The American West as an Environmental, Cultural, and Political Case Study
Dr. Justin Farrell, Fall Semesters, 3 Credits
The social and environmental context of the North American West provides fertile ground to examine important issues pertaining to culture, politics, environmental justice, social movements, and institutional structures. This course equips students to think critically and imaginatively about the social aspects of natural landscapes and the communities who inhabit them. This is not a history course, but it does examine stability and change across time. The course draws on empirical cases dealing with a range of interrelated issues, including economic change, environmental values, energy and water conflicts, native experiences, religion, American mythologies, gender, race, and the culture of individualism. Engaging with important theories, debates, and scholarly work around these exciting cultural and political issues is the primary goal of this course.
Field Course in Culture, Environmental Politics, and Social Change (Western Wyoming, 2016 Field Site)
Dr. Justin Farrell, Spring Semesters, 3 Credits
This course provides students with the opportunity to engage environmental politics and social change through experiential field-based learning and immersive research. Using a case-study approach, the course emphasizes active learning and independent research about broad theoretical issues pertaining to culture, politics, values, social movements, and institutional structures. The central component of the course is a major field trip to Western Wyoming, which is an especially salient context for examining these theoretical issues through the lens of water scarcity, population growth, income inequality, energy development, local knowledge, and indigenous perspectives. The course meets throughout the term for instruction and discussion in preparation for the spring break trip, and it concludes with sessions where students present their research. Due to high demand, the course requires a short application.