Courses Offered

For a full list of approved Environmental and Urban Studies courses, please click here.

Autumn 2018

ENST 12300. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. ES
This course presents the science behind the forecast of global warming to enable the student to evaluate the likelihood and potential severity of anthropogenic climate change in the coming centuries. It includes an overview of the physics of the greenhouse effect, including comparisons with Venus and Mars; an overview of the carbon cycle in its role as a global thermostat; predictions and reliability of climate model forecasts of the greenhouse world. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, Climate Change, Culture, and Society. (L)
M W F 9:30-10:20am
Instructor: Douglas R Macayeal

ENST 12520. Climate Change in Literature, Art, and Film. SNS
If meteorological data and models show us that climate change is real, art and literature explore what it means for our collective human life. This is the premise of many recent films, novels, and artworks that ask how a changing climate will affect human society. In this course, we will examine the aesthetics of climate change across media, in order to understand how narrative, image, and even sound help us witness a planetary disaster that is often imperceptible. Our approach will be comparative: what kind of story about climate change can a science fiction novel about a dystopian future tell, and how is this story different than, say, that of an art installation made of melting blocks of Arctic ice? Do different media tend to emphasize different aspects of ecological crisis? Readings and discussions will introduce students to some of the ways that humanities scholarship is contributing to climate change research. The syllabus may include Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (2014); Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003); John Luther Adams, Become Ocean (2014); George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); and Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement (2016). (Fiction, Theory)
M W 1:30-2:50PM (plus discussion)
Instructor(s): Benjamin Morgan

ENST 21201. Human Impact On The Global  Environment. Core course
The goal of this course is to analyze the impact of the human enterprise on the world that sustains it. Topics include human population dynamics, historical trends in human well-being, and our use of natural resources-especially in relation to the provision of energy, water, and food-and the impacts that these activities have on the range of goods and services provided by geological/ecological systems. We read and discuss diverse sources and write short weekly papers. ENST 21201 and 21301 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental Studies and may be taken in any order. Equivalent Course(s): NCDV 21201
T Th 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 21440. (Re)constructing Nature: Restoration Ecology in a Time of Climate Change. UE, SNS
Restoration ecologists, environmental professionals, and average citizens all participate in the process of habitat restoration. How does this interdisciplinary practice balance the priorities of ecosystem function and services, conservation of imperiled species and habitats, aesthetic appeal, and human use in a dynamic climate? In this course students will gain a broad overview of the field of restoration ecology and approach it from scientific, practical, and humanistic perspectives using scientific literature, case studies, and planning documents.
M W: 1:30-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 21500. Environmental Justice. SNS, UE
The effects of environmental pollution are not evenly distributed and are more likely to be experienced by low-income and minority communities. The location of toxic waste sites (both manufacturing plants and dump sites), the persistence of brownfields locations, and a lack of parks and open space are some of the conditions that have led to an ongoing effort to expand the focus of environmental advocacy to the pursuit of equitable and just outcomes in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This course will examine the history of the environmental justice, the efforts to pursue more equitable outcomes, and the prospect for such efforts in the face of global challenges such as climate change. The course will include class visits to sites in Chicago where environmental justice efforts are being undertaken as well as speakers from environmental justice organizations.
T Th 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Raymond Lodato

ENST 21800. Economics and Environmental Policy. EEP, UE
This course combines basic microeconomic theory and tools with contemporary environmental and resources issues and controversies to examine and analyze public policy decisions. Theoretical points include externalities, public goods, common-property resources, valuing resources, benefit/cost analysis, and risk assessment. Topics include pollution, global climate change, energy use and conservation, recycling and waste management, endangered species and biodiversity, nonrenewable resources, congestion, economic growth and the environment, and equity impacts of public policies.
T 9:30-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh

ENST 22209. Philosophies of Environmentalism and Sustainability. SNS
Many of the toughest ethical and political challenges confronting the world today are related to environmental issues: for example, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, and other threats to the well-being of both present and future generations. Using both classic and contemporary works, this course will highlight some of the fundamental and unavoidable philosophical questions presented by such environmental issues. Can a plausible philosophical account of justice for future generations be developed? What counts as the ethical treatment of non-human animals? What do the terms "nature" and "wilderness" mean, and can natural environments as such have moral and/or legal standing? What fundamental ethical and political perspectives inform such positions as ecofeminism, the "Land Ethic," political ecology, ecojustice, and deep ecology? And does the environmental crisis confronting the world today demand new forms of ethical and political philosophizing and practice? Are we in the Anthropocene? Is "adaptation" the best strategy at this historical juncture? Field trips, guest speakers, and special projects will help us philosophize about the fate of the earth by connecting the local and the global.
M W 1:30-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Reynolds Barton Schultz

