Fall 2023 core environmental studies courses
ENVS 260 Media and the Anthropocene
ENVS 280 Environmental History of the Modern Middle East
ENVS 287 Environmental Hispanic Literature
ENVS 295 Philosophy of Nature
HIST 212 Japan, East Asia, and the Pacific World (students planning to use this course to fulfill a core environmental studies requirement need to discuss this with Professor Robert LaFleur and with their environmental studies advisor during the first week of the semester to plan the coursework accordingly.)
We offer many more methods and skills environmental studies courses that do not have an “ENVS” designation. You will find them on the portal under the Fall 2023 schedule, listed by their parent department. The list of course requirements for each environmental studies major is available here.
Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.
This course has two main themes: First, the most pressing environmental problems, such as climate change, are directly connected to the production and consumption of energy. Second, the design and critique of environmental policies must be grounded in a solid understanding of economics. (Also listed as Economics 205.) (3B) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: Economics 199.
According to estimates by the United Nations, by 2030 the share of the world’s population living in urban areas will reach 60%, with the fastest growing cities located in low-income countries. This course examines the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability in cities. Policies and programs that try to address the challenges of sustainability within the United States and around the world are studied and compared. Some of the major themes explored in the context of the sustainability of cities are indicators of sustainability, demographic trends, environmental justice, green building, urban sprawl, global climate change, and sustainable energy and transportation policies. (Also listed as Political Science 210.) Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level political science or environmental studies course.
This is an advanced language and composition course with a twist: the course focuses on environmental writing, activism, and culture in French and Francophone literature, culture, media, and film. Students revise and perfect grammar and composition through exploring the zero waste movement spearheaded by Zero Waste France and the governmental projects to reduce waste. As students work through media, literature, film, government documents, and public-facing educational projects, they move toward final projects to draft a proposal and create presentations to make Beloit “plus vert” (“more green”). This course covers complex grammar points, oral expression, vocabulary building, and writing for diverse audiences. It particularly emphasizes written expression through structured writing assignments, in order to build confidence in communication skills, productive collaboration, and the ability to address, respond to, and solve local problems. Required of all majors. (1S) (Also listed as FREN 215.) Prerequisite: French 210 or equivalent. AFTER ON-LINE REGISTRATION CLOSES, MODERN LANGUAGES FACULTY REVIEW ALL LANGUAGE COURSE ENROLLMENTS TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A STUDENT HAS ENROLLED IN THE RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT LEVEL. IF NOT, THE STUDENT WILL BE CONTACTED BY THE DEPARTMENT TO DETERMINE WHETHER A DROP OR REGISTRATION IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE COURSE IS APPROPRIATE.
This writing seminar explores a variety of approaches in the evolving field called the “environmental humanities.” How can the humanities help students to communicate and respond to one of the most urgent challenges of our time–namely, global climate change? How can insights from the humanities shape a broader understanding of sustainability, climate justice, and global citizenship? While this class draws from many disciplines, its most prominent focus is literary and rhetorical. Students read and write climate fiction and consider how acts of communication, storytelling, and persuasion can positively influence both our current world and worlds of the future. (5T) (Also listed as WRIT 220.)
An examination of ethical questions related to the environment and our place in it. Special emphasis on issues concerning our moral responsibility to beings and entities that are physically, metaphysically, and/or temporally distant from us. These may include distant persons, nonhuman animals, natural objects, species, and ecosystems, as well as future iterations of these. (5T) (Also listed as Philosophy 224.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Philosophy 110 or 115, or sophomore standing.
Environmental Writing explores the relationship between individuals, society and the environment. It seeks a deeper understanding of natural processes and advocates a more thoughtful and ecologically sensitive relationship to nature. Environmental writing employs methods of journalism, including primary research and interviews. This course includes writing about science, sustainability and environmental justice. Assignments include profiles, extended features and reported essays. (Also taught as Journalism 225.) (2A) Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
As Native peoples, Africans, and Europeans came into contact with one another, their actions altered both the cultural and natural landscapes of the present-day United States. This course will focus on some of these actions, both intentional and unwitting, as we consider central questions of American environmental history from the colonial era through the present day. We will think about the ways that different cultural approaches to land, plants, and animals transform ecological systems, as well as the ways that different groups of people approach various landscapes. We will also consider environmental causes and consequences of otherwise familiar historical events, as well as the ways that class and, especially, race, affect people’s relationships with “the environment.” Additional topics include ideas and experiences of “nature”; slavery and the plantation system; the displacement of indigenous peoples; and the rise of environmentalism and its transformation by issues of inequality and justice. (5T) (Also listed as History 237/Critical Identity Studies 237.) Open to first-year students.
This course analyzes the key actors and institutions that shape economic globalization, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, multinational enterprises, governments such as the United States, China, the European Union, Japan, and the BRICS, and civil society, especially nongovernmental organizations. Examines the impact of globalization on trade, investment, finance, technology, development, and sustainability. This course fulfills one of the requirements for the international political economy major. (Also listed as Political Science 246.) Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 160 or consent of instructor.
Uncovers the relationships between politics and poverty on the one hand, and politics and development on the other. Investigates differing conceptions of development and the many different theoretical approaches to development. Drawing on case studies from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America topics covered may include: law and legal system reform; politics of HIV/AIDS; state capacity and efficiency; civil society and social movements; and resource mismanagement and conflict. (3B) (Also listed as Political Science 249.) Offered odd years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or consent of instructor.
