Winter '00 Course Guide

Courses in RC Environmental Studies (Division 366)

Winter Term, 2000 (January 5 April 26, 2000)

Take me to the Winter Term '00 Time Schedule for RC Environmental Studies.


Most RC courses are open to LS&A students and may be used to meet distribution requirements.

The quest for harmony between humans and the natural world requires understanding of nature, society, and our individual selves. The program in Environmental Studies encourages students to supplement their training in particular academic disciplines by exploring aspects of natural science, social science, and the humanities. The Program is not a concentration program, although a student may emphasize environmental studies in the LS&A Individual Concentration Program (ICP).

Environmental Studies 123, 124, and 240 offer broad overviews of the field and serve as introductions to more advanced work. Environmental Studies 420 and 421 offer opportunities for independent study. In these courses the student is responsible for defining a plan of study, enlisting others with similar interests if appropriate, and locating a faculty member willing to supervise the work. Environmental Studies 450 is a Capstone Seminar providing the opportunity for seniors, particularly those pursuing ICPs, to work together to compare diverse perspectives on human values and the environment.

Courses on environmental issues are offered by many different departments and programs in LS&A as well as in other colleges of the university. Students interested in the environment should explore each issue of the Time Schedule thoroughly, because many appropriate courses are offered at irregular intervals under unpredictable headings. Of particular interest are some of the University Courses.


RC Environ. St. 290. Special Topics in Environmental Studies.

Section 001 The Science and Politics of Global Warming. (2 credits)

Instructor(s): Henry Pollack (hpollack@umich.edu), Lana Pollack

Prerequisites & Distribution: One introductory course in environmental studies or permission of instructor. (2-4). (Excl).

Credits: (2-4).

Course Homepage: https://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2000/winter/lsa/envs/290/001.nsf

Few scientific topics have captured the public's attention in recent years as much as climate change. But as interesting and complex as the science underlying the investigations of climate change may be, it is paralleled by an equally fascinating debate in the national and international political arena. This undergraduate seminar will explore the relationship between scientific knowledge and speculation about climate change, and the political forces at work shaping national policy about environmental issues in general, and global warming in particular.

The course consists of lectures, readings, discussions, and a term-paper. The grade/evaluation is based on attendance, participation in discussion, and term paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Environ. St. 290. Special Topics in Environmental Studies.

Section 002 Our Common Future: Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of Sustainable Development. (4 credits). Meets with SNRE 270.002

Instructor(s): Lisa Curran (lcurran@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One introductory course in environmental studies or permission of instructor. (2-4). (Excl).

Credits: (2-4).

Course Homepage: http://www.biology.lsa.umich.edu/courses/nre270/

An interdisciplinary foundation of the concepts and strategies of sustainability from an ecological, economic, and sociopolitical perspective. The quest for sustainable development is the most critical, yet challenging, issues of our times. Defining what sustainable development is and how it ought to be accomplished is profoundly influencing government, academics, business, science, and people's culture and livelihoods at the local, national, and global scale. The disciplines of ecology, economics, sociology, and politics are experiencing major paradigm shifts that seek to re-address our proper role and influence on the planet and its resources.

Is knowledge (traditional, scientific and/or technical) relevant for addressing issues of sustainability? Can more accurate pricing, accounting and open markets redress environmental degradation and resource depletion? What are we sustaining? For whom? For how long? Who are the "stakeholders"? Are sustainability and economic growth incompatible? Is a new global ethic essential? Through readings, discussions, and assignments, we will explore the discourse, perspectives, methodologies, and limitations of interrelated disciplines all essential for charting a new common future. Full (book) case studies in environmental and natural resource issues from three major professional perspectives are presented as real working examples of how environmental policies and outcomes are shaped in practice. The aim is to foster critical thinking and to evaluate what we all can contribute to the pursuit of a sustainable biosphere.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Environ. St. 356/NR&E 308. Homeplace: Life in the Huron Valley.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): John Knott (jknott@umich.edu) , Paul Webb (pwebb@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (Excl).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.snre.umich.edu/~pwebb/homeplace/homeplace.html

This course is an interdisciplinary examination of interactions between humans and nature using the Huron River Valley as an example. The course will focus on excursions in Ann Arbor and the surrounding countryside to examine how life in the Huron Valley has been shaped by our particular environment and how humans over time have modified this environment with consequences both good and bad. The excursions will be supported by lectures, readings, and discussions examining literary and artistic views of nature as well as climate, ecosystem formation and function, social structures, and history. The extensive course pack includes a mix of historical, scientific, and literary materials.

This interdisciplinary course offers students an unusual opportunity to see what it means to try to understand a particular place well, with the help of various people in the community willing to make their expertise available. Our field trips are considerably more enjoyable than an indoor lab. These, and the culminating group projects on a particular place, were the highlight of the course for students the first time around. The field trips include an early one to the Bentley Library where the staff instructs students in the use of primary historical materials, an excursion to the Huron River Watershed Council (where the director talks about current issues concerning the river) followed by a visit to the Ann Arbor water treatment plant (where the chief engineer describes what is done to water taken from the river to make it drinkable), and an excursion to Ann Arbor Co-Housing and to the Community Farm (where the students do a little work) to explore alternate lifestyles.

Grades will be based on student writing in journals and assigned exercises, a collaborative research project involving a detailed study of a nearby place, and participation in class discussion.

A much fuller description of the course, with pictures from previous field trips, is available on the course webpage: http://www.snre.umich.edu/~pwebb/homeplace/homeplace.html.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 2 Waitlist Code: 1

RC Environ. St. 402. Special Problems in Environmental Studies.

Section 001 Planning the Metropolitan Region: Sprawl, Environment, and Race. (3 Credits). Meets With Urban Planning and American Culture 301.001

Instructor(s): Patrick McGovern (patmcgov@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Environ. Studies 240. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course will examine environmental planning, patterns of land use, and racial change in U.S. metropolitan regions. We will focus on the metropolitan region and consider the decline of central cities, suburban sprawl, and the formation of edge cities. The course will examine how urban planners and policymakers can intervene in ongoing processes to revitalize central cities, contain sprawl, reverse environmental degradation, and address social equity. The course will include a set of case studies from different regions, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and the local case of Detroit. We will examine the recent history of each case and the specific issues of physical development, environmental degradation, and racial inequality in each region. No prerequisites.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

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