Courses Offered

For the full list of approved Environmental and Urban Studies courses: click here.

Winter 2019

*Denotes new course

ENST 12402. Life Through A Genomic Lens
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, Marcelo Nobrega

ENST 21301. Making The Natural World: Foundations Of Human Ecology
Humans have “made” the natural world both conceptually, through the creation of various ideas about nature, ecosystem, organism, and ecology, and materially, through millennia of direct action in and on the landscape. In this course we will consider the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary Western notions of nature, environment, and balance, through the examination of specific historical trajectories of anthropogenic landscape modification and human society. Taking examples from current events we will evaluate the extent and character of human entanglement with the environment. ENST 21201 and 21301 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies and may be taken in any order.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio

ENST 23100. Environmental Law
This course will examine the bases and assumptions that have driven the development of environmental law, as well as the intersection of this body of law and foundational legal principles (including standing, liability, and the Commerce Clause). Each form of lawmaking (statutes, regulations, and court decisions) will be examined, with emphasis on reading and understanding primary sources such as court cases and the laws themselves. The course also analyzes the judicial selection process in order to understand the importance of how the individuals who decide cases that determine the shape of environmental law and regulations are chosen. 
T Th 2:00pm-3:20pm
Instructor(s): Ray Lodato

ENST 23289. Marine Ecology
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 23505. Environmental Ethics*
M W 3:00pm-4:20pm
Instructor(s): Sarah E. Fredericks

ENST 23550. Urban Ecology And The Nature Of Cities
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? Students will learn 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 23640. Fruited Plains And Scarred Mountains: The Environmental History Of Work In The United States*
Ask most people to name an ecosystem, and they’ll probably talk about mountains, beaches, plains, or forests. But most of us spend nearly a third of our adult lives in another ecosystem we often don’t think about: our workplace. In fact, one of the most common ways humans interact with the environment in our modern world is by working—from farming and mining to housekeeping and coding. This course will examine the environmental history of work in the United States from the colonial era to the present through lectures, discussion, and other forms of active learning. We will cover a range of topics including racialized and gendered labors, the work of empire, energy workplaces, industrialization, agriculture, the information revolution, and climate adaptation. By engaging this history, we will also consider broader interdisciplinary questions: how should environmental concerns shape labor policy and organizing? What workplace considerations must be incorporated into the development of climate adaptation strategies and just transition programs? Why do the stories that we tell ourselves about the meaning of work matter for climate justice? What is the future of work in a climate-changed world? 
T Th 3:30pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Trish Kahle

ENST 24756. Exploring The Resilient City
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. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Climate Change, Culture and Society.
T Th 3:30pm-4:50pm
Instructor(s): Ray Lodato

ENST 25115. Francis Bacon's Philosophy Of Nature*
Historians of science have traditionally regarded Francis Bacon (1561–1626) as one of the most prominent seventeenth-century champions of induction, empiricism, and experimental methodology. While these are perhaps his most important contributions to natural philosophy, Bacon and his adherents also exerted a profound influence on Western notions of power over nature and of the possibilities of alteration, manipulation, and exploitation of the natural world. This course will examine some of Bacon's principal works ("The New Organon", "The Advancement of Learning", "The New Atlantis", and "The Great Instauration") in order to first develop an understanding of Bacon's philosophical positions and the changing landscape of natural philosophy in the seventeenth century. Then, we will examine the implications of Bacon's philosophy from his lifetime to the present, focusing particularly on the rise of artisanal and craft knowledge; the emergence of civil institutions for cooperative knowledge making; utopian and cornucopian conceptions of the natural economy; science as the manipulation of nature; the competing and complementary notions of dominion over nature versus environmental stewardship; the practical uses of natural materials during European imperial expansion; the origins of industrialization and technological development; and his influence on modern science, politics, economics, and environmentalism.
T Th 12:30pm-1:50pm
Instructor(s): Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

ENST 25500. Biogeography
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): Bruce Patterson

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. Reading And Research
This course is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA paper preparation.
Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh

ENST 29802. BA Colloquium II
This colloquium assists students in conceptualizing, researching, and writing their BA theses. Open only to students with fourth-year standing who are majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies.
W 3:00pm-5:50pm

