Writing 111: Living in the Anthropocene (Juliet Patterson, English)
Section Description: How do ideas of “race” and “nature” shape environmental politics and policy? To what degree is environmental harm linked to social systems and power struggles among humans? How can we link theories of social inequality to theories of environmental studies? How can we imagine and enact change and justice in our lives and in the world in ways that are attentive to hierarchy, inequalities, systems of power, vastly different worldviews, and complexity and contradiction? In this seminar, we will
explore these questions in both reading and writing. Students will be asked to pay close attention to the ways in which concepts like race, gender, class, citizenship, nations, and species intersect and shape one another in order to better understand how systems of power and inequality are constructed, reinforced, and challenged. Major assignments are designed to develop research and writing skills and may include research-driven essays, opinion pieces, personal narratives and brief reading responses.
Religion 121: The Bible & Ecological Desire (Peder Jothen, Religion)
Many of our daily activities that impact the environment have to do with our consumption of material objects. From shopping on Amazon to eating lunch in Stav Hall, the dominant contemporary social imaginary teaches us to become consumers of things, no matter the environmental consequences. Such consumption focuses on individual happiness rather than the affirmation that we are interdependent, ecologically-rooted beings. This section of 121 will focus on ways the biblical tradition imagines a different culture of consumption, one rooted in ecological interdependence. To do so, we will explore issues such as food production, the care for land and animals, the connection between ecosystem and human health, and the giftedness of the ecosystem. Our attention will also focus on both the importance of human desire as causing our actions but also the different ways the biblical authors envision practices that orient our desires toward ecological wholeness.
Religion 121: Word and Water (Kiara Jorgenson, Religion)
Whether by its presence or absence, water plays a critical role in the biblical texts. In this section students are encouraged to read the Bible as a collection of environmental histories, with special attention given to the function of its cosmic waters, seas, rivers, deserts, pools, and wells. The first half of the course will explore how water signifies theological concepts like origin, destruction, judgment, wisdom, purity and promise within the historical-cultural landscape of the text. The latter part of the course considers how the Bible might speak to contemporary hydrological issues such as: fresh-water scarcity, watershed justice, hydraulic fracturing, ocean acidification, industrial agriculture, maternal health, and water as a human right.