Courses Offered

Spring 2017

ENST 13300: The Atmosphere. ES
This course introduces the physics, chemistry, and phenomenology of the Earth's atmosphere, with an emphasis on the fundamental science that underlies atmospheric behavior and climate. Topics include (1) atmospheric composition, evolution, and structure; (2) solar and terrestrial radiation in the atmospheric energy balance; (3) the role of water in determining atmospheric structure; and (4) wind systems, including the global circulation, and weather systems.
Instructor: Dorian Abbot
Prerequisite(s): MATH 13100-13200 or consent of instructor.
Equivalent course(s): ENSC 13300, GEOS 13300

ENST 23610: Eating a Global Environment: Critical Perspectives of Agrofood Systems. SNS or EEP
This topics course looks at questions about the human dimensions of the globalization and localization of food production. Drawing sociological theories of labor and consumption, class, and capitalism into popular notions of taste, nutrition, and the “good farmer,” this course aims to answer questions of agrofood systems in a globalizing world. We will bring social scientific theory to bear on a series of case studies centering on the United States and its relationships with other places. Our driving questions and interdisciplinary readings will be animated by four themes: 1) ideological roots of food and farming, 2) causes and consequences of agricultural globalization, 3) challenges facing urban and rural food access, and 4) power dynamics of sustainable land use.
Instructor: Lequieu, A.

ENST 24102: Environmental Politics. EEP
This course examines the different theoretical underpinnings of environmental activism and elucidates the manner in which they lead to different ends. We explore several contrasting views of environmentalism, including the land ethic, social ecology, and deep ecology. Discussions are based on questions posed about the readings and the implications they suggest. Class participation is required.
Instructor: Raymond Lodato

ENST 24705: Energy: Science, Technology and Human Usage. ES
This course covers the technologies by which humans appropriate energy for industrial and societal use, from steam turbines to internal combustion engines to photovoltaics. We also discuss the physics and economics of the resulting human energy system: fuel sources and relationship to energy flows in the Earth system; and modeling and simulation of energy production and use. Our goal is to provide a technical foundation for students interested in careers in the energy industry or in energy policy. Field trips required to major energy converters (e.g., coal-fired and nuclear power plants, oil refinery, biogas digester) and users (e.g., steel, fertilizer production).
Instructor: Elisabeth Moyer
Prerequisite(s): Equiv of 1st yr UG physics is recommended.
Equivalent course(s): GEOS 24705, GEOS 34705, ENSC 21100

ENST 26444: Practicum in Campus Athletics and Environment. EEP
The practicum course will engage students in economic and environmental research related to designing a system for waste diversion on campus. Students will develop hands-on experience by designing, implementing, measuring and reporting the impacts of a “zero-waste” campus athletics event. Students will explore different technologies and behavioral interventions for waste management, with a focus on reducing food waste at campus events. Students are expected to attend the zero-waste event on April 23-24th, 2017.
Instructor: Sabina Shaikh
Equivalent course(s): PBPL 26444

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.
Instructor: Benjamin Lahey
Prerequisite(s): STAT 22000 or other introductory statistics highly desirable
Equivalent course(s): PBHS 30910, STAT 22810, PPHA 36410

ANTH 21428: Apes and Human Evolution. ES
This course is a critical examination of the ways in which data on the behavior, morphology, and genetics of apes have been used to elucidate human evolution. We emphasize bipedalism, hunting, meat eating, tool behavior, food sharing, cognitive ability, language, self-awareness, and sociability. Visits to local zoos and museums, film screenings, and demonstrations with casts of fossils and skeletons required.
Instuctor: Russell Tuttle
Equivalent course(s): HIPS 21428, BIOS 13253, ANTH 38600, EVOL 38600

Anth 24820: World, Globe, Planet. SNS
Do we live in the world or on the planet? Can we actually think globally? This course interrogates recent ethnography and theory that differentiates “world" from “globe" from “planet” as concepts and spatial domains. We will explore the phenomenological and affective aspects of “worlding” alongside depictions of globalization and more recent efforts to imagine planetary scale processes. At stake is a revolution across the natural sciences in thinking about earthly conditions, one that has important implications for any anthropology of locality. Key issues will be the relationship of the environment (across climate change, toxicity, and deep time) to geopolitics (including finance, international relations, and war). The seminar will consider the theoretical, ethnographic, and visualization strategies for engaging radically different scalar relations.
Instructor: Masco, J.

