Undergrads: Spring Geography Environment Courses

270-Geography of International Development and Environmental Change

A theme of this course is ‘connection’. Our lives are interconnected with those distant from us. Humanity and its environments are closely entwined, too. Many important questions in the world today are ‘geographical’ in such ways: What’s happening with water? Poverty? Forests? Population? Land? Economy? Cities? Climate? Technology? How are these related within a particular place? How do they connect across the world? Not everyone sees such issues in the same terms, nor responds to them in the same ways. We will compare and contrast different ways of understanding these complex histories and geographies, examine various responses in the present, and even look at distinct visions for the future. You’ll leave this course with a much deeper and more integrative understanding of some of the key issues that face us, whether as citizens, as entrepreneurs, as government officials, as scientists, as activists, or as thinking, curious, caring beings.

473- Geographies of Energy and Sustainability

This upper-division geography seminar aims to complicate taken-for-granted assumptions about sustainability and the role of energy in society.  What role(s) have fossil fuels played in American history and culture, globalization, and the rise of neoliberal capitalism? How is the “fossil fuel hegemony” being challenged by resistance efforts in the Pacific Northwest, the Niger Delta, Alberta’s oil sands, and beyond? To what extent do other forms of energy—hydropower, nuclear, wind, solar, and geothermal—serve as sustainable and just alternatives to fossil fuels? How do visions of sustainability differ, and what accounts for these differences? In addressing these questions, we will focus our attention on the political, economic, and cultural forces by which particular energy landscapes are constructed, maintained, and dismantled.

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