ENST 23900. Environmental Chemistry. ES
The focus of this course is the fundamental science underlying issues of local and regional scale pollution. In particular, the lifetimes of important pollutants in the air, water, and soils are examined by considering the roles played by photochemistry, surface chemistry, biological processes, and dispersal into the surrounding environment. Specific topics include urban air quality, water quality, long-lived organic toxins, heavy metals, and indoor air pollution. Control measures are also considered. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, Climate Change, Culture, and Society.
M W F 9:30-10:20am (plus lab)
Instructor(s): David Archer

ENST 24201. China's Eco-Environmental Challenges and Society's Responses. EEP, UE, SNS
In nearly four decades of reform and opening policies, China's economic achievements have come at a high cost for its ecological environment; air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination, among other problems, are facts of life for most Chinese citizens. In addition, China is now the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and has recently acknowledged its contributions to global warming and the need for drastic mitigation of greenhouse gases. Facing these tremendous challenges, remarkable shifts in the way that Chinese society communicates and tackles these problems are occurring. This seminar will look, in particular, at relevant public debates, crucial policies, as well as popular initiatives and protest, to approach this wide topic. How is the relationship between humans/society and nature/environment conceptualized and communicated? Can we detect shifts from traditional to modern, even contemporary 'Chinese approaches'? And to what extent and how do political authorities, media, the general population and scientists in China interact in the face of the acknowledged risks that environmental pollution poses to communities, to China's (economic) development and, not least, to individual health and well-being. Basic knowledge about modern Chinese society and politics as well as Chinese reading skills are helpful, but not a strict requirement for participation in this course.
T Th: 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Staff

ENST 24600. Introduction to Urban Sciences. UE, EEP
This course is a grand tour of conceptual frameworks, general phenomena, emerging data and policy applications that define a growing scientific integrated understanding of cities and urbanization. It starts with a general outlook of current worldwide explosive urbanization and associated changes in social, economic and environmental indicators. It then introduces a number of historical models, from sociology, economics and geography that have been proposed to understand how cities operate. We will discuss how these and other facets of cities can be integrated as dynamical complex systems and derive their general characteristics as social networks embedded in structured physical spaces. Resulting general properties of cities will be illustrated in different geographic and historical contexts, including an understanding of urban resource flows, emergent institutions and the division of labor and knowledge as drivers of innovation and economic growth. The second part of the course will deal with issues of inequality, heterogeneity and (sustainable) growth in cities. We will explore how these features of cities present different realities and opportunities to different individuals and how these appear as spatially concentrated (dis)advantage that shape people's life courses. We will show how issues of inequality also have consequences at more macroscopic levels and derive the general features of population and economic growth for systems of cities and nations.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Luis Bettencourt

ENST 24680. Introduction to Urban Planning. UE, EEP
The academic study of urban planning encompasses a range of issues dealing with cities, from urban design to governance, economic development, local politics, and place. The goal of this course is to provide a broad overview of urban planning theory and history while at the same time introducing students to basic GIS applications for urban planners. This format provides students with a better contextual understanding of the wide range of issues currently facing 21st century cities, and at the same time serves as an introduction to the everyday practice of urban planning. The course includes readings from prominent urban theorists, a discussion of the historical development of the urban planning profession in the US, and GIS exercises that allow students to apply their theoretical urban knowledge to real-world planning problems.
T Th: 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Staff

ENST 24701. U.S. Environmental Policy. EEP, UE
Making environmental policy is a diverse and complex process. Environmental advocacy engages different governmental agencies, congressional committees, and courts, depending on the issue. This course examines how such differentiation has affected policy making over the last several decades.
T Th: 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Raymond Lodato

ENST 25006. How Things Get Done in Cities and Why. SNS
Innovation. Prosperity. Democracy. Diversity. Cities long have been lauded as unique incubators of these social features. In contrast to the national level, the smaller scale and dense diversity of cities is thought to encourage the development of civic solutions that work for the many. But cities are inhabited by distinct groups of people with divergent interests and varied beliefs about how to address countless urban issues, such as creating jobs, delivering education, ensuring safe neighborhoods, promoting environmental sustainability, and taking care of the vulnerable. Many groups and organizations have an interest in the outcomes of these processes. Some take action to try to shape them to their own advantage, while others have few chances to make themselves heard. This course examines dynamics of interest representation, decision-making, and inclusion/exclusion in the contemporary city, drawing insights from multiple disciplines and substantive domains.
M W 1:30-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Nicole Marwell