BIOS 11140: Biotechnology for the 21st Century. ES
This course is designed to provide a stimulating introduction to the world of biotechnology. Starting with an overview of the basic concepts of molecular biology and genetics that serve as a foundation for biotechnology, the course will segue into the various applied fields of biotechnology. Topics will include microbial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, biofuels, cloning, bioremediation, medical biotechnology, DNA fingerprinting and forensics. The goal of this course is to provide the Biology non-majors with an appreciation of important biotechnology breakthroughs and the associated bioethics issues.
Instructor: Navneet Bhasin
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 10130. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS, except by petition.

BIOS 13111: Natural History of North American Deserts. ES
This lecture course focuses on the ecological communities of the Southwest, primarily on the four subdivisions of the North American Desert, the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mohave, and Great Basin Deserts. Lecture topics include climate change and the impact on the flora and fauna of the region; adaptations to arid landscapes; evolutionary, ecological, and conservation issues in the arid Southwest, especially relating to isolated mountain ranges; human impacts on the biota, land, and water; and how geological and climatic forces shape deserts.
Instructor: Eric Larsen
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 10130. See Reg. info. in separate link. Lab not required. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS AND NO NON-BIOLOGY PRE-MEDS, except by petition.

BIOS 13112. Natural History of North American Deserts: Field School. ES
This lecture/lab course is the same course as BIOS 13111, but includes a lab section preparatory to a two-week field trip at end of Spring Quarter, specific dates to be announced. Our goal in the lab is to prepare proposals for research projects to conduct in the field portion of this course. Field conditions are rugged. Travel is by twelve-passenger van. Lodging during most of this course is tent camping on developed campsites.
Instructor: Eric Larsen
Prerequisite(s): Consent Only. Two week field trip at end of Spring Quarter, specific dates to be announced. A fee of $300 will be assessed for field trip. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS AND NO NON-BIOLOGY PRE-MEDS, except by petition.

BIOS 20150: How Can We Understand the Biosphere? ES
This course surveys the basic principles of ecology and evolutionary biology to lay the foundation for further study in all fields of biology. Broad ecological concepts, such as population growth, disease dynamics, and species interactions, will be explored through a combination of published data, simulations, and mathematical models. The emphasis is on "ecological thinking" rather than specific notions. Essential topics in the modern study of evolutionary biology will be covered with a focus on both theory and empirical examples. Examples of topics include history of evolutionary thought, evidence for evolution, mechanisms of microevolution, phylogenetics, molecular evolution, and speciation. This course requires a weekly 50-minute discussion period.
Instructors: Stefano Allesina, Christine Andrews, Alison Hunter, Marcus Kronforst
Prerequisite(s): First-year standing only. Register by lab section. Contact candrews@uchicago.edu or ahunter@uchicago.edu if no discussion times fit your schedule.

ENGL 20212: Romantic Natures. SNS
This survey of British Romantic literary culture will combine canonical texts (with an emphasis on the major poetry) with consideration of the practices and institutions underwriting Romantic engagement with the natural world. We will address foundational and recent critical approaches to the many “natures” of Romanticism. Our contextual materials will engage the art of landscape, an influx of exotic flora, practices of collection and display, the emergent localism and naturalism of Gilbert White, the emergence of geological “deep time,” the (literal) fruits of empire, vegetarianism, and the place of pets.

