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2007-2008 Courses

FALL 2007

ENVS 607 Seminar: Political Ecology (4 cr)
Instructor: 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 specific environmental policies, political ecology expands our understanding of ‘politics’ to examine the roles of: 1) environmental rhetoric (‘discourse’), ideology, and knowledge; 2) politics and environmental change; 3) economic systems (including ‘globalization’); 4) gender-based dimensions of resource ownership and use; 5) and everyday struggles within communities and households (including ‘community’-based resource management) as they shape human relationships with nature. Although much of the political ecology literature comes from studies of the less-developed ‘third world,’ this course also examines the political ecology of the ‘first world.’
ENVS 610 Theory and Practice (4 cr)
Instructor: Toadvine
This course is the first segment of your year-long introduction to graduate environmental studies. The course has the following goals: (a) to deepen your understanding of the different disciplinary perspectives that contribute to environmental studies, including their research methods, vocabularies, and core concepts; (b) to engage you in thoughtful dialogue
concerning the nature of interdisciplinary, objectivity, and knowledge within the context of “environmental studies”; (c) to provide you with opportunities to interact with a wide range of faculty engaged in environmental research who may serve as formal or informal advisors to your ongoing studies; (d) to introduce you to professional aspects of academic work in
environmental studies; and (e) to encourage, for master’s students, significant background research toward the formulation of a concrete thesis or project proposal; and, for doctoral students, significant work toward a professional research product.

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ENVS 411/511 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice (4 cr)
Instructor: Lynch
In-depth examination of environmental education in theory and practice. Topics include learning theories, environmental literacy, and how to successfully plan, implement and evaluate educational programs. We will also examine how environmental education is practiced in Oregon, nationally and around the globe. A major focus is the group project, in which you will work in collaboration with a community partner to help develop environmental education materials.
ENVS 420/520 Perspectives on Nature and Society (4 cr)
Instructor: Walker
Comparative exploration of social science approaches to environmental issues. Focus on interaction of social institutions, culture, politics, and economy with the physical landscape.
ENVS 607 Grad Orientation (2 cr)
Instructor: Bridgham
Introduction to disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to environmental studies. Development of professional and academic skills culminating in a professional research project.

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ENVS 411/511 Environmental Issues: Ideologies, Ecojustice, Global Warming (4R cr)
Instructor: Bowers
The course will introduce students to Gregory Bateson’s theory of double bind thinking, which explains how the language that now dominates our political and educational discourse is based on analogs that were constituted by Enlightenment thinkers who had no awareness of ecological limits, the importance of the cultural commons—and whose writings gave conceptual direction and moral legitimacy to the Industrial Revolution. The differences between social justice and ecojustice will be introduced, as the social justice agenda does not take account of how gaining equal participation in the consumer society undermines ecojustice—which has to do with issues of environmental racism, exploiting the resources of Third World cultures, further enclosing (monetizing) the cultural commons, and undermining the prospects of future generations. Grounding our political vocabulary in current analogs will help recognize how the social justice agenda represents an example of double bind thinking. The issue of global warming, including accompanying changes in availability of water, changing the chemistry of the world’s oceans, etc., will be discussed in terms of educational reforms that address what the current discourse on technological solutions for slowing the rate of global warming fails to consider—namely, how to reduce people’s dependency upon consumerism. This complex issue will require returning to the issues of language; particularly how the root metaphors constituted in the distant past, such as anthropocentrism, individualism, progress, mechanism, etc., continue to marginalize people’s awareness of the cultural and environmental commons even though they participate in them on a daily basis.

The emphasis on how the thought patterns from the past, including the culturally context-free use of language which can be traced back to Plato, continue to be reproduced in the present by our leading thinkers and scientists (E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and Francis Crick being three examples) will be useful to environmental studies students regardless of their area of specialization, as most university students graduate with the mistaken idea that language is a conduit through which objective data and information is passed.

ENVS 610 Thesis Development (3 cr)
Instructor: Westling
Students will design course activities, in cooperation with the Instructor, to focus on preparing to write their MA or MS Thesis Prospectus. Each student will be responsible for several class meetings of the course, providing appropriate readings and assignments to facilitate group collaboration and critique of the thesis plan. Enrollment limited to ENVS Master’s Students.

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Summer 2008

ENVS 410/510 Water Rights and the American West (4 cr)
Instructor: Rudestam
American western water law and policy have been a source of increased public interest and philosophical debate as resources become depleted and water dependent ecosystems become more distressed. This four-credit course examines conflict over water rights in the American West. Using the Deschutes Basin in Eastern Oregon as a case study, we will study water law and policy, examine the root causes of conflicts over water and innovative approaches used to resolve them. We will spend six days in the field meeting with landowners, wildlife biologists, irrigation district managers, tribal managers, economists, water traders, and environmentalists in the Deschutes Basin. The course will culminate in an overnight raft trip on the Deschutes River.
See flyer for more details.
ENVS 411/511 Environmental Issues: Sustainable Agriculture
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. The greatest single share of the course material stems from North American experience but the class is decidedly global in scope.

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