Farms, petroculture and the Environmental Nexus: Four new environmental studies courses and ENV 200 for Spring 2018

PEI Staff ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

Four new environmental studies courses and the popular “Environmental Nexus” class are among the many Spring 2018 classes from PEI’s Certificate Program in Environmental Studies. Registration begins Dec. 6.

The art of the global oil addiction and the evolution of food production. The connection between climate and weather, and shifting perceptions of how humans have seen themselves and nature.

These topics constitute the four new environmental studies courses being offered in Spring 2018 through the Princeton Environmental Institute’s Certificate Program in Environmental Studies. A full list of environmental studies courses for the spring semester are available through the registrar. Registration begins Dec. 6.

The environmental studies program also is offering ENV 200: “The Environmental Nexus” for the second time. Offered for the first time in Spring 2017, this popular one-of-a-kind course is open to all undergraduates and addresses global environmental crises from multiple perspectives, including scientific, political, social and ethical viewpoints. The course consists of three weekly lectures led by the instructors and guest speakers. Students also choose one of six precepts, each fulfilling a different distribution requirement.

The instructors for 2018 are Steve Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, who developed the course, as well as Lori Gruen, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Center for Human Values; Robert Nixon, the Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Family Professor in Humanities and the Environment and professor of English and the Princeton Environmental Institute; and Marc Fleurbaey, the Robert E. Kuenne Professor in Economics and Humanistic Studies and professor of public affairs and the University Center for Human Values. Several additional faculty, researchers and outside experts also participate in the course.

The four new courses are briefly described below.

ENV 303/EEB 303: Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment

Dan RubensteinTaught by Dan Rubenstein, the Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology and Director of the Program in Environmental Studies, this course explores the ethical, environmental, economic, social and health implications of our food choices. Students will examine the many ways that people acquire food, from hunter-gatherers to large-scale agriculture and sustainable farming. Foods themed to the week’s lecture will be served at each class. Students also will observe various agricultural techniques being carried out on University farmland. Enrollment is by application only. Students can contact Undergraduate Administrator Angela Petsis to apply. This course fulfills the Science and Technology without Lab (STN) distribution requirement.


ENV 332/ENG 437: Petrofiction

Eco-justice scholar Ashley Dawson, PEI’s Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities, will explore the ways in which the wealth and ruin of the global oil addiction are unevenly distributed across national, ethnic, racial and economic strata. Students will examine literature, film, music and visual arts that depict the often-hidden social and environmental costs of oil so that these inequalities might be challenged and transformed. This course fulfills the Literature and the Arts (LA) distribution requirement.


ENV 348/ARC 348: The Modern Environmental Imagination: People, Place, Planet

Chad MonfredaIn this course, Chad Monfreda, postdoctoral research associate in PEI, explores the evolution of the environmental imagination — the ways in which people have imagined themselves and nature — from the European Age of Exploration to the global environmental politics of today. The class examines how this change has shaped modern science and politics, as well as how the arts and sciences are now reimagining humans and nature in order to grapple with urbanization, biodiversity loss and climate change. This course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) distribution requirement.


ENV 354/GEO 368: Climate and Weather: Order in the Chaos

vecchie_g.jpgGabriel Vecchi, Professor of Geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, will focus on the relationship between climate and weather — individual weather events are constrained by the large-scale factors that constitute climate. Climatic aspects such as geography, energy and water cycling, El Niño, and greenhouse gases will be used to interpret weather statistics, including heat waves, floods and hurricanes and typhoons. This course fulfills the Science and Technology without Lab (STN) distribution requirement.