HIPS 17502: Modern Science. SNS
The advances science has produced have transformed life beyond anything that a person living in 1833 (when the term "scientist" was first coined) could have anticipated. Yet science continues to pose questions that are challenging and, in some instances, troubling. How will our technologies affect the environment? Should we prevent the cloning of humans? Can we devise a politically acceptable framework for the patenting of life? Such questions make it vitally important that we try to understand what science is and how it works, even if we never enter labs. This course uses evidence from controversies (e.g., Human Genome Project, International Space Station) to throw light on the enterprise of science itself.
Instructor: Evans

HIPS 26121: Nature, Science, and Empire in the Early Modern Iberian World, 1400-1800. SNS
Historians have often relegated Iberia and its New World domains from accounts of the developments of modern science. They have traditionally claimed that strict censorship and a commitment to orthodox Catholicism prevented Spain, once the most powerful empire of the world, from embarking on the path towards scientific modernity in the eighteenth century. Modern scholars, however, have challenged this narrative by embracing more inclusive concepts of "science" to explain the many ways in which early modern people related to nature. Some of these practices include the writing of natural histories, botanical research, and linguistic studies, all fields that Iberian scholars pioneered in their efforts to govern their vast domains. This course will introduce students to a diversity of scientific practices that flourished in the Hispanic world between 1400 and 1800.

STAT 22000: Statistical Methods and Applications. Fulfills statistics requirement.
This course introduces statistical techniques and methods of data analysis, including the use of statistical software. Examples are drawn from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Students are required to apply the techniques discussed to data drawn from actual research. Topics include data description, graphical techniques, exploratory data analyses, random variation and sampling, basic probability, random variables and expected values, confidence intervals and significance tests for one- and two-sample problems for means and proportions, chi-square tests, linear regression, and, if time permits, analysis of variance.
Instructors: Staff



Winter 2017

ENST 12402: Life through a Genomic Lens.  ES
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.
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 10130. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS, except by petition.
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 11125
Instructors: Marcelo Nobrega, Aaron Turkewitz

ENST 12704: Writing Persuasion: Environment. EEP or SNS.
A writing-intensive course in persuasive techniques that influence opinions and attempt to change behavior. This year our focus will be on an issue that presents a challenge for persuasion theory: the environment. People are notoriously slow to change their beliefs and behavior on environmental issues, and persuasion theory suggests reasons why this might be the case. Environmental problems ask readers to weigh costs that affect one group against benefits that might accrue to someone else. They involve time frames ranging from moments (which are easy to think and write about) to millennia (not so easy) to geological epochs, a time scale so remote from our experience as to be opaque to the imagination. Environmental problems are complex in ways that make them difficult to capture in a coherent, emotionally compelling narrative. Many individually innocuous and seemingly unrelated environmental events can converge over time to produce consequences that are counter-intuitively larger and graver than their causes. This felt disparity between actions and outcomes can violate an audience’s sense of fairness, biasing the audience against a persuasive appeal.
Equivalent Course: ENGL 12704
Instructor: Tracy Weiner

ENST 21301: Making the Natural World: Foundations of Human Ecology.  Core requirement
This course considers the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary Western notions of ecology, environment, and balance, but it also examines several specific historical trajectories of anthropogenic landscape change. We approach these issues from the vantage of several different disciplinary traditions, including environmental history, philosophy, ecological anthropology, and paleoecology.
Note(s): ENST 21201 and 21301 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental Studies and may be taken in any order.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 21303
Instructor: Madeleine McLeester

ENST 22000: Anthropology of Development. SNS
This course applies anthropological understanding to development programs in “underdeveloped” and “developing” societies. Topics include the history of development; different perspectives on development within the world system; the role of principal development agencies and their use of anthropological knowledge; the problems of ethnographic field inquiry in the context of development programs; the social organization and politics of underdevelopment; the culture construction of “well-being;” economic, social, and political critiques of development; population, consumption, and the environment; and the future of development.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 22000, LACS 22001
Instructor: Alan Kolata

ENST 22209: Philosophies of Environmentalism and Sustainability. SNS
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 22204, HMRT 22201, MAPH 32209, PHIL 22209, PLSC 22202
Instructor: Bart Schultz

ENST 23100  Environmental Law.  EEP
This lecture/discussion course examines the development of laws and legal institutions that address environmental problems and advance environmental policies. Topics include the common law background to traditional environmental regulation, the explosive growth and impact of federal environmental laws in the second half of the twentieth century, regulations and the urban environment, and the evolution of local and national legal structures in response to environmental challenges.
Course Equivalent(s): LLSO 23100, PBPL 23100
Instructor: Raymond Lodato