Spring 2019

*denotes new course
**Chicago Studies Quarter 2019

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)
Multiple offerings
Instructor: Dorian Abbot

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. 
M W 4:30-5:50pm
Instructor: Tracy Weiner

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: Dorian Abbot

ENST 20104. Urban Structure and Process. SNS, EEP, UE
This course reviews competing theories of urban development, especially their ability to explain the changing nature of cities under the impact of advanced industrialism. Analysis includes a consideration of emerging metropolitan regions, the microstructure of local neighborhoods, and the limitations of the past American experience as a way of developing urban policy both in this country and elsewhere.
T Th 3:30-4:50pm
Instructor: Omar Mcroberts

ENST 21341. Making Plants Work: Anthropology Of Human-Plant Relationships.* SNS
Food, drink, fuel, pharmaceuticals, clothing, cosmetics, construction material, furniture… Plants and their byproducts are everywhere we look. How have plants become so ubiquitous to human life? How have plants been used, adapted, processed, and sold over the course of history? How can studying plants and their interactions with humans provide a different perspective on the past, and insight into the future? This course explores how humans have made plants "work," and how these working plants have, in turn, shaped the world in which we live. 
T Th 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor: Johanna Pacyga

ENST 22300. South Side Ecologies.* SNS, UE
South Side Ecologies is a project based course offered every other spring on an environmental topic of concern to communities on the South Side of Chicago. During the first half of the class we will use scholarly and popular sources to understand the background and extent of the issue, while the second half will engage with expert partners to execute a project in their area of need. Due to the experiential nature of this course, while we will strive to have class meetings in the official time and place, students should expect they may need to attend meetings, interviews, guest lectures, or other activities at other times and locations during the week. Every effort will be made to accommodate the needs and schedules of students in the course. In 2019, we will focus on the confluence of history, culture, industry, nature, recreation, and the narratives that weave them together, on the South East Side of Chicago. In particular, we will be collaborating with the Chicago Park District and community stakeholders to research and develop interpretive materials for parks in the Calumet region, including Steelworkers Park and Big Marsh.
Th 2:00-4:50pm
Instructor: Alison Anastasio

ENST 22610. Paris and the French Revolution.* SNS, UE
The French Revolution is one of the defining moments of modern world history. This course will explore the mix of social, political, and cultural factors which caused its outbreak in 1789 and go on to consider the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in 1792, the drift towards state-driven Terror in 1793-94, and the ensuing failure to achieve political stability down to the advent of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. We will view these epochal changes through the prism of France's capital city. Paris shaped the revolution in many ways, but the revolution also reshaped Paris. The urbane city of European enlightenment acquired new identities as democratic hub from 1789 and as site of popular democracy after 1793-94. In addition, the revolution generated new ways of thinking about urban living and remodelling the city for the modern age. A wide range of primary sources will be used, including visual sources (notably paintings, political cartoons and caricatures, and maps).
T 9:30-12:20pm
Instructor: Colin Jones

ENST 23190. Eco-Consciousness: Climates And Ecologies Of Eighteenth-Century Literature.* SNS
Given our present-day concerns about political climates and ecological consciousness, this course returns to the eighteenth century to analyze how writers interpreted climate and ecology back then. In the context of agricultural, industrial, and political revolutions, this class will explore how writers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, John Clare understood both political and ecological climates like colonialism, women's rights, class revolutions, and natural history. (Fiction, Poetry, 1650-1830, Theory)
M W 3:00-4:20pm
Instructor: Caroline Heller

ENST 24020. The Place Of The Intellectual: Civic Life In Italian Literature And Theory.* SNS 
This course offers a survey of the notion of civic life in Italian literature and theory, from its beginning(s) to contemporary authors. The topic will be explored through some of the major representatives in Italian intellectual history, actively concerned with the life of the community at the urban, national and transnational level. From Dante to Petrarch, from Renaissance Civic Humanism to Machiavelli, from Vico to Gramsci, from Esposito to Agamben, the focus of the class will be on human sociability and on the forces that enhance or hinder the constitution of communities and collective life. Italy offers a privileged entry point into the issue of civic life due to its belated national unification and richness in local cultural varieties, traits that makes Italy unique in the European cultural and political landscape. Thematically, the class will look at the relationship between Church and Empire; at forms of communality beyond political institutions, such as friendship and family; at the imagination of ideal cities and utopias; at the effects of disruptive natural and human events on the making/unmaking of human sociability; at literature and popular culture in the constitution of regional and national identities.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Miriam Muccione

