Sustainability Course Inventory_Dec 2016_for web
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DepartmentCourse#Course TitleCourse Description/Rationale
Natural Sciences
Atmospheric Sciences
103Intro to MeteorologyIntro to Meteorology provides a physics-based treatment of how the atmosphere and climate system works - each have profound impacts on global economics, culture, and politics. The course shows how many of the world’s social systems are driven in part by the environment. This course will focus on the basics of understanding the weather, including how weather observations are made and used.
113Understanding the AtmosphereThis course focuses on environmental topics of sustainability that are related to the general circulation of the atmosphere and examines basics of climate change and its impact on the exchange of water, energy and their momentum in the atmosphere. An introduction to meteorology and climatology. This course focuses on the basics of understanding the weather, including how weather observations are made and used.
178Global Climate Change and ChinaStudents learn the science of global climate change and its impacts on China. The subjects include the geography, climate zones, and historical climate of China. Additionally the environmental challenges of China in the modern century will be discussed.
223Physical ClimatologyThis course examines how climatology engages the interdisciplinary application of climate data and techniques to solve many of society's environmental problems. Students complete projects that investigate how climate impacts given sectors, including water resources, urban environments, ecosystems, and public health. Causes of spatial and temporal climate variation from a physical perspective, with special emphasis on energy balance, feedback mechanisms, and climate modeling.
420Applied ClimatologyThis course uses the application of climatological and statistical principles to weather-sensitive fields such as agriculture, construction, transportation and energy conservation.
Biology [BIOL, HUM]
107Principles of Biological EvolutionAn introduction to the basic principles of evolution, presenting an account of the scope and significance of biological evolution. Principles of Biological Evolution provides a look at evolutionary theory with emphasis on micro-evolutionary mechanisms that influence the creation, maintenance and loss of biological diversity over time.
108Human BiologyA study of the form, function and behavior of humans in light of their evolutionary heritage. Human Biology covers the ecology and evolution of humans. This course includes discussions of human population growth and the influence of humans on the planet’s biosphere
110Plants and HumansStudy of introductory botany and uses of plants by humans. Topics include environmental issues, nutrition, biotechnology, agriculture, drugs, and culinary and medicinal herbs. Presented with an emphasis on fundamental concepts in science while also stressing social issues that arise from our relationship to plants. Plants and Humans presents fundamental concepts in biology through applications. Sustainability is the single-most important application used to illustrate biological facts and theory. For example, students are encouraged to develop an informed opinion about a genetically modified food plant, BT corn, by understanding how it may pose a threat to monarch butterflies as they migrate through the corn belt.
115Concepts in Ecology and EvolutionIntroduction to basic concepts in evolutionary biology and ecology. The laboratory emphasizes data analysis and scientific writing. Concepts in Ecology and Evolution has a significant component focused on conservation biology.  In this course, we discuss how our individual actions can affect other species, populations, communities, and ecosystems. We also look at the evolutionary processes by which biodiversity changes.
116Principles of Cellular and Molecular BiologyClass and laboratory provide an introduction to cell structure and function, and to basic concepts of genetics and molecular biology. Principles of Cellular and Molecular Biology discusses conservation genetics and ways in which human intervention might help sustain species or populations that are at risk.
123Principles of BiologyAn introduction to ideas fundamental to the understanding of contemporary biology (cell theory, genetics, evolution and ecology). Principles of Biology includes a section on ecosystem ecology and the human effects on biogeochemical cycles such as the carbon and nitrogen cycles. This course also reviews major concepts in population ecology with a focus on carrying capacity, population growth, and the ecological footprints of humans living in different cultures.
124Principles of Biology LabIn Principles of Biology Lab, students engage in discussions and presentation of papers about genetically modified crops. These papers include research about the effects of GMO production on the sustainability of agricultural systems and the health of animals.
210Principles of ZoologyIntroduction to the study of animals. Emphasis will be on structure, function and phylogenetic concepts. The laboratory focuses on a survey of the major animal phyla. Principles of Zoology examines the diversity of animals & discusses their evolution and ecology. The course touches on the impacts of humans on animal extinction and on ecological changes that influence the distribution of animals.
