Courses Offered

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

Winter 2018

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.
T Th 9:30am-10:50am
Instructor(s): Aaron Turkewitz, Macelo Nobrega

ENST 12704. Writing Persuasion: Health And Environment. EEP, 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.
M W 4:30pm-5:50pm
Instructor(s): Tracy Weiner

*ENST 20008. Understanding Standing Rock: Contemporary Native America. EEP, SNS
From April 2016 to February 2017, Native American advocates and their allies came to the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers to stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the process they joined leaders, citizens, and supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose tribal lands the pipeline skirted, and who opposed its Lake Oahe crossing, claiming that it threatened their water source, and was approved without proper legal vetting. Their efforts, and the responses to them by local law enforcement and pipeline security, drew national attention both to the specifics of their cause, and to the circumstances of Native American nations in the U.S. generally. Understanding Standing Rock demands a deeper consideration of the socioeconomic, legal, and cultural conditions that shape U.S. relations with Native Americans and their nations. This class takes the occasion of the Standing Rock/Mni Wiconi/#NODAPL movement and its circumstances to introduce students to the history and contemporary shape of US relations to Native American peoples, their legal, political, and socioeconomic opportunities and constraints, and how Native Nations today are working to articulate, in their own terms, their status in the United States and the world.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Justin Richland

ENST 21301. Making The Natural World. 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.
T Th 11:00am-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 21730. Science, Technology and Media via Japan. SNS, UE
This course will explore issues of culture, technology, and environment in Japan through the lens of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Media Studies. The course is designed for undergraduate students. Its overall aim is to introduce students to some of the fundamental concepts, themes, and problematics in these fields via the particular social and historical circumstances in Japan. Some of the central concerns will be around issues of environment, disaster, gender, labor, media theory, gaming, and animation. In addition, we will devote attention to the recent emergence of the term media ecology as a framework problematizing technologically engineered environments.
T Th 9:30-10:50am
Instructor(s): Michael Fisch 

*ENST 22708. Planetary Britain, 1600-1900. SNS
What were the causes behind Britain's Industrial Revolution? In the vast scholarship on this problem, one particularly heated debate has focused on the imperial origins of industrialization. How much did colonial resources and markets contribute to economic growth and technological innovation in the metropole? The second part of the course will consider the global effects of British industrialization. To what extent can we trace anthropogenic climate change and other planetary crises back to the environmental transformation wrought by the British Empire? Topics include ecological imperialism, metabolic rift, the sugar revolution, the slave trade, naval construction and forestry, the East India Company, free trade and agriculture, energy use and climate change.
Th 2:00pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

ENST 23100. Environmental Law. EEP, UE
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.
T Th 5:00pm-6:20pm
Instructor(s): 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.
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): John Timothy Wootton

*ENST 23506. Being Human In The Anthropocene. SNS
The Anthropocene is a relatively new term to describe a geologic age in which humans shape the earth on a planetary scale (e.g. through climate change, nuclear weapons). While this term arose in the sciences, it raises many questions best addressed by the humanities including the study of religion and ethics. After discussing definitions of the Anthropocene, this course will examine several questions about what it means to be human in the Anthropocene. These questions may include What vision of humanity is that is implied by or presumed by the Anthropocene? Is the term problematically or appropriately anthropocentric (human centered)? Does the term allow or discourage recognizing the uneven contributions to environmental change and the uneven burdens of environment.
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Sarah E. Fredericks

*ENST 23550. Urban Ecology And The Nature Of Cities. EEP, UE
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? We will discuss some of the 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 23650. Revolutionizing Agriculture: Early Modern Technologies For The New Millennium. SNS
Based on a wave of sustainable and organic farming technologies that have reinvented early modern growing practices, this course integrates USDA reports and modern field and lab studies into the historiography of The British Agricultural Revolution. Not all historical technologies were sustainable, and this course relies upon modern agronomy to evaluate the environmental costs and benefits of the farming improvements that defined the British Agricultural Revolution. We similarly explore primary historical sources and historiography to better understand the environmental limits of the technologies used by organic and sustainable farmers today. By bringing the science and history into discourse, we will take a critical look at the British Agricultural Revolution, which is thought to have facilitated the Industrial Revolution by accumulating capital for investment and by allowing England to feed a growing urban population and manufacturing sector without a significant increase in arable acres. We know that yields per acre per worker did increase, but this is the only aspect of the story that remains unquestioned. Some agricultural improvement technologies, like light plowing and enclosure, caused catastrophic environmental harms that ultimately lowered yields over time. Other technologies like The Norfolk Rotation may have had small and gradual impacts over time and cannot be easily correlated with increases in yields on a site-by-site basis in the historical literature or in modern field trials. Other early modern technologies have proven to be more beneficial than previously thought. How can a better understanding of this history inform farming practices today?
M W 10:30am-12:20pm
Instructor(s): Amy Coombs

ENST 24190. Imagining Chicago’s Common Buildings. UE
This class is an architectural studio based in the common residential buildings of Chicago and the city’s built environment. While a design project and architectural skills will be the focus of the class, it will also incorporate readings, a small amount of writing, and some social and geographical history. We will: (1) give students interested in pursuing architecture or the study of cities experience with a studio class and some skills related to architectural thinking, (2) acquaint students intimately with Chicago's common residential buildings and built fabric, and (3) situate all this within a context of social thought about residential architecture, common buildings, housing, and the city.
Seminar: Fridays, 3:00-5:50pm
Skills Workshop: Mondays, 8:30-9:30pm
Instructor(s): Staff

ENST 24660. Urban Geography. UE
This course examines the spatial organization and current restructuring of modern cities in light of the economic, social, cultural, and political forces that shape them. It explores the systematic interactions between social process and physical system. We cover basic concepts of urbanism and urbanization, systems of cities urban growth, migration, centralization and decentralization, land-use dynamics, physical geography, urban morphology, and planning. Field trip in Chicago region required. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, Urban Design.
T Th 9:30-10:50am
Instructor(s): Michael P Conzen

*ENST 24756. Exploring the Resilient City. EEP, UE
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.
T Th 3:30-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Raymond Lodato

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).
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Lawrence Heaney

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 29700. Reading And Research
This course is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA paper preparation. Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty supervisor and program director Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. This course may be counted as one of the electives required for the major.
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh

ENST 29802. BA Colloquium-2. Core requirement
This colloquium assists students in conceptualizing, researching, and writing their BA theses.
W 3:00pm-5:50pm
Instructor(s): Matthew Knisley

*Indicates new course 

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
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
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
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

ENST 29700/89. Reading and Research
This course is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA paper preparation. Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty supervisor and program director Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. This course may be counted as one of the electives required for the major.
Instructor(s): Staff

ENST 29720/1. Reading and Research: Calumet
The Program on the Global Environment will be hosting many interesting guest speakers during the Calumet Quarter, and this readings course will be dedicated primarily to the discussion of relevant articles written by the speakers. This will acquaint students with literature on a variety of topics ranging from food security to wetlands ecology to conservation theory. Students will be expected to discuss the articles, drawing on knowledge gained in the three core Calumet courses. Students will also attend the guest presentations and write short responses to the lectures.
Instructor(s): Staff