challenges of developing interdisciplinary research projects. The contribution of different disciplines to environmental research will be discussed using theory and empirical examples to advance student goals. The course will be oriented around three core questions: Why do we need interdisciplinary research? How might we evaluate interdisciplinary projects? How can we address weaknesses and harness strengths of interdisciplinary approaches for the practice of environmental research going forward? While both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be discussed, the emphasis will be on mixed approaches that are needed for effective research in Environmental Studies, Science, and Policy (ESSP). Thus, the course will complement rather than substitute courses on specific research methods.

Winter 2017

ENVS 510 Nature in Popular Culture (4 cr) Syllabus Wald
This course examines the various ways that nature is represented in U.S. popular culture. What can advertisements, films, television, and video games teach us about the ways we imagine nature and the environment? What ideas about nature are conveyed by zoos, aquariums, and nature-oriented theme parks? Popular culture representations of nature tell us more than how we imagine nature and the environment. They also articulate and naturalize ideas about race, gender, sexuality, and ability. They present certain kinds of identities as natural and normative and other kinds of identities as unnatural or out of place in nature. We will examine the politics of identity and environment in depictions of SeaWorld, gay penguins, and Mother Earth. What is at stake in movies like Pocahontas, Avatar, and Moana? How are ideas about race and colonialism communicated in advertisements for the Discovery Channel and The Body Shop? We will explore the ways that representations of nature can at times justify existing relationships of power and privilege in society and the ways in which such representations may also at times contest those existing relationships of power and privilege.

 

ENVS 525 Top Env Ed Thry & Prac (4 cr) Syllabus Lynch
This class is the first quarter of the Environmental Leadership Program’s two-quarter Environmental Education Initiative. During the winter we will explore various educational theories and the rationale for getting children outside. We will cultivate our own ecological literacy as we develop our skills as environmental educators. Developing sensory awareness – both ours and the children we work with – will be central to our mission. You will work in your team to apply your skills, strengths and creativity towards developing educational materials that will help children connect to the magnificent natural world. Then during spring term you will deliver your environmental education program – in the classroom and in the field.

This year the three EE teams and community partners are:

Canopy Connections – H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and Pacific Tree Climbing Institute

Restoring Connections-Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Adams Elementary

School Garden Team – School Garden Project

As a Master’s student, you participate as the lead for a group of undergraduate  students.

 

ENVS 535 Environmental Justice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
Welcome to ENVS 435/535 Environmental Justice! How and why are environmental problems experienced differently according to race, gender and class? How do different communities experience and respond to environmental problems? Why does it matter that there is unequal exposure to environmental risks and benefits? What do we learn about the meaning of gender, race and class by studying the patterns of exposure and creative resistance of different communities to environmental hazards? In other words, what does the study of environmental risks tell us about racism, classism, sexism in our nation and world today? What is environmental privilege and why does it matter? These are some of the questions we will take up in the next ten weeks together. This course will be highly reading and discussion intensive. Environmental justice is one of the most important and active sites of environmental scholarship and activism in our country today. We will read classics and new material and work both inside and outside the classroom. In particular, we are very fortunate that the largest public interest environmental law conference in the country is held annually here in Eugene Oregon.

 

ENVS 555 Sustainability (4 cr) Syllabus Walker
Political ecology examines the politics, in the broadest sense of the word, of the environment. Whereas “environmental politics” courses often focus on the role of government and interest groups in shaping environmental policies, political ecology expands our understanding of politics to examine the roles of: globalized capitalism; relations of power and inequality between and among social actors (differentiated, for example, by class, race, or gender); social institutions, such as land tenure; government, nongovernmental organizations, and social movements; and language, symbolism, and discourse as they shape human interactions with the physical environment. Although much political ecology research comes from studies of the less-developed ‘third world,’ this course also emphasizes the political ecology of the ‘first world’.

Fall 2016

ENVS 550 Political Ecology (4 cr) Syllabus Walker
Political ecology examines the politics, in the broadest sense of the word, of the environment. Whereas “environmental politics” courses often focus on the role of government and interest groups in shaping environmental policies, political ecology expands our understanding of politics to examine the roles of: globalized capitalism; relations of power and inequality between and among social actors (differentiated, for example, by class, race, or gender); social institutions, such as land tenure; government, nongovernmental organizations, and social movements; and language, symbolism, and discourse as they shape human interactions with the physical environment. Although much political ecology research comes from studies of the less-developed ‘third world,’ this course also emphasizes the political ecology of the ‘first world’.
ENVS 567 Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
The purpose of the class is for students to develop an informed critique of agricultural production.  We will review traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and GMC (genetically modified crops)-based systems through the lens of sustainability.  For our purposes, sustainability includes not only environmental, but also economic and cultural considerations.  While holding a holistic perspective, the course examines the various material components of production systems.  In each unit we will highlight problems and explore alternatives to current methods of production.  Finally, we will discuss food policy and food security.  The greatest single share of the course material stems from North American experience but the class is decidedly global in scope.
ENVS 607: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Food Studies (4 cr) Syllabus Wald
This course explores the wide ranging and inherently interdisciplinary field of food studies. As academic interest in the realm of food studies has developed, it has become clear that there are key approaches and insights in disciplines across the social sciences, the humanities, and the sciences. Each broad academic realm has its focal concerns and approaches. By design this course provides a survey of food studies scholarship across this intellectual continuum, examining key issues and themes as well as methodologies in each realm. Upon completion, you will have a working knowledge of and a foundational fluency with food studies scholarship writ large and will be able to see how your own interests fit within the larger field. The course establishes a foundation for the new graduate specialization in Food Studies. The course is also designed to help you develop critical reading, writing, and oral presentation skills.
ENVS 631 Theory and Practice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
Course Goals:

  • Introduce the field of environmental studies via classics and current material
  • Introduce the University of Oregon faculty and program
  • Discuss key themes within environmental studies including interdisciplinarity, methodological tensions, engagement/applied scholarship, and representation.
  • Provide resources for program success, professional development and planning for the future.


2014-2015 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2013-2014 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2012-2013 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2011-2012 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2010-2011 Course Descriptions, Information & Syllabi

 

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