211Principles of BotanyClass and laboratory provide an introduction to the study of plants. Emphasis will be on structure, function and phylogenetic concepts. Principles of Botany discusses the impacts of invasive species on biodiversity and students collect data for a long-term project to remove invasive plants. Students also collect data to assist in a conservation genetics project for American ginseng. Principles of Botany frequently refers to topics in sustainability to illustrate concepts. As an example, blue-green algae are noted for their ability to convert inert, atmospheric nitrogen to nutritive, mineral nitrogen. Threats to sustainability arise in aquatic systems when additional nutrients, such as phosphorous, are added to lakes and rivers, resulting in algal blooms.
322/323Tropical Eco SystemsStudy of the important organisms, habitats, and ecosystems characteristic of the tropical world. Emphasis will be on ecological and evolutionary theory, biodiversity, and need for species/habitat conservation. The secondary course to this module is a field trip (two weeks) to study tropical organisms and ecosystems in Central America. As a course in Tropical Ecosystems, this course includes lectures on the crisis in tropical biodiversity as well as a field trip to Costa Rica that includes exploration of cloud forest, paramo, dry forest, and lowland rainforest, all of which are highly threatened. Students gain direct experience in a tropical country that, despite its reputation for ecological wonders, experiences one of the New World’s highest rates of deforestation.
331EntomologyIntroduction to the evolution, systematics, morphology, anatomy and physiology of insects. The laboratory includes field trips to collect and observe insects and to understand their life history, behavior and ecology. Entomology discusses and examines the biodiversity and ecology of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet. Species’ interactions, food webs, population dynamics are concepts that control ecological sustainability and are discussed throughout the course.
332Invertebrate ZoologyLecture and laboratory course designed to acquaint the student with morphology, taxonomy, ecology and phylogeny of invertebrates. Invertebrate Zoology looks locally and regionally at the freshwater invertebrates. Students learn sampling protocols for aquatic macroinvertebrates that are used to monitor water quality, one of the most important resource that requires sustainable management. Species interactions and other concepts that regulate and impact ecological sustainability are covered.
333Vertebrate ZoologyClass and laboratory study of comparative morphology, taxonomy, zoo geography and ecology of vertebrate animals. Emphasis placed on evolution and adaptive mechanisms. Vertebrate Zoology emphasizes vertebrate diversity and includes a unit on sustainable management of wildlife populations and fisheries.
334Plant MorphologyPlant Morphology is a course that explores the patterns and processes of the evolution of plants from the origin of the first photosynthetic organisms to the present. An understanding of our current loss of biodiversity and climate change is given perspective through a presentation of previous extinction events 65 and 250 million years ago. Through their competitive abilities, larger plants and animals thrive during periods of stability, but, because they are more exposed to their environment, are more prone to extinction during periods of change. Giant amphibians and tree-sized club mosses from the coal swamp forests parallel today’s Florida panthers and American chestnuts and, perhaps, Homo sapiens, one of the great apes.
335Flowering Plant SystematicsFlowering Plant Systematics explores sustainability through spring field trips to remnant old-growth forests of the Craggy Mountains. Research on the conservation biology of threatened spring ephemeral wildflowers has been conducted in these areas and is presented to the class.
339MicrobiologyMicrobiology includes a focus on the use of natural microbial populations in sustainability—including use of bacteria in remediation of environmental pollutants, in biotechnology, and in sustainable agricultural practices. Additional attention is given to the observed impact of global climate change on bacterial population diversity.
344Cell BiologyClass and laboratory study of cells as the fundamental units of life emphasizing the relationship between ultrastructure and function. Cell Biology addresses the molecular basis of evolution and examines how nucleic acids, proteins, and cells evolved. The course also teaches how DNA mutations occur and how it generates variation. The sustainability of human medicine and developing pharmacologic agents to combat the increasing threat of drug-resistant pathogens is discussed.
351Field BotanyField identification of flowering plants of the Southern Appalachians, coupled with a survey of the principles of plant taxonomy and evolution, nomenclature, plant community ecology of the Southern Appalachians, speciation, and species concepts. Laboratory will include weekly field trips to local natural areas. Field Botany explores sustainability through fall field trips to rare, high-quality habitats of the Craggy Mountains. Threats to our native flora, including over harvesting of American ginseng; introduced pests and pathogens that threaten many of our native tree species; and non-native invasive plants are included in class discussion.