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 9:30-10:50am
Instructor: Raymond Lodato

ENST 24776. International Environmental Policy. EEP
Environmental issues have become a prominent part of the work of international organizations and their member nations. The international community has recognized the efficacy of multi-national agreements as a method for comprehensive solutions to problems that were once dealt with on a nation-by-nation basis. This course will address such topics as the Montreal Protocol, climate change agreements, and the Law of the Sea treaty, as well as the efforts being undertaken by some leading nations to address present-time environmental challenges.
T Th 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor: Raymond Lodato

ENST 25116. Utopia, Dystopia, and the Apocalypse in Western Culture.* SNS
This course will examine how Western society has asked and answered questions about potential futures throughout its history. We will look especially at ways in which these questions have been explored through utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic scenarios within religious, scientific, and political cultures. These narratives have denoted moral righteousness, critiqued the hubris of science and industrialization, and advocated or denounced systems of governance and social organization. They also reveal historical assumptions about human nature, progress, and the relationship between rationality and irrationality. Topics will include Biblical apocalypticism and its influence in the medieval and modern worlds; medieval and early modern millenarianism or the active pursuit of the apocalypse; early modern utopianism and its influence on later utopian writing; modern economic prognostication; modern utopian and dystopian science fiction in literature, film, and television; nineteenth- and twentieth-century socialist and nationalist utopianism and totalitarianism; global catastrophic risks such as asteroid impacts, pandemics, climate change, ecological degradation, and nuclear war; and the increasing importance of science in "futurology" or "future studies," a burgeoning field in the postwar era.
T Th 12:30-1:15pm
Instructor: Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

ENST 25117. Natural History Of Humans/Human History Of Nature* SNS
In this course we will think broadly about human history as a type of natural history and the recent history of nature as a part of the human narrative. Students will be introduced to the concept of "deep time," its discovery by geologists and biologists in the 18th and 19th centuries, and its impact on human history. Topics will include 16th- and 17th-century historiography and Biblical exegesis, geological theories of Hutton, Cuvier, and Lyell, and biological theories of Lamarck and Darwin. We will examine how certain modern sciences have affected historians' approaches. Topics will include how the structure and function of the brain affected kinship development, language acquisition, and social bonding; interpretations of "human nature" by theology, philosophy, anthropology, and psychology; massive time scales and intergenerational governing, justice, and ethics; and geography's role in shaping civilizational development. Finally, we will consider how the rising human impact over natural earth systems may change the way human and civilizational history will be studied going forward. Topics include anthropogenic changes to the biosphere through hunting and agriculture in the ancient world and the globalization of communicable diseases and invasive plant and animal species after 1492; the impact of climate change on modern civilization; the potential that humans are responsible for a new geological epoch; and what "history" looks like without humans.
T Th 9:30-10:50am
Instructor: Justin Niermeier-Dohoney

ENST 25460. Environmental Effects on Human Health. EEP, UE
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 1:30-2:50pm
Instructor: Alison Anastasio

ENST 25910. Introduction to Location Analysis.* UE
Understanding the location of business activities - agricultural, industrial, retail, and knowledge-based - has long been a focus for economic geographers, regional scientists, and urban planners. This course traces the key theories and conceptual models that have been developed over time to explain why economic activities tend to locate where they do. To introduce and explain these theories, this course covers several foundational concepts in economic geography and urban planning, such as: bid-rent theory, locational triangulation, various models of urban structure and growth, urban market areas, transportation, economic restructuring, and the "back-to-the-city" movement. This course incorporates several GIS exercises to teach students the basic principles of location optimization and to help illuminate the foundational theoretical principles of economic geography.
T Th 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor: Kevin Credit

ENST 26003. Chicago by Design. UE
This course examines the theory and practice of urban design at the scale of block, street, and building-the pedestrian realm. Topics include walkability; the design of streets; architectural style and its effect on pedestrian experience; safety and security in relation to accessibility and social connection; concepts of urban fabric, repair, and placemaking; the regulation of urban form; and the social implications of civic spaces. Students will analyze normative principles and the debates that surround them through readings and discussion as well as firsthand interaction with the urbanism of Chicago. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, Urban Design.
M W 1:30-2:50pm
Instructor: Emiy Talen