ENST 23289  Marine Ecology.  ES
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.
Prerequisite(s): First three quarters of a Fundamentals Sequence plus basic course in ecology or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 23289
Instructor: John Wootton

ENST 24104: Ecopoectics: Nature, Lyric, and Ecology. SNS
This course will track the literary development of the concept and practice of “ecopoetics,” with particular focus on the complex ethical responses that ecologically-minded poets and thinkers have made to the quandary of global warming and the emergence of the anthropocene. How might “lyrical thought” spawn modes of ecological practice and global-mindedness that are otherwise unthinkable in other disciplines and fields? In attempting to develop answers to this question, the course will place special pressure on the concept of “nature” and how such a concept creates the conditions for cultural forms that either contribute to, or work against, the specter of climate change. Is there one Nature or are there many natures? If poetry can produce, describe, and translate world(s), can poetry also “save the world”? We will read texts that look closely at how these two discourses–lyric and nature–in fact construct synthetic forms of ecological thinking. How might an “ecology of the mind” reflect or narrate the depressive environmental conditions of today? Can ecopoetry still be meaningful and productive in an age of rampant environmental desecration?
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 26406, GLST 24104
Instructor: Jose Maria Moctezuma Mendoza

ENST 25014: Introduction to Environmental History. SNS
Equivalent Courses: CHSS 35014, HIPS 25014, HIST 25014
Instructor: Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

ENST 25500: Biogeography.  ES
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).
Prerequisite(s): First three quarters of a Fundamentals Sequence plus basic course in ecology or geology or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 23406, EVOL 45500, GEOG 25500
Instructor: Bruce Patterson

ENST 25900: Cultural Geography.  SNS
This course examines the two main concerns of this field of geography: (1) the logic and pathology revealed in the record of the human use and misuse of the Earth, and (2) the discordant relationship of the world political map with more complicated patterns of linguistic and religious distribution.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOG 20100
Instructor: Marvin Mikesell

ENST 26430: Biodiversity: Science, Politics, and Development. SNS
In the last 30 years, conservation has almost become synonymous with the term “biodiversity”. The broadest aim of this course is to unpack this ecological concept and the practices it engenders from the perspective of political ecology – a perspective that seeks to “unravel the political forces at work in environmental access, management and transformation” (Robbins 2012:3). The idea is that through a critical understanding of the concept, we can arrive at a critical understanding of some of the key issues in global conservation and development today inasmuch as it takes biodiversity as its mantra. Drawing on literature from Conservation Biology, Anthropology, Geography, and Science Studies, we will begin by asking: what is the genealogy of this concept? What is the scientific/ecological rationale guiding biodiversity as a principle of conservation – how does it imagine its objects? And in doing so what are the historical, cultural and political assumptions or habits of thought it takes for granted? And what are the consequences of these elisions? In scrutinizing the pillars of this discourse – such as the concepts of “endemism” and “endangerment”, the course will ask about the historicity of these conservation parameters and the consequences of their ahistorical acceptance and implementation. We will thus explore to how this discourse influences and is influenced by global and local power structures, especially with reference to indigenous communities as targets of conservation and development. Research drawn from various part of the world will help us understand the uptake of the concept in different scenarios and the local negotiations underway.
Instructor: Suchismata Das

ENST 29802 B.A. Colloquium II.  Core Elective
This colloquium assists students in conceptualizing, researching, and writing their BA theses.
Prerequisite(s): Open only to students with fourth-year standing who are majoring in Environmental Studies.
Instructor: James Countryman

BIOS 11140: Biotechnology for the 21st Century. ES
This course is designed to provide a stimulating introduction to the world of biotechnology. Starting with an overview of the basic concepts of molecular biology and genetics that serve as a foundation for biotechnology, the course will segue into the various applied fields of biotechnology. Topics will include microbial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, biofuels, cloning, bioremediation, medical biotechnology, DNA fingerprinting and forensics. The goal of this course is to provide the Biology non-majors with an appreciation of important biotechnology breakthroughs and the associated bioethics issues.
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 10130. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS, except by petition.
Instructor: Navneet Bhasin