356Desert EcologyStudy of the major aspects of the desert environment in the southwestern United States, including geologic formations and animal/plant adaptations to the harsh conditions. Course includes a field survey of desert conditions in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
360Animal BehaviorCurrent evolutionary models are used to discuss the significance of animal behavior in relation to ecology. Provides underlying theory along with examples to illustrate key concepts in behavior. Animal Behavior discusses how social and reproductive behavior can influence persistence of rare or endangered animal species, such as those that are the focus of captive breeding and species recovery programs.
442Forest EcologyClass and laboratory activities will offer an overview of the different forest ecosystems in our region, their ecological significance and economic importance. Discussions will include management strategies at the local, state and federal level, current threats (including air pollution, climate change and biological invasion) and how these threats disrupt evolved ecological interactions. Forest Ecology discusses sustainable forestry and forest management for multiple uses (timber, recreation, non-timber forest products, wildlife, etc.).
443GeneticsClass and laboratory study of fundamental principles of inheritance as applied to living organisms, covering modern concepts of the gene together with classical, population, developmental and biochemical genetics. Genetics includes a unit on conservation genetics, in which students use readings (textbook, primary literature) and lab exercises to explore how we can sustain populations whose numbers and diversity has been depleted by human action.
Chemistry [CHEM]
430Advanced Topics in Atmospheric ChemistryAtmospheric Chemistry has a component that focuses on the effect of CFC’s on the ozone layer and the lasting impact of greenhouse gasses is explored.
Computer Science [CSCI]
107Introduction to Computers and MultimediaA survey of computer hardware and software, networking and the Internet, the convergence of personal computers and consumer electronics, digital representation of sound and images, multimedia presentations and authoring. Includes formal labs to develop skills in useful computer applications such as spreadsheets, databases, Internet browsers and multimedia design tools. Introduction to Computers and Multimedia, the environmental aspects of powering data centers and home computers is discussed.
255Computer OrganizationOrganization of digital computers including data representation, logic design and architectural features needed to support high-level languages. Includes a formal laboratory section using circuit design tools. In CSCI 255, we have labs and related coursework in which techniques to reduce computer power consumption, such as adjusting the clock frequency or "pausing" the system, are discussed and implemented.
320Computer ArchitectureArchitectural features of modern computer architectures, including instruction set design, pipelining, memory management and bus structures. Quantitative analysis of computer design choices. In CSCI 320, we have labs and related coursework in which techniques to reduce computer power consumption, such as adjusting the clock frequency or "pausing" the system, are discussed and implemented.
Environmental Studies [ENVR]
130Introduction to Environmental ScienceThe biological, chemical, physical and societal implications of human impact on the environment with consideration of selected contemporary problems such as population issues, acid rain, energy supply, water pollution, etc.
178Reptile and Amphibian Facts and FictionHumans have long had a fascination with reptiles and amphibians. Every culture has a special place for snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, frogs and salamanders. Some are seen as deities while others are vilified and persecuted. Many of these often ancient beliefs have made it into our modern day culture and still impact the way we interact with the herpfauna that surrounds us. Our biases have affected conservation policies, state and local laws governing reptiles and ownership. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding reptile and amphibian evolution, natural history, and ecology. We will examine the main threats facing modern day herpfauna and learn about conservation practices currently in place. This class will examine live reptiles and amphibians to develop a better understanding of their biology and physiology.
234Energy and SocietyStudy of energy production technologies, use patterns and their environmental impact. This course evaluates energy production technologies, use patterns and their environmental impact.
282Environmental GeologyHuman interactions with natural geological processes. Topics to be covered include volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, mass movements, water pollution, waste management, and radon gas. Field trips will be required. Environmental Geology explores human interactions with natural geological processes. Topics covered include volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, mass movements, water pollution, waste management, and radon gas. Experiential fieldwork is also part of the course.
312Effects of Air Pollution on EcosystemsThrough the use of textbooks and primary literature we will examine the effects on ecosystems of such air pollutants as acid deposition, nitrogen loading in soils, and greenhouse gases. This is a discussion based course that examines the effects on ecosystems of such air pollutants as acid deposition, nitrogen loading in soils, and greenhouse gases.
