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ENVS 1000

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York University
Environmental Studies
ENVS 1000
Othon Alexandrakis

FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES York University BES Program COURSE SYLLABUS ENVS 1000 6.0 – Perspectives in Environmental Studies: Earth in our Hands Fall - Winter 2008/09 Calendar Description : The purpose of this course is to provide students with an initial overview of the concepts and methods that characterise Environmental Studies, including frameworks for analysis and action. Prerequisite: This course is open to students in the first year of study: Unenrolled students seeking to join the class in higher years should seek permission from the instructor. Course Director: Chris Cavanagh, HNES 114, Course Consultation Hours: 10:30a.m. - 12:30p.m. Wednesdays (other times by appointment). Tel. (416) 736-2100 x22105; E-mail: [email protected] (A website will be available during the term.) Teaching Assistants • Tania Hernandez-Cervantes ecotania [ at ] hotmail [ dot ] com • David Hoile dhoile [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Vanessa Holm v.m.holm [ at ] hotmail [ dot ] com • Stephanie Kirkland sskirkland [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com • Hannah Lewis lewish [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Ian Malczewski ianma20 [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Timothy Quick timquick [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Helena Shimeles shimeles [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Helen Thang hthang [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Kasim Tirmizey kasimali [ at ] yorku [ dot ] ca • Carolyn Young carolyn.cay [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com Course consultation hours & location: TBA Course Management In this course, the Course Director and the Teaching Assistants form a Teaching Team. The Teaching Assistants, who are either MES or PhD Candidates in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, will share with the Course Director responsibility for the overall shape and direction of course activities. Time and Location Lectures: Wednesdays, 2:30 - 4:30, Curtis Lecture Hall L 1 Tutorials: Wednesdays (W) and Thursdays (R) : TUTR 01 W 16:30 HNE 102 Hannah Lewis TUTR 02 W 16:30 ACE 002 Kasim Tirmizey TUTR 03 W 16:30 HNE 033 Carolyn Young TUTR 04 W 16:30 HNE 101 Helena Shimeles TUTR 05 R 12:30 HNE B10 Hannah Lewis TUTR 06 R 12:30 HNE 001 David Hoile TUTR 07 W 16:30 HNE 035 Vanessa Holm TUTR 08 W 16:30 HNE 036 David Hoile TUTR 09 W 16:30 HNE 103 Timothy Quick TUTR 10 R 12:30 HNE 102 Vanessa Holm TUTR 11 R 12:30 HNE 104 Tania Hernandez-Cervantes TUTR 12 W 16:30 HNE 104 Ian Malczewski TUTR 13 R 9:30 HNE B11 Stephanie Kirkland TUTR 14 R 10:30 HNE B10 Kasim Tirmizey TUTR 15 R 10:30 HNE B11 Carolyn Young TUTR 16 R 9:30 HNE 104 Helen Thang TUTR 17 R 9:30 VH 2000 Helena Shimeles TUTR 18 W 16:30 VH 1020 Stephanie Kirkland TUTR 19 W 16:30 VH 3005 Helen Thang TUTR 20 R 12:30 VC115 Ian Malczewski Note: TAs have been directed not to accept students into a tutorial unless they have formally registered in that section. In exceptional circumstances, the Course Director will consider recommending to the Undergraduate Program Director that a student be permitted to change tutorial group enrolment; a written request detailing the reasons why a change is being requested and the choice of alternative tutorials must be submitted to the Course Director prior to the first tutorial session. Purpose and Objectives of the Course: This course is designed to provide students with a perspective or framework of understanding for environmental studies at the broadest level. The course introduces students to environmental issues, using the urgent, emerging prospect of the fate of the “Earth in our hands” as the organizing principle. Lecture and tutorial topics will range over a number of environmental approaches, drawing on a diversity of arts and sciences, including environmental history, environmental ethics, ecology, economics, and planning, emphasizing the fact that Environmental Studies is fundamentally an attempt to integrate the study of the natural world with the study of the human dimensions of that world. The specific objectives of the course include: 1. to provide a critical framework of understanding environmental studies 2. to provide an overview of the range of concerns included within environmental studies 2 Organization of the Course The weekly course format will consist of a two hour lecture which all students will attend; and a one hour mandatory tutorial. Participation marks will be assigned by the tutorial leaders in consultation with the course director. The lectures