Students in environmental studies develop a variety of tools and perspectives by doing coursework in several disciplines. After completing a series of foundational courses, majors select a divisional focus in either Natural Sciences or Social Sciences/Humanities. To develop an area of expertise, students also take a number of elective courses in a specific department at the College. In order to better understand scientific concepts and research as well as the arguments used in environmental debates, all ES majors regardless of focus division must also take one course in data analysis and/or statistics.
Students are strongly encouraged to explore a diversity of environmental studies courses early in their Hamilton career. The ES foundational courses include two lab science courses: one in Geosciences and one in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. First-years are strongly encouraged to take an introductory Geosciences course because several of them are only open to first-year students, and one of the lab science courses. Other foundational courses open to first-year students include ES 150: Environmental Science and Society, Government 285: Introduction to Environmental Politics, English 267: Literature and the Environment, and Philosophy 235: Environmental Ethics. The ES concentration consists of a total of 13 courses plus ES 550 (the senior project), so if you are contemplating majoring in ES, you should begin your coursework in your first semester.
Environmental Science and Society.
An introduction to environmental science. Emphasis on scientific understanding of the causes and implications of, and potential solutions for, problems that result from human interactions with the environment. Current environmental problems examined from an ecological perspective. ES 150 is not required for the ES major. (Same as Biology 150.) Environmental Studies and related faculty.
Religion in the Wild.
Jesus, Moses, Siddharta, and Mohammed all had significant experiences in the wilderness. These experiences shaped their lives and the religious traditions that they helped found. We will read from and about philosophers, mystics, and spiritual seekers who have gone to untamed spaces for inspiration. We will then turn toward the modern world, and its ongoing spiritual/secular impact, reading works by H.D. Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Gary Snyder, Sara Maitland, and Jonathan Franzen, and look at films including Into the Wild and The Straight Story. (Writing-intensive.) Instructor's Permission Only. (Same as Religious Studies 155.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Making Modern Cities.
This course examines the design of buildings and cities by professional architects, urban planners, and developers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also addresses utopian projects and theoretical texts that have influenced modern design. We will furthermore illuminate in western and non-western contexts the relationships between the architecture of cities and economic and political processes. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 156.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Trivedi.
Environmental History: An Introduction.
This course introduces students to environmental history by examining both foundational scholarship and new research in the field. It will explore the methods and sources—including texts, images, sounds, artifacts, and site visits—that historians use to uncover the natural environment’s past. As an introduction to the history of the natural environment, this course equips students to pursue new areas of inquiry and provide them with a different lens through which to view familiar topics. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 157.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Simons.
Carbon Footprints and Sustainability.
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.) This course is open to first-year students only. (First Year Course). Maximum enrollment, 20. Aaron Strong.
May the Forest Be with You: Ecology and Youth Literature.
Examination of issues that address environment concerns popular in German-speaking nations from the conservative idealism of the late 19th century to the radical environmentalism of the 1960s. Close readings of texts informed by theory and other media such as film, music, and technology. The goal of this course is to better understand these works, the ecological questions they raise, and how they intersect with the culture(s), history, media, politics, economy, and identity in modern Europe. Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. (Same as German Studies 167.) Burwick.
Gateway to Environmental Studies.
This course presents the core literature, theories, and concepts in environmental studies, with a focus on the emerging discipline of sustainability science. It will provide a comprehensive foundation for interdisciplinary study of contemporary environmental issues that will prepare students for more advanced work on the biophysical, social and human dimensions of environmental problems, including problems at the food-energy-water-climate nexus. The course will also introduce a series of analytical tools and methodological approaches to environmental research design in environmental studies. Prerequisite, Two Environmental Studies or related courses, or permission of the instructor; preference will be given to sophomores choosing to major in Environmental Studies. This course is a required component of the Environmental Studies concentration and preference is given to sophomores planning to major in Environmental Studies. Aaron Strong.
This course investigates the scientific, social, economic and political dimensions of anthropogenic climate change, including our scientific understanding of its causes, its local and planetary human and ecological impacts, and the potential for technological, social and policy solutions. Throughout the course, we critically examine the roles of public policy and international negotiations in developing equitable mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat the totalizing problem of our times. Prerequisite, One semester of science or permission of instructor for first year students. (Same as Government 212 and Geosciences 212.) Maximum enrollment, 25. Strong.
Landscapes: People, Place, and the Past.
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. Prerequisite, 106 or consent of instructor. (Same as Anthropology 218.) Maximum enrollment, 24. Colin Quinn.
Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park.
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. Prerequisite, one course in literature, biology, geology or environmental studies. May count toward a concentration in environmental studies. Field trip required. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall. Oral Presentations (Fall-2 sections); Writing-intensive (Spring). (Same as College Courses and Seminars 220.) Maximum enrollment, 14. Environmental Studies and related faculty.
MATLAB for Earth and Environmental Sciences.
A basic introduction to the MATLAB® programming language and computing environment as a tool for studying the Earth. We will explore Earth science questions using image analysis, numerical modeling, and the visualization of real data while covering the fundamentals of working in the command window, using arithmetic and logical operations, calling built-in functions, and writing scripts. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Restricted to declared Geoscience or Environmental Science concentrators, or by permission of the instructor. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Same as Geosciences 226.) Maximum enrollment, 13. K Murray.