322Tropical EcosystemsStudy of the important organisms, habitats, and ecosystems characteristic of the tropical world. Emphasis will be on ecological and evolutionary theory, biodiversity, and need for species/habitat conservation. Tropical Ecosystems studies important organisms, habitats, and ecosystems characteristic of the tropical world. The is an emphasis will on ecological and evolutionary theory, biodiversity, and need for species/habitat conservation.
323Tropical Ecosystems Field ExperienceThis course is a field trip (two weeks). The aim is to study tropical organisms and ecosystems in Central America. Expenses are paid by participants.
324Environmental EthicsThis course explores the intersection of environmental ethics with science and policy from a diversity of Western and Non-western theoretical perspectives. Students identify local and global applications of theory and learn to develop ethical arguments.
330Seminar on Environmental IssuesIn-depth coverage of a selected environmental problem based on oral and written student reports.
332Environmental ManagementThe principles, practices and problems of managing the environment at the federal, state and local levels. The course focuses on the complexities of environmental administration of renewable and nonrenewable resources, pollution control and global problems.
333Environment, Design and Solar EnergyConventional and alternative energy systems and the interrelationships between renewable energy resources and the built environment; lectures, field trips and demonstrations.
338Principles of Hydrology and HydrogeologyStudy of the hydrologic cycle with an emphasis on groundwater. Topics include stream and groundwater flow, water resource management, and water contamination. Field work is employed in typical hydrologic investigations will be used during laboratory and field trips.
348Avian Ecology and ConservationAn introduction to the identification, ecology and conservation of birds, particularly those of the Southern Appalachians. Laboratory will include several early morning field trips. At least one weekend field trip is required.
358AgricultureA review of agriculture production systems and their environmental consequences, ranging from highly intensive industrial food production to more sustainable approaches, including organic agriculture, agroecology, biodynamic agriculture, and permaculture. Course includes field trips to local farms. Students will plant and maintain a Fall garden. Odd years Fall.
360Environmental RestorationThis course focuses on the planning, implementation and assessment of ecosystem restoration with an emphasis on aquatic habitats. Topics include goals, objectives and design of restoration projects and selecting the criteria used to assess the structural and functional attributes of a restored ecosystem.
364Ecosystem EcologyStudy of basic ecosystem ecology concepts and processes with application of this knowledge to different ecosystems, especially our nearby terrestrial systems of the Southern Appalachians.
365Strategies for SustainabilityIntroduction to the study of institutional change and improved environmental performance. Focus on manufacturers, large institutions such as universities and hospitals, and the built environment.
383Environmental PlanningA focus on environmental problems associated with land planning, landscape design and land use. Student exercises using various techniques and methods of landscape analysis are included with application to planning issues.
385SoilsIntroduction to soils including physical and chemical properties, the role of water in soil processes, microbial activity and other aspects of soil ecology, biogeochemical cycles as they relate to plant productivity, soil acidity, soil formation, soil classification, and soil degradation. Laboratory includes several field trips.
390Wildlife Ecology and ManagementAn introduction to the principles and practices of wildlife ecology and management, emphasizing wildlife species and habitat of our local area, the Southern Appalachians.
Mathematics [MATH, STAT]
MATH 155Nature of MathematicsTopics from financial math, statistics, mathematical modeling, the mathematics of art and music, symbolic logic, set theory, theories of voting, practical geometry, and network theory are explored with an emphasis on problem solving. The Nature of Mathematics explores topics such as solar power, geothermal power wind and wave power, CO2 emissions from gas and electricity as well as their relationship to mph. Additionally, the course looks at the environmental coast of meat-eating, international rates of oil and gas reserves, the ecological footprint of nations, Persian gulf income and population as well as the gulf oil diversity, and finally the diversity of life expectancy. The aforementioned topics are studied in conjunction with areas that deal with financial math, statistics, mathematical modeling, the mathematics of art and music, symbolic logic, set theory, theories of voting, practical geometry, and network theory are explored with an emphasis on problem solving.
365Linear AlgebraLinear Algebra examines the study of the theory and applications of systems of linear equations, vector spaces, matrices, linear transformations, determinants and eigen-vectors. Specific topics include inner product spaces, Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization and the diagonalization of matrices. The Leontif Model is also studied and how it determines the viability of an economy and how the same economy can fail because of the reduction of one resource.
