Courses

ENVS115Environmental Science In this course you will (1) build a basic understanding of the physical and natural systems that make up the biosphere on Earth (land, water, atmosphere, and life) stressing the dynamics of these interconnected systems; (2) develop a scientific understanding of the causes and consequences of several of the major environmental problems facing today's society; (3) acquire the tools to enable you to think critically about other current and future environmental challenges you will face as a member of contemporary society. One weekend field trip is required. Intended for non-majors and as an entry to the Environmental Studies Concentration.
ENVS/BIOL195Science and Social Justice Why does anyone become a scientist? What problems do you want to solve? This course is intended for first year students who are interested in exploring the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and also want to empower their communities to address some of society's most vexing problems. We will take an interdisciplinary scientific approach to issues such as lead in pipes and paint, sinking coastal cities, contested genomes, and conflicts between technology and culture. At the same time we will necessarily confront intersecting ethical and social factors that set the context for these issues, such as race, gender, citizenship status, colonial history, and access to healthcare and education. No prior knowledge of any scientific discipline is required to be successful in this course, although we will be doing science. Note: You must co-enroll in the laboratory section of this course.
ENVS/ANSO350Political Histories of Western Environmental Thought This course explores a partial (Western) history of how humans have understood themselves in relation to nature. To do so, this course relies on a landmark text in the field along with a series of primary texts, tracing the continuities and ruptures in thought during different historical periods have engaged with the idea of nature and the place of the human within it. Although, the course relies mostly on a broadly defined Western thought tradition in this course but students are encouraged to undertake research on other traditions and bring those into the classroom.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ENVS/ANSO365Humans and Non-Humans What does it mean to be human? What is the history of the notion of the human, and who or what has been excluded from it? What does it mean to study non-humans through a humanistic frame? How can we know non-human beings? What kinds of knowledges exist at the edges of the discourse on the human? This course will introduce students to these issues through a combination of readings that engage with the field known as new materialisms to consider the ways in which the study of humanity has been challenged by new modes of thinking about being, producing situated answers to these questions.
ENVS/SEMN401Energy & Environmental Policy Worldwide National patterns of energy use and approaches to environmental policy vary over a wide range around the World. An intelligent analysis of these divergent behaviors and their environmental and financial consequences requires input from the fields of Science, Political Science, and Economics, and is also informed by international experiences. Possible careers involving environmental science, engineering and politics/policy will be discussed. Prerequisite: Senior standing and ECON 235, POLS-105, POLS-106, or POLS-267
ENVS490Environmental Studies Senior Seminar Examination and analysis of selected contemporary environmental and resource problems and issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. In addressing these issues, special attention is given to the application and integration of principles, theories, and analytical techniques introduced in the core courses. Topics covered in the seminar are likely to vary annually as new problems, policies, and solutions develop. Prerequisite: Core courses plus senior standing, or permission.
ENVS/BIOL495Urban Ecology Currently, over 50% of the world population lives in urban or urbanizing areas. This course examines the ecology and thoughtful management of urban systems. We will assess how social, biological, physical, and chemical sciences act on urban ecosystems and we will apply these branches of science to issues currently faced by urban inhabitants (plants and animals). We will also discuss how urban planning affects issues related to climate change, social justice, human health, pollution, ecosystem health, and aesthetics. Without humans, there would be no urban areas, therefore we will pay particular attention to how humans fit into and change ecosystems.Prerequisite: Must have taken BIOL-115 or BIOL-224. Open to students with Junior or Senior standing. Initially open to students with Biology Major or ENVS Concentration.
ENVS593Senior Individualized Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details. Prerequisite: Permission of Program Director and SIP supervisor required.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.