Environment and Human Values

Course Description

What is “the environment,” and what sorts of relationships do humans have with it? Do we shape the environment? Are we shaped by it? Is the environment something to use, manipulate, or protect? This course introduces sources from the environmental humanities to get at some of these questions, and how different ideas about the environment have impacted how humans interact with it. The historical and anthropological case studies that frame this course aim to trouble assumptions about what makes a successful (or unsuccessful) environmental(ist) project.

Throughout the semester, students will develop and improve upon reading, writing, and critical thinking. These skills include synthesizing information from a variety of different kinds of sources, completing clearly argued essays in response to them, and discussing these topics within a group amongst peers. Students will also explore a topic related to the course that is important to them, interrogating the issue using the questions posed throughout the course and culminating in a final project.

Features chapters from various texts, including:

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