394Differential EquationsDifferential Equations examines the existence and uniqueness of solutions of differential equations; separable, homogeneous, and exact equations; the Laplace transform; elementary numerical and infinite series methods; Fourier series; and various applications. Further study focuses on Catastrophe Theory and at what resource level would a population collapse.
STAT 185Introductory StatisticsThe Introduction to Statistics studies linear correlation of carbon dioxide concentration on global temperature. Multiple regression that simultaneously examines effects of carbon dioxide concentration, solar luminosity, volcanic activity, southern oscillation, and sulfate emissions on global temperature. Regression looking at factors that affect gas mileage in cars and international population growth rates. The focus of the course includes: understanding the methods; selection of methods appropriate to a process; interpretation of results. Major topics include: descriptive statistics, discrete and continuous probability distributions; sampling; statistical inference and regression methods.
327Applied Multivariate AnalysisThis course examines areas in reference to population, income, literacy, life expectancy and murder rates as well as high school graduate rate of selected states and comparing them to one another. Methods of multivariate analysis, including canonical correlation, clustering, discriminant analysis, factor analysis, multivariate analysis of variance, multiple regression and principal components analysis.
New Media
142New Media History and TheoryWe discuss flavors of marxist media theory (Marx, Benjamin, Debord, Baudrillard) and their relationship to marketing, consumerism, media spectacle, and capitalism. We discuss Bruno Latour's proposition that we have never been modern and his critique of the (myth of a) nature/culture divide, which leads into discussions about the anthropocene and the radical neo-(post?-)marxist tactic of accelerationism.
Physics [PHYS, ASTR]
PHYS 101Light and Visual Phenomena This course covers basic optics with applications in the areas of photography, vision, color and art and how they relate to the Greenhouse Effect and the Ozone layer.
102The Physics of Sound and MusicA course for the general student covering the principles of sound, with applications in the areas of music, perception, audiology and electronic sound production. In the course, the dangers of loud environmental sound levels are examined - hearing loss and being careful concerning loud sounds. Students are given the opportunity to conduct fieldwork on the topic and report back with their data/findings.
131Introductory Physics IAn introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics with laboratory. The idea of the conservation of energy from a physics perspective, as opposed to energy conservation, is also covered
221Physics IIntroductory calculus-based physics for science and engineering students with laboratory covering Newtonian statics and dynamics, fluids, heat and sound in relation to conservation of energy and alternatively, energy conservation.
222Physics IIContinuation of Physics I- but covering areas of calculus-based physics for science and engineering students with laboratory covering Newtonian statics and dynamics, fluids, heat and sound as well as the above energy conservation topics.
325Thermal PhysicsThe basic principles of heat, thermodynamics and introductory statistical mechanics. In Thermal Physics, 2-3 weeks are spent on the concept of Entropy. The operation of fuel cells are also discussed.
326Modern PhysicsSpecial relativity, quantization, fermions, bosons, molecular physics, laser physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics and elementary particle physics. In this course, the operation of the solar cell is discussed, along with applications of semiconductor physics. Nuclear energy is also discussed: fission reactors and two designs of nuclear power plants (the Boiling Water Reactor and the Pressurized Boiling Water Reactor), along with the future generation of power via nuclear fusion
ASTR 105AstronomyA course for the general student with laboratory covering the solar system, constellations, the evolution of stars, cosmology and contemporary topics in astronomy. Additional topics include celestial mechanics, fundamental forces in nature, atomic spectra, relativity, stellar nuclear reactions and quarks. ASTR 105 covers the anthropogenic greenhouse effect and climate change in the context of Terrestrial Planets. This is one of the scientific arenas in which this problem was originally identified
178The Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy of CarbonA central theme of this course examines the natural production of chemical energy through photosynthesis and the eventual storage of some that energy in hydrocarbon fossil fuels. The oxidation of mined hydrocarbons by humans then releases carbon dioxide at rates exceeding natural absorption, resulting in climate change.
Art & Art History [ART, ARTH]
History [HIS]
178History of National ParksThe focus of this course introduces the student to the significant historical events, persons, movements, and themes related to the history of America’s National Parks and encourages students to develop an understanding of the distinctiveness (both perceived and real) of the parks and the legacy of that uniqueness.
