New and Revised Spring 2019 EVST Courses

January 8, 2019

Energy and Environmental Policy Solutions for the Anthropocene (EVST 227)

  • W 9:25-11:15am
  • Robert Klee, recent Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Study of innovative energy and environmental policy solutions for the problems of the Anthropocene – the new epoch of human dominance of the earth.  Students will explore policies for effective deployment of renewables, smart grids, corporate responsibility, emerging contaminants, zero emission vehicles, environmental information disclosure, carbon sequestration, climate adaptation, sustainable cities, and environmental education. Students will critically examine these policies through the lenses of equity and environmental justice, economic impacts (positive and negative), co-benefits, communication, legal governance systems, and politics. Read his syllabus here.
  • EVST concentrations: Energy & Environment, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy.

Global Food Challenges: Environmental Politics and Law (EVST 255/PLSC 215)

  • MW 11:35am-12:25pm
  • John Wargo, Chair, Environmental Studies Major and Program; Professor of Environmental Health and Political Science at F&ES and Political Science
  • SS credit
  • Newly revised with focus on food
  • Explores relations among food, environment, health, and law. Considers global-scale avoidable challenges such as: starvation & malnutrition, obesity, other food related human diseases, climate instability, soil loss, water depletion & contamination, microbial hazards, chemical contamination, food waste, dietary convergence, air pollution, energy, packaging, culinary globalization, and biodiversity loss. Focuses on laws that influence the world’s food system, including those intended to reduce or prevent environmental and health damages. Ethical concerns of justice, equity, and transparency are prominent themes. Examples of effective law, consumer movements and corporate innovations provide optimism for the future of responsible food. 
  • EVST concentrations: Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy, Food & Agriculture, Human Health & the Environment

The History of US Development Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa: enhanced archival data analysis (AFST 378/EVST 378)

  • TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • Russell Barbour, Associate Research Scientist in Biostatistics; Associate Director for Research Methods and Analysis, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; Lecturer for Statistics and Data Science; Associate Director for Research Methods and Analysis, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS
  • SS credit
  • Reviews the many years of U.S. development assistance to Africa using archival data from the Agency for International Development (USAID), nonprofit organizations, and specialized agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and nineteen U.S. government agencies involved in development assistance to Africa. Students analyze the effectiveness, perception, and shifting development paradigms of such assistance, looking at four specific areas: agriculture, water and sanitation, child survival, and refugee relief. Advanced text-mining analysis in the R package tm and web-scraping algorithms in Python are applied to both archival and current data to enhance analysis.
  • EVST concentrations: Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy, Food & Agriculture, Human Health & the Environment

The History of the Earth from Noah to Darwin (HSHM 479/EVST 368)

  • T 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Ivano Dal Prete, Lecturer, History and HSHM; Director of Undergraduate Studies, HSHM
  • WR and HU credit
  • Young earth creationism and flood geology have long been among the most divisive features of American culture and politics. Yet a basic postulate is shared across the spectrum: for better or worse, the old age of the Earth is regarded as the recent product of a secular science, consistently rejected by traditional Christianity. This seminar challenges this long-established narrative, by uncovering the surprising boldness, complexity, and societal diffusion of pre-modern debates on the history of the Earth, and of humankind itself. Students have opportunity to explore the nature, assumptions, and methods of Earth sciences before the advent of modern geology, to question ingrained assumptions about their relation to religion and society, and to place outstanding issues into historical perspective. How have the great monotheistic religions dealt with the possibility of an ancient Earth? Was a young creation always important in traditional Christianity? If not, what led to the emergence of young Earth creationism as a force to be reckoned with? What are the intellectual roots of American preadamism, which claims that the black and white races were created at different times and do not descend from the same ancestor? These and other questions are addressed not only through scholarly literature in the field, but also with the analysis of literary, visual, and material sources available on campus. 
  • EVST concentrations: Environmental Humanities

American Energy History (HIST 199/EVST 318)

  • TTh 11:35am-12:25pm
  • Paul Sabin, Professor of History and American Studies; Director of Graduate Studies, History
  • HU credit
  • Explores the history of energy in the United States from early hydropower and coal to present-day hydraulic fracturing, deepwater oil, wind, and solar. Topics include: energy transitions and technological change; energy and democracy; environmental justice and public health; corporate power and monopoly control; electricity and popular culture; labor struggles; the global quest for oil; changing national energy policies; the climate crisis.
  • EVST concentrations: Energy & the Environment, Environmental Humanities, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy

Colonialism Commodities in Africa (HIST 366/EVST 369)

  • W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Robert Harms, Henry J. Heinz Professor of History & African Studies
  • WR and HU credit
  • Examines historical case studies of several significant global commodities produced in Africa to explore interactions between world market forces and African resources and societies. Through the lens of four specific commodities–ivory, rubber, cotton, and diamonds–this course evaluates diverse industries and their historical trajectories in sub-Saharan Africa within a global context from ~1870-1990s. Students become acquainted with the historical method by developing their own research paper on a commodity using both primary and secondary sources.
  • EVST concentrations: Environmental Humanities, Environmental Justice

The City in Modern East Asia (EAST 404/EVST 403)

  • M 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • Michael Thornton, Postdoctoral Associate in East Asian Studies and Lecturer in History
  • HU credit 
  • Cities in East Asia developed into cosmopolitan urban centers in the modern era. They hosted encounters with Western empires and witnessed the rise of new forms of participatory politics; they not only reflected the broader efforts of their respective nation-states to modernize and industrialize, but also produced violent reactions against state regimes. They served as nodes in networks of migrants, commerce, and culture that grew more extensive in the modern era. In these ways, the history of East Asian urbanism is the history of the fluidity and dynamism of urban society and politics in the context of an increasingly interconnected modern world. We study cosmopolitan cities across East Asia from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. A comparative approach allows us to explore both general trends and themes, and distinct historical experiences across the countries of the region. Specific seminar topics include: urban politics, including state-society relations; cities as sites of geopolitical and imperial encounters; changes in urban society, including the impact of migration and social conflict; the urban environment, including natural and man-made disasters; urban planning, at the local, national and transnational scale; and ways of visualizing the city.
  • EVST concentrations: Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy, Urban Environments