Peter F. Cannavò is the author of The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place.
Working closely with distinguished professors in biology, geosciences, government, economics, English and other disciplines, you will investigate environmental issues and attitudes with rigor and imagination — and emerge ready to make a difference. Research will be an essential part of your work, and you will find a broad range of research opportunities.
About the Major
Students in environmental studies develop a variety of tools and perspectives by doing coursework in several disciplines. After completing a series of foundation courses, majors select a more specific track to follow: humanities, social sciences or natural sciences.
As an academic field, environmental studies is only a few decades old, but the concept is ancient. We interact continuously with our surroundings, and we benefit deeply from understanding that interaction. But while the environment has always shaped human life and culture, we also shape the environment — and never more so than today, in an era of rapid technological change and population growth.
I loved that Hamilton's Environmental Studies Program was so interdisciplinary, meaning that it allowed me to take a lot of environmental humanities courses in the history or philosophy departments, for instance. Moreover, without the program's flexibility, I wouldn't have been able to choose art as my environmental studies focus and create a documentary for my senior project.
Eunice Lee ’16 — environmental studies and French major
Careers After Hamilton
- Corps Member, Teach for America
- Chair, Department of Rheumatology, Cleveland Clinic
- Trip Leader, Naturalists At Large
- Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
- Policy Coordinator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Clinical Research Coordinator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Program Assistant, Natural Resources Defense Council
Carbon Footprints and Sustainability 160S
What is a carbon footprint? Is it a useful concept? What are the scientific, social and economic implications of measuring environmental impacts through the billion dollar industry of sustainability accounting? In seeking to answer these questions, this course uses the concept of the carbon footprint as a lens through which to understand and critically assess scientific, economic practices and social discourses around sustainability as it is practiced across American and global society today. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Landscapes: People, Place, and the Past 218
This course explores the deep histories of economic, socio-political, and ritual landscapes, and the tools that archaeologists use to study them. Landscapes, as both physical and cultural entities, are important spaces for human interaction. Archaeologists are uniquely positioned to examine the relationships among people, place, and the environment in the past. This course will link archaeological landscapes to modern issues of development, human-environment interaction, and social change.View All Courses
Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park 220
Study of America’s largest inhabited wilderness. Survey of natural and cultural histories of the park and examination of ecological, political and social issues. Study of literary, scientific, historical and political texts. Exploration of environmental issues such as acid rain, development and land-use, predator re-introduction and population controls.View All Courses
Gender and Environment 255S
The theoretical, historical and material links between gender and the natural world. We explore how the social category of gender relates to environmental issues, but also focus on how other human differences based on race, class, sexuality and nation connect to the so-called "non-human environment.” The course begins with feminist historical and theoretical analysis of the links between gender and environment, including examinations of Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology. Building on this foundation, we then explore Health and Technology, Environmental Justice, and Global Climate Change. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Introduction to Environmental Politics 285
An overview of environmental politics, domestic and global. Topics include the environmental movement and its history and values, anti-environmentalism, environmental policy analysis, the relation between environmental science and politics, the domestic and international environmental policy processes, the North-South debate, globalization, race and environmental justice, and the implications of environmental politics for liberal democracy.View All Courses
Seminar on Climate Risk and Resilience 305F
An exploration of our scientific understanding of the risks of climate change. Focused on the primary scientific literature, this course covers risk and vulnerability assessments, climate modeling and scenario development, remote sensing and observational data interpretation, critical thinking about scientific articles, and use of scientific evidence to understand the risks of extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other manifestations of anthropogenic climate change. Discussions will emphasize how climate science informs how we can make society more resilient to climate risks. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning. Proseminar.View All Courses
Connections and Careers
The Business of Sustainability — A Career in Impact Investing
A few years out of Hamilton, Jessica Pedersen ’15 realized she wanted to be part of an enterprise with a mission, which led her to Pacific Community Ventures, a nonprofit that works to build a more sustainable, inclusive economy.