178Cities and Urban Life in the Modern United States
303Colonial North AmericaExamines early North America from before European/American Indian contact to 1763. The course pays particular attention to the development of the North American colonies within the larger Atlantic World. We will examine the interactions among indigenous, European, and African peoples and cultures, as well as the competition for empire among English/British, Dutch, Spanish, and French nations and the rise of the British to a position of dominance in North America, and the internal development of American colonial society. See department chair.
319Southern Apalachian History and CultureAn introduction to the events, people, movements, and themes of Appalachian history form the earliest human habitation to the present day with a particular emphasis on understanding the roots of Appalachian identity, and how the unique environment of the Southern Appalachian mountains shaped that identity.
333Perspective on Colonial Latin American HistoryA thematic approach to the study of the colonial period in the American Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Social, political, economic, and environmental history is emphasized in this course. Translated primary sources are a fundamental element while secondary literature is employed to bring historical context. Case studies of the lives of individuals from all walks of life are employed to increase student understanding of the region’s cultural diversity. See department chair.
373Environmental HistorySpecial topics course.
Literature & Language [LIT, LANG]
334Western Literature: Ancient to RenaissanceMajor Western literary works through the Renaissance period studied against their literary, historical and cultural background. This course analyzes persistent themes that emerges in the course, one that often facilitates among students a sensitive discussion of environmental issues, is the relationship between humankind and the natural world. We examine how the use and abuse of natural resources becomes a kind of moral index throughout ancient, medieval, and Renaissance texts: the divine injunction in Genesis for Adam and Eve to serve as stewards of creation, the abusive extravagance of Penelope's suitors in Homer's Odyssey that threatens Ithaca's future, Bartolome de las Casas' critique of the wastefulness inherent to Spanish colonialism (a single Spaniard, he claims, consumes as much in a day as a family does in a month), and Milton's depiction in Paradise Lost of devils busily mining Hell for ore and jewels, among others.
335Western Literature: Enlightenment to ModernThis course examines question of, what it means to "live on the land" as colonizers and as native Africans, as well as environmentalism and the postcolonial. Topics that are also covered are environmental sustainability, industrialization and the romantics' connection to the natural world and how that might anticipate contemporary theories of ecology and environmental science. Major Western literary works from the Enlightenment to the modern period, studied against their literary, historical and cultural background.
363Appalachian LiteratureA study of the literature of the Appalachian Mountains within the context of the region’s history, culture, and politics. A study and exploration of imaginative literature that includes lectures, discussions, in-class writing, techniques for drafting, developing, shaping, revising, and editing work, supportive feedback, and individual meetings for the development of significant projects and for the assessment of work. This course aims to investigate sustainability related topics through literature. I routinely teach Denise Giardina's Storming Heaven, which fictionalizes the Battle of Blair Mountain and the horrific working conditions that led to strikes leading up to it. Many of the readings (James Still's River of Earth, Lee Smith's Oral History, etc) also touch on tough environmental issues related to coal.
364Postcolonial LiteratureWorld literatures with a focus on the historical and continuing effects of colonization. Topics will vary, but may include African, South Asian, Pacific Rim, and Caribbean literatures with attention to themes of race, language, nationalism, empire, education, and the intersections of cultural identities. A study and exploration of imaginative literature that includes lectures, discussions, in-class writing, techniques for drafting, developing, shaping, revising, and editing work, supportive feedback, and individual meetings for the development of significant projects and for the assessment of work. In postcolonial literature (Lit 364), with Animal's People, we explored the environmental exploitation of colonies.
LANG 120Academic Writing and Critical InquiryEmphasizes writing as a tool of discovery and analysis; practice in active, critical reading; and attention to audience, purpose and structure. It also introduces students to writing conventions of various discourse communities. Much of this course looks to educate students about the damaging effects of Mountaintop Removal, fracking, sustainable land use, water use and organic farming. These areas of study is the basis for our research unit. Students read a common text (for example, Lost Mountain or Bringing Down the Mountains), the text is discussed in class and from those discussions students chose one aspect on which to focus for their papers. Documentary films are also a component of the course. Many topics presented by students are grounded in the area of environmental sustainability. These topics have included: rotational grazing for cattle and other livestock; how coal companies process coal for production and the resulting coal slurry; the problem of where/how to store coal slurry (either in an impoundment on top of a mountain which could break and flood the valley, as happened in Buffalo Creek, WV in 1972 or in underground containers that often leak coal slurry and contaminate ground water); health effects of coal mining (these ranged from the obvious like black lung to the less obvious health effects of living in a coal town), the debate over controlled burns in the Linville Gorge area, and much more.