ENST 27125. Voices of Alterity and the Languages of Immigration** SNS, UE
This course investigates the individual experience of immigration: how do immigrants recreate themselves in this alien world in which they seem to lose part of themselves? How do they find their voice and make a place for themselves in their adoptive homes? If in the new world the immigrant becomes a new person, what meanings are still carried in traditional values and culture? How do they remember their origins and record new experiences?
W 3:00-5:50pm
Instructor: Angelina Ilieva

ENST 27210. Where We Come From: Materials & Methods in the Study of Immigration** SNS, UE
This course provides an interactive survey of methodologies that engage the experiences of immigrants in Chicago. Exploring practices ranging from history to fiction, activism to memorialization, this course will introduce students to a variety of the ways that immigrants and scholars have approached the Second City.
T 12:30-3:20pm
Instructor: William Nickell

ENST 27330. Spaces of Hope: The City and its Immigrants** SNS, UE
"The city is the site where people of all origins and classes mingle, however reluctantly and agonistically, to produce a common if perpetually changing and transitory life." (David Harvey) This course will use the urban studies lens to explore the complex history of immigration to Chicago, with close attention to communities of East European origin. Drawing on anthropological theory and ethnographic materials, we will study the ways in which the city and its new citizens transform one another.
Th 12:30-3:20pm
Instructor: Nada Petkovic

ENST 28702. Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis. UE
This course provides an introduction and overview of how spatial thinking is translated into specific methods to handle geographic information and the statistical analysis of such information. This is not a course to learn a specific GIS software program, but the goal is to learn how to think about spatial aspects of research questions, as they pertain to how the data are collected, organized and transformed, and how these spatial aspects affect statistical methods. The focus is on research questions relevant in the social sciences, which inspires the selection of the particular methods that are covered. Examples include spatial data integration (spatial join), transformations between different spatial scales (overlay), the computation of "spatial" variables (distance, buffer, shortest path), geovisualization, visual analytics, and the assessment of spatial autocorrelation (the lack of independence among spatial variables). The methods will be illustrated by means of open source software such as QGIS and R.
M W 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Marynia Kolak

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.
Instructors: Marynia Kolak and Kevin Credit

ENST 28925. Health Impacts of Transporation Policies.* UE
Governments invest in transport infrastructure because it encourages economic growth and mobility of people and goods, which have direct and indirect benefits to health. Yet, an excessive reliance on motorized modes of transport harms population health, the environment and social well-being. The impact on population health is substantial: Globally, road traffic crashes kill over 1.3 million annually. Air pollution, to which transport is an important contributor, kills another 3.2 million people. Motorized modes of transport are also an important contributor to sedentary lifestyles. Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths every year, globally. This course will introduce students to thinking about transportation as a technological system that affects human health and well-being through intended and unintended mechanisms. The course will examine the complex relationship between transportation, land use, urban form, and geography, and explore how decisions in other sectors affect transportation systems, and how these in turn affect human health. Students will learn to recognize how the system level properties of a range of transportation systems (such as limited-access highways, urban mass transit, inter-city rail) affect human health.
W 3:30-6:20pm
Instructor: Kavi Bhali

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: Emily Talen

ENST 29525. The Global Life of Things.* EEP, SNS, UE
What is a commodity? And can we read capitalism's global history through the commodity form? This course will investigate how historians and anthropologists have studied commodities and commodification to account for the environmental, social, and cultural developments of capitalism over the last four centuries. We will begin by considering canonical theoretical approaches, including Marx, Polanyi, and Appadurai. Readings will then be based around case studies of, among other things, land, cotton, and slavery; sugar, guano, and mushrooms. Readings will span from the early modern Atlantic World through to the nineteenth-century Pacific, the twentieth-century Middle East, and the United States and Japan in the present day. The course should appeal to students pursuing studies of the early modern Atlantic world, economic history, or environmental history.
T Th 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Oliver Cussen

ENST 29700. Reading and Research. EEP, SNS
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: Sabina Shaikh