Thought for Food: The Culture and Politics of Food.
A multi-disciplinary approach to study of the food system. Examination of the origins of culinary traditions, contemporary politics of the food movement, the GMO debate, food sovereignty, hunger and food security, and Slow Food. Laboratory sessions include activities in the Community Farm, tastings, and cooking instruction with the college. (Same as College Courses and Seminars 236.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Guttman.
Food for Thought Introduction to the Science of Food.
An interdisciplinary exploration of food with focus on nutrition biology of food and food science; the history of food and contemporary issues related to food production and the food industry. Tastings, films, gardening. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, one course in Biology or Chemistry. (Same as College Courses and Seminars 237.) Maximum enrollment, 16. J Townsend.
Interpreting the American Environment.
A survey of responses to and interpretations of the American landscape. Study of historical, political, literary, and critical texts. Puts contemporary environmentalism in a historical and geographical perspective. Emphasis on changing notions of wilderness, urban development and the cultural contexts of expansion and development. Environmental Studies and related faculty.
Gender and Environment.
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.) (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 255.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Political Ecology of Tourism.
This course explores the environmental implications of the global tourism industry. Case studies of tourism in the Caribbean and East Asia offer perspectives on environmental histories of tourism; the political ecology of consumption; and problems of cultural authenticity and place-making. Students will draw on ethnographic and policy-based readings. By studying the patterns and governance of one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors, students will investigate "tourism" as both a cause and effect of globalization and its attendant localization movements. (Same as Anthropology 263.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Andrea Murray.
Introduction to Environmental Politics.
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. Students will explore these topics directly and through selected policy issues, including forest politics, sprawl and climate change. (American Politics) (Same as Government 285.)
Political Theory and the Environment.
What is the relationship between theorizing about politics and theorizing about nature? Explores how conceptions of the natural world and our relationship to it have shaped political thought since ancient times and how contemporary "green" political thinkers attempt to craft principles for an ecologically responsible society. (Political Theory) (Same as Government 287.) Cannavó.
Seminar on Climate Risk and Resilience.
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.) Prerequisite, One Environmental Studies Science Foundation course. Maximum enrollment, 16. Strong.
Seminar: Native Ecologies.
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of indigenous peoples. Drawing upon scholarship from such diverse fields as acoustic ecology, ethno-ecology, ethnography, geography, environmental history, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and religious studies, we will examine indigenous knowledge about particular species and relationships between them. (Same as Religious Studies 310.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Environmental Justice Law and Policy.
This writing-intensive course examines environmental justice from a policy and legal perspective. The course reviews the development and goals of the movement, evidence and causes of inequitable distribution of environmental hazards, critiques of the movement, and legal and policy responses. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Africana Studies, Government, Environmental Studies, or Women's and Gender Studies. Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 20. Alma Lowry.
The History of American Exploration and Outdoor Adventure.
This research course examines how the history and culture of the United States is bound up with that of the discovery and exploration of the New World. A focus on the meaning of that legacy for Americans from the 19th century on. Topics covered will include military exploration and surveys of the west, the development of a wilderness and a conservation ethic, and the growth of mountaineering and similar outdoor endeavors. (same as Environmental Studies 354.) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level U.S. history course, or consent of instructor. (Same as History 354.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
The History and Literature of Himalayan Mountaineering, from the 19th Century to the Present.
Examines Himalayan mountaineering over the past 150 years, and its roots in imperial expansion, national competition, and cultural and social evolution. Topics include mountaineering in the age of empire, George Leigh-Mallory’s death on Everest, American mountaineering in the Himalaya, conquest of the 8,000 meter peaks, Sherpas' role in mountaineering, and the rise of commercial mountaineering. Special attention to mountaineering on Everest. Includes an optional two-week, spring break trip: students, supervised by Hamilton's Outdoor Leadership program, will trek in Nepal's Everest region. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 367.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Maurice Isserman.
Survey of the conservation of biological diversity from genes to populations to ecosystems. We will explore current ideas and literature in protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem function. Discussion of ecological foundations, techniques to study conservation (e.g., technological, molecular, habitat restoration), and policy issues. We will examine causes of diversity loss such as habitat loss, and how conservation planning can help mitigate losses in the face of continuing anthropogenic pressures such as fragmentation, pollutants and climate change. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, One laboratory science course. (Same as Biology 373.) Maximum enrollment, 16. C Briggs.
Preparatory Research for Senior Project.
Students doing experiments, data-gathering, or other significant empirical or field work in preparation for their senior project should carry out this work prior to taking 550 and under the guidance of their thesis adviser. This research course is generally done in the fall of senior year, but in certain circumstances may be completed in the spring of junior year or the summer before senior year. Depending on the extent of their research, students may take this course for full or half credit. Environmental Studies and related faculty.
An independent study developed in consultation with a faculty advisor and the environmental studies advisory committee to explore in detail an environmental topic, culminating in a substantial research paper and oral presentation. Proposals for Senior Projects are developed with a faculty advisor and submitted to the ES advisory committee prior to course registration. Prerequisite, Permission of instructor. The Program.