Music [MUSC]
178EcomusicologyWhile ideas about music and the natural world since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, recent years have seen concerted efforts on the part of musicians, activists and scientists to comprehend the music-environment nexus. Does a music that is more sensitive to and/or more reflective of our surroundings offer more promising solutions to our present day problems than our inherited 'humanistic' musical traditions? In our attempts to answer this question over the course of a semester, students will be invited to consider music and ecological consciousness from a variety of angles. Course assignments are designed to help students develop as critical readers, listeners, composers, activists, writers and creators.
Philosophy [PHIL]
312Applied EthicsA topical study of basics in ethical theory and practice and their application to specific fields or problems. Students will study contemporary issues such as biomedical ethics, environmental ethics, criminal justice ethics or business ethics. Topics will rotate according to interest and demand. May be repeated as subject matter changes.
Democractic ExperimentalismDr. Butler’s course "Democratic Experimentalism" included multiple authors on the concept of sustainability. Maybe most notable were readings offering careful critiques of the concept by Charles Sabel (MacArthur "genius" Award winner) and Christopher Ansell. The seminar was highlighted by both of the authors visiting our campus and conversing with students on this subject. In relation to the course on Social & Political Philosophy, Dr, Butler notes that while environmental sustainability has not been a central issue, students get a very clear idea of human in environment and the importance of both change and stability by engaging with Aristotle's Politics carefully.
Religious Studies [RELS]
200Introduction to Ethical TheoriesIntroduction theories in ethics balancing a western historical component with exploration of more contemporary and/or non-western components. Students will be introduced to virtue theory, utilitarianism and deontology as well as some mix of Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist and/or Hindu theories and contemporary feminist theories. Emphasis will be placed on students developing their individual responses to perennial issues in ethics. the Study of Religion includes case studies on food and religion, including Jain dietary practices of non-violence. Creation myths reveal the relationships between humans and nature in various cultures. Daoist perspectives of harmony with nature are compared to other traditions that define evil or imbalance in various ways. Students also study Haitian Vodou, with particular emphasis on the relational belief within this tradition that the natural world mirrors the spiritual world while also serving generally as the main point of connection to the latter. Thus, natural sacrificial elements used in Vodou ceremonies (goats, fowl, various plant species, etc.) are afforded great respect as essential sources of power for human communities and spiritual beings.
280Asian Religious TraditionsCourse surveys the ideas, practices, and social institutions of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, Shinto and South Asian Muslim traditions. Through an historical framework, we will explore various dimensions of these traditions, including myth, scripture, ritual, devotion, religious authority, sacred space and time, ethics, gender, performance, politics, and diaspora communities. In Asian Religious Traditions we look at Ganesh Chathurti that involves information on the Eco-Ganapathi Movement to utilize organic, non-toxic substances in making the temporary images of Ganesh for the week-long festival. These murtis (images) of Ganesh must be submerged in a body of water at the end of the festival, and these newer practices minimize the pollution of the rivers and seas. On a related note, we study the divination of the Ganges River as a goddess in relation to the industrial and household pollutants found in the river. As the river is considered to be pure (from a religious perspective) and has the power to cleanse anyone of the karma arising from their negative actions, people do not think the Ganges “needs” cleaning. There are several current movements and NGOs navigating the religious understandings of the Ganges in relation to the scientific perspectives of pollution.
312Religion in America to 1865Religion in America to 1865, considers the ways in which “Nature” became emblematic of the larger religious understanding of antebellum American culture, from the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers that a “natural religion” could be rationally discerned through observation, to the writings of the Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (essay on “Nature”) and Henry David Thoreau (Walden), to the landscape art of the Hudson River School, for whom the American wilderness represented a type of sacred space.
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