will be conducted with the full class, and will involve the course director and selected guest lecturers. Each lecture will contain 2 50 minute sessions (with a 10 minute break). Tutorial sessions will last for 50 minutes and will be conducted in groups of 20-25 students meeting with a TA (Teaching Assistant) acting as the tutorial leader. The tutorial session will be the main context for discussion of required and recommended reading, and the submission of the course assignments. The required readings are central to the course. The lectures and tutorials will serve to enrich, clarify, and illustrate crucial issues from the assigned readings. Readings listed under a particular date are assigned for tutorial discussion on that date. Evaluation Assignments, including Examinations, will be graded by the assigned TA under the supervision of the Course Director. Questions about marks received should be taken first to the relevant TA. The course mark will be based on one short essay assignment early in the first term, a research essay in the second term, and two exams, one at the end of each term. The final exam is cumulative over the year. The grade for the course** will be based on the following items weighted as indicated: • Essay 1 15% • Mid-Term Exam 20%***+++ • Research Essay 2 25% • Final Exam 25% • Participation (Tutorials) 15% * The Senate Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy stipulates that (a) the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and that, (b) under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15% of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer Term, and 30% for ‘full year’ courses be received by students in all courses PRIOR to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade. That is, students MUST receive at least 15% (for term courses) or 30% (for full-year courses) of their grades BEFORE Nov. 7, 2008 (for fall courses), Feb. 6, 2009 (for full-year courses) and March 10, 2009 (for winter courses). The policy is available at THIS IS A STRICT RULE, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO COMPLY. ** If final grades are subject to grades distribution adjustment, it should be specifically noted in this section by including the following statement: 3 “Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Program or Faculty grades distribution profiles.” *** If Term Test are to be held outside of regularly scheduled class time, include announcement of day, date and time here (e.g., Saturday, October X, 200Y, 10 am to 11:30, room TBA). +++ An exam or term test worth more than 20% of the final grade may not be given during the final two weeks of classes. Assignment 1(FIRST TERM): A short research Essay (3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12pt font, with one inch margins). This assignment will require you to write on a topic to be assigned early in the first term. Assignment 2 (SECOND TERM): Research Essay (10-12 pages, double-spaced, 12pt font, and with inch margins). This assignment will require you to write a research paper on a particular environmental issue. A list of topics will be circulated at the outset of the winter term. You will also receive materials on bibliographic referencing. Exams (Mid-Term and Final): The mid-term exam will be two hours, held in December; the final exam will be three hours, held in April. They will both be a mix of multiple choice questions, required short definitions/essays, and long essays. Tutorial Participation: The tutorial participation grade will be based on attendance at tutorials, and on regular and informed participation in discussions or other presentations assigned by the TA.Attendance will be taken at each tutorial. One missed session will not affect the participation grade, but appropriate documentation (such as a note from a physican) must be provided for any absence from tutorials for more than one week. Any personal emergencies that might affect your participation or attendance should be reported to your TA as soon as possible. Each student should obtain an account (no charge) to access the FES networks of Macintosh and PC computers. All assignments submitted must be word-processed. Students should retain a personal disk copy of all assignments in case of screw-ups! (For assignments submitted on the last day of class, please refer to “Instructions for Submission and Return of Final Assignments” section below) Required Reading: There is no required textbook for the first term: required readings will be posted or directed on the course website. There will be a required course kit for the second term. Supplementary Reading (Recommended - not required): Worster, Donald 1994 Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (Second Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Some readings from this book will be assigned as handouts.) 