ENST 27155. Urban Design with Nature. EEP, SNS, UE.
This course will use the Chicago region as a laboratory for evaluating the social, environmental, and economic effects of alternative forms of human settlement. Students will be introduced to the basics of geographic information systems (GIS) and use GIS to map Chicago's "place types" - human habitats that vary along an urban-to-rural transect, as well as the ecosystem services provided by the types. They will then evaluate these place types using a range of social, economic and environmental criteria. In this way, students will evaluate the region's potential to simultaneously realize economic potential, protect environmental health, and provide social connectivity.
W: 10:30-1:20pm
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh, Emily Talen

ENST 27400. Epidemiology and Population Health. ES
This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiologic study design, analysis, and interpretation through lectures, assignments, and critical appraisal of both classic and contemporary research articles.
T Th: 3:30-4:50pm (plus discussion)
Instructor(s): Diane Lauderdale

ENST 28800. Readings in Spatial Analysis. UE
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore special topics in the exploration, visualization and statistical modeling of geospatial data.
Instructor(s): Luc Anselin

ENST 28980. Readings in Urban Planning and Design. UE
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore contemporary debates and theoretical arguments involved in the planning and design of cities.
Instructor(s): Emily Talen

ENST 29000. Energy and Energy Policy. EEP
This course shows how scientific constraints affect economic and other policy decisions regarding energy, what energy-based issues confront our society, how we may address them through both policy and scientific study, and how the policy and scientific aspects can and should interact. We address specific technologies, both those now in use and those under development, and the policy questions associated with each, as well as with more overarching aspects of energy policy that may affect several, perhaps many, technologies.
T: 12:30-3:20pm
Instructor(s): R Stephen Berry, George S Tolley

ENST 29801. BA Colloquium I. Core course
This colloquium is designed to aid students in their thesis research. Students are exposed to different conceptual frameworks and research strategies. The class meets weekly.
W: 1:30-4:20pm
Instructor(s): Staff

ENST 29801/2. BA Colloquium I. Core Course
This colloquium is designed to aid students in their thesis research. Students are exposed to different conceptual frameworks and research strategies. The class meets weekly.
T: 2:00-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Staff

Winter 2019

*Denotes new course

ENST 12402. Life Through A Genomic Lens
The implications of the double helical structure of DNA triggered a revolution in cell biology. More recently, the technology to sequence vast stretches of DNA has offered new vistas in fields ranging from human origins to the study of biodiversity. This course considers a set of these issues, including the impact of a DNA perspective on the legal system, on medicine, and on conservation biology.
T Th 9:30am-10:50am|
Instructor(s): Aaron Turkewitz, Marcelo Nobrega

ENST 21301. Making The Natural World: Foundations Of Human Ecology
Humans have “made” the natural world both conceptually, through the creation of various ideas about nature, ecosystem, organism, and ecology, and materially, through millennia of direct action in and on the landscape. In this course we will consider the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary Western notions of nature, environment, and balance, through the examination of specific historical trajectories of anthropogenic landscape modification and human society. Taking examples from current events we will evaluate the extent and character of human entanglement with the environment. ENST 21201 and 21301 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies and may be taken in any order.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 23100. Environmental Law
This course will examine the bases and assumptions that have driven the development of environmental law, as well as the intersection of this body of law and foundational legal principles (including standing, liability, and the Commerce Clause). Each form of lawmaking (statutes, regulations, and court decisions) will be examined, with emphasis on reading and understanding primary sources such as court cases and the laws themselves. The course also analyzes the judicial selection process in order to understand the importance of how the individuals who decide cases that determine the shape of environmental law and regulations are chosen. 
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Ray Lodato

ENST 23289. Marine Ecology
This course provides an introduction into the physical, chemical, and biological forces controlling the function of marine ecosystems and how marine communities are organized. The structures of various types of marine ecosystems are described and contrasted, and the lectures highlight aspects of marine ecology relevant to applied issues such as conservation and harvesting.
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): John Timothy Wootton

ENST 23505. Environmental Ethics*
M W 3:00pm-4:20pm
Instructor(s): Sarah E. Fredericks