Introduction to the roles and interaction of women within African society and in relation to the African state. Examines the formal and informal ways in which African women have entered and shaped the political sphere; as political activists, organizers, voters, politicians, lawyers, and policymakers. This course situates the study of African women in politics within the scholarship of developing world gender politics more broadly. (3B) (Also listed as Political Science 250.) Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or sophomore standing.
This course has a strong practical focus to help students develop skills for careers in sustainability. Students will work in groups on a semester-long sustainability project on campus and a simulation of a climate change summit. They learn about different ecologies, as well as the actors, institutions, and key issues in environmental policy-making, from the local level to the global, with special focus on climate change, class, environmental racism, environmental justice, activism, and empowerment. This course fulfills one of the requirements for the environmental studies major and minor. (3B) (Also listed as Political Science 255.) Offered every spring semester. Prerequisite: any 100-level political science or environmental studies course or consent of instructor.
This course introduces the students to climate change governance by focusing on the workings of the “International Regime for Climate Change.” It is organized around three sections. The first section explains “international regimes” (IR) and uses the IR for climate change as a case study, focusing on its key principles, rules, actors, and decision-making procedures. The second section takes a comparative approach to afford the students the opportunity to see how national societies are affected by climate change and addressing it. The third section is a simulation of the annual Conference of the Parties sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (Also listed as POLS 257.) Prerequisite: Political Science 110, 130, 160, or 180.
This course examines the theory and methods of computer-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their application to interdisciplinary topics such as urban and regional planning and environmental management. Students learn to collect and display various types of spatial data. Interpretation and analysis of spatial data are also emphasized. Through individual and group projects, students are encouraged to explore political, economic, sociological, and/or scientific topics that might benefit from spatial analysis. Lecture, discussion, computer laboratory, and possible field study. Offered every third semester. Prerequisite: 1 lab-science course, sophomore standing, or consent of instructor.
Many scientists and researchers across the globe now agree that the Anthropocene—the word proposed to describe a new geological epoch defined by the earth-shaping consequences of human activity—has arrived. This course explores the media landscape of the Anthropocene, focusing on various ways in which filmmakers, podcasters, and other digital storytellers are attempting to make sense of the challenges that humans face during this moment of profound geological and ecological change. In addition to examining the work of others, students are required to produce their own digital media projects, using a variety of audio, video, and web-based production tools. (2A) (Also listed as Media Studies 350/Journalism 350.) Offered every other year. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
This course will examine how social factors shape human interaction with, and understanding of, our natural environment. We will critically examine a variety of social institutions—political and economic systems, cultural traditions, governmental bodies and advocacy organizations, among others—that mediate and shape our relationship with the environment. Topics include the social construction of nature, discourse and agenda-setting within the media and the environmental movement, environmental justice issues and the possibility of sustainable societies. (Also listed as Sociology 271.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Sociology 100 or 150, or consent of instructor. Sociology 200 is suggested as well.
Designed to pursue topics in environmental studies that are not addressed in the regular core course offerings. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Meets environmentally related course requirement (#4) for Environmental Studies majors. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: sophomore standing and any 2 courses that satisfy the Environmental Studies major, or consent of instructor. The 2A, 1S, 3B, 4U, 5T domained versions of this course are, respectively, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286.
Using an eco-critical approach, this seminar course involves the study of Spanish-language literatures on themes involving the environment such as preservation, impacts of climate change on communities and peoples, sustainability, rural and urban development, food production, and environmental contamination and its effects. (5T) (Also taught as Spanish 282.) Prerequisite: Spanish 240.
Courses with environmental components. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Meets environmentally related concentration course requirement (#5) for Environmental Studies majors. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: varies with course offering or consent of instructor. The 1S, 2A, 3B, 4U, 5T domained versions of this course are, respectively, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295.
The dawn of the Anthropocene brings new incentives to examine human’s role in nature and their effect on the natural environment. In this course, we examine how the intersections of culture, folklore, and physical landscapes influence concepts of nature and environmental sustainability through the films and writings of Hayao Miyazaki. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will investigate the relationship between Miyazaki’s work and the challenges of cultural and environmental sustainability in Japan and the ways popular culture has been used to promote environmental sustainability and preserve biodiversity. (5T) (Also listed as JAPN 296.)
The senior colloquium provides a capstone opportunity for students of environmental studies. This course uses a variety of perspectives to examine human interactions with the environment and political and cultural responses to these interactions. Students may perform research, pursue an internship or other experiential opportunity, or bring previous experiences to the course. All students will reflect on these experiences, make a public presentation, and investigate professional opportunities in environmental studies. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: senior standing in an environmentally related major.
Research work under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
The writing of a substantial paper based on independent study or project. Qualified students may apply by submitting an application by the mid-point of the term prior to the term in which the honors research would be conducted; environmental studies program faculty will select a limited number of honors candidates each year. May be repeated for up to 1 unit of credit. Prerequisite: declared environmental studies major, senior standing, 3.4 minimum grade point average in courses required for the environmental studies major, an approved departmental honors application.
Work with faculty in classroom, laboratory, and field instruction of a class. Graded credit/no credit.
Work with faculty on a research project.