4 McMichael, A.J. 1994 Planetary Overload. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (This book provides essential scientific information on global environmental change.) Conca, Ken et al (eds.) 1995 Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Rio. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. (An excellent collection of essays on planetary politics.) Adelson, Glenn, et al 2008 Environment: An interdisciplinary Anthology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (a brand new anthology with a wide selection of relevant readings including 10 case studies on urgent issues.) FALL TERM: The Fall Term is divided into two parts -- Part 1: "Earth in Our Hands” -- that is, what is the environmental situation we face as we enter the next millenium; and Part 2: "Green History & The Nature of Nature” -- the commanding ideas of Nature and society that have shaped the development of human history. This will provide an overview of the fundamentals of emerging environmental thought and practice. Schedule of Topics The following list of lecture topics and readings is subject to change. Remember that the readings listed under each date are assigned to be read by that date and will be discussed at the tutorial following that date. Readings for the first term will be posted in the previous week for the following week on the class Web site. PART 1: THE EARTH IN OUR HANDS (unless specified, all readings are by Peter Timmerman)): wk date title desc readings Environmental studies is a complex mixture of the physical and the social -- the natural ecosystems of Introduction to the the earth, and the way in which people think about 1 Sep 3 Course: "The Earth in them, react to them, reshape them. The best frame for Our Hands” study is the Earth as a whole -- its physical and human dimensions. Case Study: The Monarch Butterfly. We look early on at the basic signals and dimensions of global change through time, and take an initial1. “Where Do We Stand With The 2 Sep 10 "Where Do We Find at the transformation of the earth by human activiEarth?” Ourselves?” and the elements of human productivity and 2. “ The Monarch Butterfly: A Case development that have led to the current Study” environmental crisis. Case Study: Mount St. Helens. A brief introduction to some basic tools of the 3. Raven, Peter. 2003. “Our Choice: environmental trade, including population growth, How Many Species Will Survive the 21st Boom and Bust: competition for resources, ecological niches, the Century?”. The Fifth Darwin Lecture: 3 Sep 17 Ecology & Society curve” and the "S” curve. These are explored throu examples of environmental need and history. Case win/lecture/030521.htm (Sept 1, 04). Study: The Plagues of History 4. “Gaia and the Earth System”. 4 Sep 24 Environmentalism A first look at the elements of environmental stud5. “Why Do Societies Collapse?” concern. The mixture of powerful images and ideas, emerging ecological and planetary science, and new legislative and institutional frameworks, is outlined. Some elements of modern industrial society and their environmental impact, ranging from synthetic chemicals to the foundations of modern agribusiness. Case Study: Mauve. 5 Introducing the topics of the first short paper PART 2: GREEN HISTORY & THE NATURE OF NATURE wk date title desc readings Environments and Myths of Nature: An introduction to the governing structural, 6. “The Human Dimension” 5 Oct 1 Cosmologies and paradigmatic myths of Nature in Western Society, and 7. Environmental Chronology Concerns in contrast to non-Western approaches. Agriculture and The The domestication of plants and animals, and in the 8. “Environment/ History I: To the Rise of 6 Oct 8 Rise of Cities rise of the “hydraulic civilizations” of Sumer, Egypt, Cities” and China. The later ancient world (especially around the Mediterranean, e.g. Greece) had a complex set of Ancient views of Gods, and a set of sacred rituals involving nature. 7 Oct 15 Nature: The Greeks, These complexes of myth were challenged by the rise 9. “Environment/History II – The Rise of the Hebrews, and of monotheism, first in Judaism, modified in the West” After Christianity, and further exemplified in Islam. Additions to the “mix” were provided by the first philosophers of science. The Christian view of Nature has arguably had the greatest impact on the development of modern 8 Oct 22 The Medieval View of Western thought. It reached a zenith in the Middle 10. “St. Francis of Assisi: The First the Natural World Ages. At the same time, there were traces, Environmentalist?” subversions, and subterranean survivals of alternative views of nature.
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