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Featured Courses

EHUM 6101: Foundations of Environmental Humanities

Dr. Brett Clark

Foundations  is designed to introduce students to the broad foundations of environmental thought; it is a survey of cultural, ethical, historical, social, communication, and literary perspectives representing environmental humanities inquiry. Emphasis is placed on theoretical and research traditions. We will study an array of themes, issues, questions, and debates within the humanities and sciences. We will explore how human societies affect the environment, and how human societies are shaped by the environment, as well as how we come to recognize and understand changing environmental conditions. We will address issues associated with knowledge, meaning, justice, crisis, and sustainability. At the end of the class the student will be able: 1) to evaluate major debates and perspectives within environmental thought; 2) to explicate concepts and ideas associated with the major paradigms; 3) to detail the historical development of environmental thought; 4) to apply different theories to the social and natural world; 5) to develop an informed perspective and approach to evaluate contemporary environmental problems, issues associated with justice/equality, and society/nature relationships; and (6) topropose paths of transformation and alternative futures.

EHUM 6102: Field Methods in Environmental Humanities

Dr. Diana Leong

Field Methods is the second foundations course for the Environmental Humanities Program; it is designed to introduce the research methods available to scholars of the environmental humanities. As an inherently interdisciplinary field, environmental humanities has no predetermined or required research methods. Indeed, environmental humanities scholars employ a variety of analytical approaches that are determined by the scale, scope, and content of their research questions. By examining a set of exemplary texts – or “touchstones” – that draw on one or more of these approaches, we will aim for a better understanding of how and in what ways different research methods can enhance the pursuit of environmentally-oriented projects. Unlike traditional methods classes, you will not emerge with expertise in a particular methodology. Rather, as our reading and discussion schedule indicates, you will receive an introductory base of knowledge about different methods (e.g., ecocriticism, ethnography, visual studies, creative non-fiction), and our expectation is that you will use this knowledge to develop and articulate your own methodological focus.

EHUM 6103: Ecology of Residency

Dr. Julia Corbett

This required field course allows Environmental Humanities students to collectively explore ecology and the process of writing in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Taft-Nicholson Center in the Centennial Valley will be our focal point for considering a much broader question: how do we engage and/or embed ourselves – intellectually, physically, and emotionally – in the larger “natural” or beyond-human world? What considerations does ecology present for the “fact of living in a place”? Even when we don’t consciously “see” the world beyond our own species, how do we remain in interrelationships with all organisms, elements, and processes? Our course will be diverse and rich in activities: readings, walks and field trips, discussions, guest speakers and scientists, shared meals, evening presentations, and intensive personal writing time. In our meetings, we will contemplate ecological concepts, the natural history and wonder of other beings in this valley, and one another. Collectively and individually, we will explore our brief residency and habitation in this place.

EHUM 6804: Tertulia

Dr. Jeffrey McCarthy

Tertulia explores topics in the environmental humanities, place-based study, and environmentalism as a social movement. This course introduces students to current issues and debates in environmentalism. Tertulia is designed to build community among Environmental Humanities students and to integrate academic work with environmental activism. Our meetings offer us a flexible setting for discussing environmental topics and participating in the world around us. This means we will engage a specific concept each meeting through reading and discussion. We will also use the course to hear from environmental thinkers, visit places to see the environmental humanities in action, and push forward with professional and graduation goals.

EHUM 6850: Issues In Environmental Humanities: Biodiversity & Narrative

Dr. Elizabeth Callaway

Issues in Environmental Humanities is offered each semester to investigate central issues in the field of environmental humanities. The course is shaped toward master’s students in the Environmental Humanities program, and emerges from our faculty’s research specialties. The issues considered will vary with faculty member expertise, and will extend to the most important conversations in this emerging field. During Fall 2018, Dr. Lizze Callaway explores biodiversity and narrative. Biodiversity discourse has roots in colonial natural history, and draws upon tropes like the Edenic island paradise, Noah’s ark, the tree of life, and the balance of nature. Simultaneously, representations of biodiversity tap into science fiction stories like time travel, apocalypse, and the fantasy of eternal life granted via migration to the “cloud.” We will explore these narratives, genres, and tropes that are drawn upon in representations of biodiversity, revealing that biodiversity is not a matter of counting species so much as a matter of narrative.