ENST 23550. Urban Ecology And The Nature Of Cities
Urban ecology is an interdisciplinary field derived from the academic discipline of ecology. How well does classical ecological theory, typically formed from reductionist views of nature without humans, describe and predict patterns in human-dominated landscapes? Students will learn fundamental concepts in ecological theory, examine how these concepts apply to urban systems, and explore the paradigms of ecology in, of, and for cities. Readings and discussions will focus on classical research papers from the ecological literature, history of modern ecology, and contemporary approaches to studying biotic systems in cities.
M W 1:30pm-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 23640. Fruited Plains And Scarred Mountains: The Environmental History Of Work In The United States*
Ask most people to name an ecosystem, and they’ll probably talk about mountains, beaches, plains, or forests. But most of us spend nearly a third of our adult lives in another ecosystem we often don’t think about: our workplace. In fact, one of the most common ways humans interact with the environment in our modern world is by working—from farming and mining to housekeeping and coding. This course will examine the environmental history of work in the United States from the colonial era to the present through lectures, discussion, and other forms of active learning. We will cover a range of topics including racialized and gendered labors, the work of empire, energy workplaces, industrialization, agriculture, the information revolution, and climate adaptation. By engaging this history, we will also consider broader interdisciplinary questions: how should environmental concerns shape labor policy and organizing? What workplace considerations must be incorporated into the development of climate adaptation strategies and just transition programs? Why do the stories that we tell ourselves about the meaning of work matter for climate justice? What is the future of work in a climate-changed world? 
T Th 3:30pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Trish Kahle

ENST 24756. Exploring The Resilient City
In recent years, sub-national units of government have enacted meaningful policy plans in the wake of the ongoing failure of the international community to address global climate change. Cities in particular have shaped their plans to address the now-inevitable effects of climate change by adopting policies that emphasize resilience and environmental protection, without sacrificing economic growth, and with attention to the ongoing challenges of poverty and inequality.
This course will take a comparative look at the policies adopted by cities on an international basis, while defining what it means to be a resilient city and how much the built environment can be adjusted to limit the environmental impact of densely populated metropolises. It will also consider what impact citizen activism and input had upon the shape of each plan and the direction that its policies took. Students will also be asked to consider what might be missing from each plan and how each plan could be improved to foster greater resiliency. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Climate Change, Culture and Society.
T Th 3:30pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Ray Lodato

ENST 25115. Francis Bacon's Philosophy Of Nature*
Historians of science have traditionally regarded Francis Bacon (1561–1626) as one of the most prominent seventeenth-century champions of induction, empiricism, and experimental methodology. While these are perhaps his most important contributions to natural philosophy, Bacon and his adherents also exerted a profound influence on Western notions of power over nature and of the possibilities of alteration, manipulation, and exploitation of the natural world. This course will examine some of Bacon's principal works ("The New Organon", "The Advancement of Learning", "The New Atlantis", and "The Great Instauration") in order to first develop an understanding of Bacon's philosophical positions and the changing landscape of natural philosophy in the seventeenth century. Then, we will examine the implications of Bacon's philosophy from his lifetime to the present, focusing particularly on the rise of artisanal and craft knowledge; the emergence of civil institutions for cooperative knowledge making; utopian and cornucopian conceptions of the natural economy; science as the manipulation of nature; the competing and complementary notions of dominion over nature versus environmental stewardship; the practical uses of natural materials during European imperial expansion; the origins of industrialization and technological development; and his influence on modern science, politics, economics, and environmentalism.
T Th 12:30pm-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

ENST 25500. Biogeography
This course examines factors governing the distribution and abundance of animals and plants. Topics include patterns and processes in historical biogeography, island biogeography, geographical ecology, areography, and conservation biology (e.g., design and effectiveness of nature reserves).
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Bruce Patterson

ENST 28800. Readings In Spatial Analysis
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore special topics in the exploration, visualization and statistical modeling of geospatial data.
Instructor(s): Luc Anselin

ENST 28980. Readings In Urban Planning And Design
This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore contemporary debates and theoretical arguments involved in the planning and design of cities.
Instructor(s): Emily Talen

ENST 29700. Reading And Research
This course is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA paper preparation.
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh

ENST 29802. BA Colloquium II
This colloquium assists students in conceptualizing, researching, and writing their BA theses. Open only to students with fourth-year standing who are majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies.
W 3:00pm-5:50pm