Image courtesy of Barron Bixler

American Environmental Movements

In the twenty-first-century, environmental problems are often imagined to be problems of science, technology, and policy. This course starts from the idea that environmental problems are also problems of culture and history. An introduction to the environmental humanities, the course covers ideas that have shaped different forms of environmentalism and environmental science. The focus is U.S. environmental movements since the 1960s, with points of comparisons to other time periods and national contexts.

Art and Politics of Food

Food is central to histories of migration and globalization, work and leisure, inequality and reparative justice, industrialization and environmental health. This advanced seminar in American Studies investigates how current political movements that are responsive to these histories intersect with food as a site for creative expression and artistic experimentation. Through this lens, the seminar explores diverse visions of food systems and food cultures in the U.S.

Climate Science and Digital Culture

A six-week short course, the seminar investigates strategies of and challenges to communicating climate science in the context of digital media developments of the last two decades, with a particular focus on American journalism and social media cultures. Students examine and experiment with a range of media—including documentary, op-ed, data visualization, immersive storytelling, and virtual and augmented reality.

Creative Ecologies: American Environmental Narrative and Art, 1980-present

This seminar explores how writers and artists--alongside scientists and activists--have shaped American environmental thought from 1980 to today. The seminar asks: How do different media convey the causes and potential solutions to environmental challenges, ranging from biodiversity loss and food insecurity to pollution and climate change? What new art forms are needed to envision sustainable and just futures? Course materials include popular science writing, graphic narrative, speculative fiction, animation art, documentary film, and data visualization along with research from anthropology, ecology, history, literary studies, and philosophy.

Environmental Humanities in Theory and Practice (graduate seminar)

This seminar explores the concepts, methods, and projects that have shaped the environmental humanities (EH) as a transdisciplinary field, with a particular focus on the last twenty years. We will compare EH approaches to the environmental sciences and to environmental movements while considering the field’s intellectual commitments to narrative, epistemology, cultural critique, and social and ecological justice, among others. Alongside this work, we will examine current EH collaborations and centers that address extractive capitalism and the climate crisis through variously community-based, site-specific, and public work.

Environmental Narrative

Focused on American culture, this graduate seminar takes contemporary narrative as a rich subject for environmental studies in the period since global warming cohered as a scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change and a complex story about modernity. The guiding questions are: Can we define environmental narrative as a distinct rhetorical form? What is at stake in this category for both literary studies and environmental science? How does narrative take shape in prominent forms of science communication?

High-Tech Environmentalism

This course examines how digital media and new technologies shape environmentalism in the twenty-first century. Explores how the digital age is influencing ideas about wilderness, biodiversity, food, climate change and other major environmental issues of the twenty-first century.