EHUM 6105 EH Writing Seminar: Tectonic Essays

Gretchen Henderson - Annie Clark Tanner Teaching and Research Fellowship in the Environmental Humanities

This course is required for all first year students and offered as an option to second-years as well as non-EH students. The goal of this class is to engage writing and environmental humanities through a material, multi-sensory, inter-disciplinary focus and framework. The course aims to help students to develop a critical-creative practice honed by deep reading and writing and sustained by contemplative attention. Throughout the semester students will reflect on what it means to be “human” in a world of entangled human, animal, and other presences. Additionally, as this is a writing seminar, skills for effectively read, write, analyze, articulate, and critique work by writers and peers will be honed through peer-reviews and workshopping. By the end of the course, clear connections will have been fostered between classroom and the larger environment.

Students will use ‘field notebooks’ to house in-class notes, reading notes and quotes, thoughts that relate to the course and anything else that they feel fuels their explorations. Each week, writing assignments will allow students to test different forms of expression relating to weekly reading assignments. In-class speakers and field trips offer different perspectives and enrich the classroom environment.

 

EHUM 6850 Issues in Environmental Humanities:The Blue Humanities: Ocean Pasts, Ocean Futures

Jeffery McCarthy

Issues in Environmental Humanities is offered each semester to investigate central issues in the field of environmental humanities. The course is shaped toward master’s students in the Environmental Humanities program, and emerges from our faculty’s research specialties. The issues considered will vary with faculty member expertise, and will extend to the most important conversations in this emerging field.

During Spring 2019, EH Director, Jeff McCarthy will guide students in their exploration of oceans. To do this, the course will explore a new area of study called the Blue Humanities and will engage relevant literary, historical, legal, philosophical and theoretical treatments of the ocean. Throughout the semester, climate change, literary representation, policy, gender, indigenous experience, recreation and law will inform student’s study. Students are also invited to attend Re-Valuing the Ocean: Perspectives from the law, the Sciences, and the Blue Humanities, a 2-day symposium hosted by Environmental Humanities and the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

 

COMM 5360 Environmental Communication

Julia Corbett

From the Department of Communication, this course examines the ways that we continually communicate (verbally and nonverbally, visually, and through actions and practices) about the natural world or environment around us. Environmental communication interprets and defines all that is beyond human and thus shapes individual and societal values and choices. It influences where we see “nature” and our relationship with it. The course analyzes and critiques popular culture communication about the environment (advertising, food, entertainment, consumption, and leisure), environmental ideology and identity (with roots in childhood), and mediated forms of environmental communication (mass media, public relations and government). 

 

COMM 5365 Communicating Climate Change

Julia Corbett

This course, through the Department of Communication, explores the major players in climate communication: the public, mass media, climate scientists and their deniers, and institutions. Scholars have called climate change the most difficult communication challenge of the century. Communication plays a major role at all levels of social change to address climate change and involves far more than simply providing more information. The course also examines the efficacy of social change at various levels of communication: individual, small groups and peer networks, activism, community and place-based, institutional, and cultural (including art, music and literature). Students practice friendly climate conversations and undertake communication action or research.

EHUM 6900 Special Topics in Environmental Humanities

Jeffery McCarthy

This is a one-credit course offered each Spring semester. While the special topic changes, the focus of the course is a field trip to the Bonderman Field Station, near Moab, UT. Students will read and discuss several texts with one key topic income throughout the semester. The weekend trip to Rio Mesa provides an opportunity for the class to discuss the readings in detail, connect with the environmental and dream into new ideas.

EHUM 6804: Tertulia

Jeffrey McCarthy

Tertulia explores topics in the environmental humanities, place-based study, and environmentalism as a social movement. This course introduces students to current issues and debates in environmentalism. Tertulia is designed to build community among Environmental Humanities students and to integrate academic work with environmental activism. Our meetings offer us a flexible setting for discussing environmental topics and participating in the world around us. This means we will engage a specific concept each meeting through reading and discussion. We will also use the course to hear from environmental thinkers, visit places to see the environmental humanities in action, and push forward with professional and graduation goals.

 

The Environmental Humanities Program encourages students to explore courses in other departments within the College of Humanities. Find University of Utah’s course schedules here.

Last Updated: 2/11/19