29 October 2008

Cool Class: Environment and Society

David Hughes is teaching a course that sounds very interesting:

New Course for Spring 2009
Environment and Society

taught by
Professor David M. Hughes

Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior 105 (11:374:105)
Anthropology 293 and 294 (01:070:293 and 01:070:294)

Nature - as places and processes independent of human will - is dead. This alarming proposition launches the course and guides its progress. Society and the environment, in other words, make each other in ways that are creative, dangerous, and often both at the same time. To substantiate this complex argument, a multiplex reading list draws from sources as diverse as social theory, environmental history, anthropology, activist writing, and political memoir. The first segment of the course deals with the ways in which people simplify nature for the sake of production - notably through agriculture and water engineering. These systems then spread across the globe. The second segment of the course considers historical trends of expansion and dispersal, such as, European conquest and colonialism and contemporary globalization. The course then turns to the consequences of radical and pervasive simplification. Under a notion of over-expansion and collapse, this last segment explores modern forms of social exclusion and expulsion. Industrial systems rely upon zones of sacrifice for the disposal of waste, and they increasingly identify and segregate surplus, sacrifice people. Tropical and subtropical urban populations, for instance, suffer from over-strained infrastructure and - as is becoming apparent - from an unforgiving, artificial climate as well. (Close to home, one need only remember Katrina.) What standards of fairness, justice, and power apply to such unprecedented conditions? On the threshold of disaster, how does one live an ethical life?

Lectures are held MW 4* (Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30-3:25) in Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall Room 103
Recitations are held T2*,T3*, and T4* (Tuesdays 11:10-12:05, 12:50-1:45, and
2:30-3:25) in Waller Hall room 203

(DT: I took this photo above the NJ Meadowlands where the Turnpike splits and thought it captured the human/environment conflict on enough different levels to warrant inclusion)


Chris said...

Thats an awesome photo. Where did you get it?

David T said...

I added a note explaining a little more. But I took it out an airplane window.