BIOS 13126: Tropical Ecology: Biodiversity and Human Impacts. ES
This course covers the description of the geographic distribution of the tropics, the nature of biological communities found there in contrast with temperate communities, and the interrelations of those communities with human society, both indigenous and global. Conservation of tropical biodiversity and ecosystem services related to human populations and exploitation of resources is a major theme of the course.
Prerequisites: BIOS 10130; NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS AND NO NON-SCIENCE PRE-MEDS, except by petition.
Instructor: Eric Larsen

BIOS 13128: Plant-Animal Interactions. ES
In this course we investigate the ecological interactions between plants and animals, and their evolution. Through readings and discussion we explore herbivory and mutualisms (pollination, seed dispersal). How do plants defend themselves against herbivores? How have plants and their seed dispersers, pollinators, and predators co-evolved?
Prerequisites: BIOS 10130; NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS AND NO NON-SCIENCE PRE-MEDS, except by petition.
Instructor: Alison Hunter

BIOS 13140: The Public and Private Lives of Insects. ES
This course examines the ecology and evolution of insects, from their early evolution over 350 million years ago to their adaptations that allow them to exploit nearly every habitat on earth and become the most diverse animal group on the planet. We explore the basic biology of insects that have allowed them to become the largest group of animals on the planet, making up approximately 1.5 million of the 2 million described species.
Prerequisites: BIOS 10130. NO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS, except by petition.
Instructor: Eric Larsen

ENGL 26405: Nineteenth Century Environmental Thought. SNS
This course examines nineteenth-century Anglophone writing about nature and the environment in the context of our present situation of anthropogenic climate change and biodiversity collapse. If we now live in a world where there is no longer such thing as “nature” untouched by humans, this is in part as a result of processes of industrialization that were set into motion in the nineteenth century. This course explores some of the ways in which nineteenth-century writers already understood the idea of a “natural environment” to be culturally made, and the forceful literary critiques of industrialization that the period produced. Particular attention will be given to English-language writers beyond Britain and the United States. Authors will include Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens, Olive Schreiner, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu.
Instructor: Benjamin Morgan

ENSC 23800: Global Biogeochemical Cycles. ES
This survey course covers the geochemistry of the surface of the Earth, focusing on biological and geological processes that shape the distributions of chemical species in the atmosphere, oceans, and terrestrial habitats. Budgets and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur are discussed, as well as chemical fundamentals of metabolism, weathering, acid-base and dissolution equilibria, and isotopic fractionation. The course examines the central role that life plays in maintaining the chemical disequilibria that characterize Earth’s surface environments. The course also explores biogeochemical cycles change (or resist change) over time, as well as the relationships between geochemistry, biological (including human) activity, and Earth’s climate.
Equivalent courses: GEOS 23800
Prerequisites: CHEM 11100-11200 or consent of instructor.
Instructor: Jacob Waldbauer

GEOG 25800: Ancient Landscapes-2. SNS
The landscape of the Near East contains a detailed and subtle record of environmental, social, and economic processes that have obtained over thousands of years. Landscape analysis is therefore proving to be fundamental to an understanding of the processes that underpinned the development of ancient Near Eastern society. This class provides an overview of the ancient cultural landscapes of this heartland of early civilization from the early stages of complex societies in the fifth and sixth millennia B.C. to the close of the Early Islamic period around the tenth century A.D.
Prerequisite(s): NEAA 20061
Equivalent course(s): NEAA 20062
Instructor: Emily Hammer

PBPL 22200: Public Policy Analysis. EEP
This course reviews and augments the basic tools of microeconomics developed in ECON 20000 and applies these tools to policy problems. We examine situations in which private markets are likely to produce unsatisfactory results, suggesting a potential rationale for government intervention. Our goal is to allow students to comprehend, develop, and respond to economics arguments when formulating or evaluating public policy.
Prerequisites: PBPL 20000 or ECON 20000; this course is not intended for ECON/PBPL double majors; ECON/PBPL double major student should contact Public Policy Admin for alternative courses to satisfy the PBPL 22200 requirement.
Instructor: James Leitzel