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Graduate Courses 2012-2013


FALL 2012
WINTER 2013
SPRING 2013
SUMMER 2013


Fall 2012

ENVS 511 Law and the Environment (4 cr) Crider
This course provides students with an understanding of laws that regulate the environment as well as the skills to analyze and apply these laws to current issues. By the end of this course, students will be able to communicate with agencies, lawyers, businesses and individuals about environmental laws and determine how and whether to use legal tools to resolve environmental issues. Topics include the structure and operation of the legal system, the development of environmental laws, policy issues
and risk assessment, federal and state laws applicable to habitat and species protection, air quality, water quality, toxic substances, solid and hazardous waste, energy production, government agency regulation and enforcement, citizen and public enforcement, and international environmental law.
ENVS 555 Sustainability (4 cr) Walker
After 20 years in the public spotlight, the concept of “sustainability” has arguably become the dominant framework for understanding environmental challenges today. Yet, this term is so widely used to describe such greatly differing ideas and practices (with only loose – or even contradictory – definitions) that some have questioned whether this term means anything at all. Is sustainability just a fuzzy (if appealing) buzzword? Those who have attempted to define sustainability have in some cases come to wholly incompatible conclusions about its meaning– such as vigorous and ongoing debates between certain economists and ecologists over whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining ecological systems.

A careful examination of the competing definitions of sustainability reveals disagreements about core social, cultural, and ecological assumptions, such as: what is to be sustained (economic growth? ecosystems ‘services’? ecosystems and species independent of their economic value?); who is to benefit (humans alive today? which humans? future generations? what about other species?); whose values (or ‘needs’) are to be sustained? (Is American consumer culture a ‘need’? can materially wealthy societies deny similar aspirations to others in a rapidly globalizing culture and economy?); and what time frame is appropriate? (A short time frame may make ‘sustainability’ too easy, whereas in the face of today’s rapid ecological and technological change a long time frame may make sustaining current conditions impossible, or even undesirable). In short, an examination of ‘sustainability’ is nothing less than of an examination of what we desire to be as a society, what values and cultures we prioritize, how we understand our biophysical interactions with the planet, and what ethical obligations we have.

The course then ‘unpacks’ the competing social, cultural, economic, and ecological assumptions and priorities that are often quietly but powerfully promoted in the push for ‘sustainability’. A concept that means all things to all people can too easily come to mean little or nothing. The purpose of this course is to enable students to move beyond fuzzy buzzwords by critically examining these multiple meanings and encouraging more explicit definitions and efforts to understand and reconcile the ambiguities, tensions, and contradictions in the concept of sustainability. This is a ‘tough love’ course for sustainability: by examining this important concept with a highly critical eye, students will be better positioned to move sustainability forward with more rigorous definitions and goals that are ecologically sound, socially effective, ethically and culturally defensible, and technologically achievable.

ENVS 577 Soil Science (4 cr) Marshall
What do farming, clean water, the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, sustainable urban design, and the food that sustains us have in common? Soil! This course is designed to introduce environmental science, physical science, planning, landscape architecture, and natural resources students to the fascinating soil ecosystem beneath our feet. We will begin with the fundamentals of soil science and then apply this knowledge to characterize soils in the field and solve complex environmental problems. The course includes two 80 minute lectures each week, one 2-hr lab each week, and one weekend field trip.
ENVS 631 Environmental Studies Theory and Practice (4 cr) Dickman
Introduction to various disciplinary perspectives that contribute to environmental studies, including their research methods, vocabularies, and core concepts.

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Winter 2013

ENVS 525 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice (4 cr) Syllabus 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 EE 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 EE materials.
ENVS 535 Environmental Justice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
Environmental justice and its impact on current decisions. Focus on civil rights law, perception of risk, and relation of sustainability and equity.
ENVS 540 Environmental Aesthetics (4 cr) Syllabus Toadvine
Explores aesthetic experience of nature through philosophical perspective; emphasizes nature and art; beauty and the sublime; embodiment, culture, and science; and ethics, conservation, and preservation.
ENVS 610 PhD Seminar (2cr) Westling
This seminar will explore intersections between the research interests of seminar members, strategies for shaping a coherent program of courses and developing a dissertation project, questions about how individual students’ work can contribute to the development of Environmental Studies as an interdisciplinary field, and employment opportunities. Course structure and activities will be cooperatively worked out among seminar members during the opening two weeks of the term.
ENVS 632 Environmental Studies Research Methodology (2cr) Syllabus Bridgham
Identifying a clear and concise research problem, developing methodology to address that problem, and engaging the process of developing a thorough knowledge of relevant literature.

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Spring 2013

ENVS 567 Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Martin
Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.
ENVS 550 Political Ecology (4 cr) 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 633 Thesis Development (3 cr) Westling
Interdisciplinary readings in environmental studies focused on student thesis topics. Preparation for presentations at the Joint Environmental Conference and preparation to complete the MA/MS thesis/terminal project proposals.

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Summer 2013

ENVS 535 Environmental Justice (4 cr) July 22-Aug 14 Bacon
Environmental justice and its impact on current decisions. Focus on civil rights law, perception of risk, and relation of sustainability and equity. Prereq: ENVS 201
ENVS 555 Sustainability (4 cr) June 24-July 21 Walker
After 20 years in the public spotlight, the concept of “sustainability” has arguably become the dominant framework for understanding environmental challenges today. Yet, this term is so widely used to describe such greatly differing ideas and practices (with only loose – or even contradictory – definitions) that some have questioned whether this term means anything at all. Is sustainability just a fuzzy (if appealing) buzzword? Those who have attempted to define sustainability have in some cases come to wholly incompatible conclusions about its meaning– such as vigorous and ongoing debates between certain economists and ecologists over whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining ecological systems.

A careful examination of the competing definitions of sustainability reveals disagreements about core social, cultural, and ecological assumptions, such as: what is to be sustained (economic growth? ecosystems ‘services’? ecosystems and species independent of their economic value?); who is to benefit (humans alive today? which humans? future generations? what about other species?); whose values (or ‘needs’) are to be sustained? (Is American consumer culture a ‘need’? can materially wealthy societies deny similar aspirations to others in a rapidly globalizing culture and economy?); and what time frame is appropriate? (A short time frame may make ‘sustainability’ too easy, whereas in the face of today’s rapid ecological and technological change a long time frame may make sustaining current conditions impossible, or even undesirable). In short, an examination of ‘sustainability’ is nothing less than of an examination of what we desire to be as a society, what values and cultures we prioritize, how we understand our biophysical interactions with the planet, and what ethical obligations we have.

The course then ‘unpacks’ the competing social, cultural, economic, and ecological assumptions and priorities that are often quietly but powerfully promoted in the push for ‘sustainability’. A concept that means all things to all people can too easily come to mean little or nothing. The purpose of this course is to enable students to move beyond fuzzy buzzwords by critically examining these multiple meanings and encouraging more explicit definitions and efforts to understand and reconcile the ambiguities, tensions, and contradictions in the concept of sustainability. This is a ‘tough love’ course for sustainability: by examining this important concept with a highly critical eye, students will be better positioned to move sustainability forward with more rigorous definitions and goals that are ecologically sound, socially effective, ethically and culturally defensible, and technologically achievable.

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