Course Spotlights

Exploring the Art & Science of Biodiversity in Guyana

Nicole M. Merola, Rhode Island School of Design

“Exploring the Art & Science of Biodiversity in Guyana” is an interdisciplinary course focused on approaches to the concept of biodiversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The six-credit travel course is offered during the Wintersession term at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Dr. Nicole M. Merola, Associate Professor of Literary Arts & Studies, and Dr. Lucy Spelman, a veterinarian, science educator, and Lecturer in History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences, team-teach the course.

Drs. Merola and Spelman designed the course to help …

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Key Words in Ecocinema Studies

Stephen Rust, University of Oregon

Stephen Rust often tells his students in cinema studies courses that learning to carefully describe and analyze cinematic texts requires us to learn a new set of vocabulary terms and the ability to apply those terms. As students take a further step toward engaging in more specific discourse communities such as Ecomedia Studies it becomes even more important to gain an awareness and understanding of the sometimes complex terminology scholars use to think with as we seek to communicate with each other precisely and …

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Cultures of Climate Change

Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon

From Warren Cariou’s “Tarhands, A Messy Manifesto.”

The graduate seminar “Cultures of Climate Change” explores the ways that scholars from varied fields can apply their skills to the ecological and imaginative challenge posed to all of us (humanists, scientists, planetary citizens) by the increasingly visible and felt effects of global climate change.

From Philippe Squarzoni’s Climate Changed.

The course examines the cultures of climate change, meaning artistic, literary, filmic and journalistic responses to this multi-scalar problem that frustrates conventional modes of representation and narrative …

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Environmental Fiction and Criticism

Heather Houser, The University of Texas at Austin

J. Henry Fair, Bleach, Charleston, TN (2010), Aerial photograph of waste run-off at chemical plant

“Environmental Fiction and Criticism” is an upper-division research seminar in which students explore how literary and cinematic narratives shape environmental consciousness in the late 20th and 21st centuries. On the first day, the students examine two images, one by J. Henry Fair and the other by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Heather withholds all identifying information from the Fair photograph and asks her students to discuss the elements that immediately struck them, …

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Interdisciplinary Matters: The Questions of Environmental Studies

Sarah Jaquette Ray, Humboldt State University

What does it mean to teach interdisciplinary methods to prospective practitioners of the field? Does it assume that the instructor herself is an expert in approaches from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities? Must environmental studies students be trained in all three approaches? Is knowledge about the environment only legitimate, even “true,” when derived from interdisciplinary inquiry?

When she was first assigned “Research and Analysis in Environmental Studies,” Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray imagined the course as an introduction to methods of environmental studies. …

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