Courses Offered

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

Spring 2018 

ENST 12300. Global Warming. 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) Prerequisite(s): Some knowledge of chemistry or physics helpful. Equivalent Course(s): ENST 12300,GEOS 13400,ENSC 13400
M W F 9:30am-10:20am
Instructor(s): David Archer

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.
M W F 11:30-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Dorian Abbot

ENST 20500. Introduction to Population. SNS
This course provides an introduction to the field of demography, which examines the growth and characteristics of human populations. It also provides an overview of our knowledge of three fundamental population processes: fertility, mortality, and migration. We cover marriage, cohabitation, marital disruption, aging, and population and environment. In each case we examine historical trends. We also discuss causes and consequences of recent trends in population growth, and the current demographic situation in developing and developed countries.
T Th 9:30am-10:50am
Instructor(s): Linda J Waite

ENST 21339. The Anthropocene: A Time for Humans? SNS
Earth scientists have observed that human activity is now a dominant driver of planetary processes that could depart from expected, natural behavior for thousands, or even millions, of years. Some have proposed that this signals the onset of a new epoch in Earth's history, the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene concept has had profound effects, captivating scholarly imagination across disciplines and departments, from Geology to English. This course will familiarize students with the contours of a contentious debate understood to have far-ranging theoretical, methodological, moral, and political repercussions. It is intended as a case study for tracing the links between science and society through several lenses drawn from anthropology and social studies of science. We will first consider different ways of conceiving of time, historical narrative, and human-environment relations before investigating how it became possible to think about planetary crisis. We will then explore how international scientific communities are weighing competing claims about the material traces of an Anthropocene and its onset. We will finish with a series of vignettes that demonstrate how the Anthropocene concept could spur a reconfiguration of knowledge production and social life more broadly.
T Th 11:00am-12:20am
Instructor(s): Matthew Knisley

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 Th 9:30am-10:50am
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh

ENST 23500. Political Sociology. EEP, UE
This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored. The course covers readings for the Sociology Ph.D Prelim exam in political sociology.
M W 4:30pm-5:50pm
Instructor(s): Terry N Clark

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.
T Th 5:00pm-6:20pm
Instructor(s): Raymond Lodato

ENST 24400. Is Development Sustainable? EEP, UE
T 2:00pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Alan Kolata

ENST 24705. Energy:  Science, Technology, and Human Usage.  SNS, 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).
T Th 3:30pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Elisabeth Moyer

ENST 25114. Natural History and Empire, circa 1500-1800. SNS
This course will examine natural history-broadly defined as a systematic, observational body of knowledge devoted to describing and understanding the physical world of plants, animals, natural environments, and (sometimes) people-in the context of European imperial expansion during the early modern era. Natural history was upended by the first European encounters with the New World. The encounter with these new lands exposed Europeans for the first time to unknown flora and fauna, which required acute empirical observation, collection, cataloguing, and circulation between periphery and metropole in order to understand their properties and determine their usefulness. As the Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch competed with one another to establish overseas trade and military networks in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, they also competed over and shared information on natural resources. The course will combine lecture and discussion and mix primary source readings on natural history in the early modern world with modern historical writings. Though the readings skew a bit toward Britain and the British Atlantic world, every effort has been made to include texts and topics from multiple European and colonial locales. 
M W 1:30pm-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

ENST 25460. Environmental Effects on Human Health. UE, EEP
Given the increasing human population in urban areas, the effects of urbanization and the urban environment on human health can be particularly profound. In this course, students will be introduced to environmental health issues, research, policy and advocacy. An overview of fundamental concepts in environmental health will be paired with case studies based on current local issues and topical research. Guest-led lectures and discussions will connect biological, chemical, and physical exposures to their real effects on human communities.
M W 1:30pm-2:50pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 27150. Urban Design with Nature: Assessing the Social and Natural Realms in the Calumet Region. EEP, SNS, UE
This course will use the Calumet 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 the Calumet region'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.
T 12:30pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh and Emily Talen

ENST 27221. Sustainable Urbanism. EEP, UE
This course explores cutting-edge solutions to today's interrelated challenges of decarbonizing the economy, reversing the obesity epidemic, and replacing sprawl. In addition to learning about the current state of sustainable urban planning and design, students will apply to the Calumet region a collection of future-forward urban design strategies to build prosperous and sustainable urban communities that can thrive for years to come. Topics include community organizing; public health, safety, and welfare; governance; neighborhood planning and design; stormwater management; density, and net-zero-energy building design. While not a studio class, there will be opportunities to practice spatial design drawing, community engagement tactics, and sustainability metrics.
W 3:00pm-5:50pm
Instructor(s): Doug Farr

ENST 27325. Urban Ecology in the Calumet Region. EEP, UE
This course will give students a strong foundation in the local ecology of the Calumet. Students will use local research and habitats to understand fundamental concepts in ecology and the scientific method. Students will explore some of these habitats during field trips with scientists and practitioners. The course focus will be on urban ecology in the region, whether these fundamental ecological concepts are applicable, what other factors need to be considered in the urban ecosystem, and the role humans have in restoring natural and managing novel ecosystems, among other topics.
Th 12:30pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

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

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