Environmental Studies Courses
- Environmental Studies 111- Introduction to Geology
An introduction to the composition and morphology of the earth, the geologic processes that alter its surface, and the implications of geology for the human population. Prerequisite: None.
- Environmental Studies 125- Introduction to Earth Systems Science, with Lab
An introductory geology course that demonstrates that Earth systems (the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere) are dynamically linked by internal and external physical, chemical, and biological processes. Using process-response models, we examine the structure and evolution of the Earth, how the rock record is used to decipher Earth's past and predict its future, and societal issues centered on the environment, land use, resources (water, mineral, and energy), and natural hazards. May not be taken by students who have completed Environmental Studies 111. Prerequisite: none.
- Environmental Studies 145- Nations and the Global Environment
Global environmental issues discussed from the perspective of how these problems relate to each student. Emphasis on the geological, biological, and human history of Earth: trends in global climate (including the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion), species diversity (including episodes of mass extinction), human demography, international energy policies, global distribution of resources (including famine, lifeboat "ethics", and politics of "north vs. south"). Discussion of sustainable development of tropical forest, savanna, and marine ecosystems. Readings from texts and current literature. Prerequisite: none.
- Environmental Studies 154- Natural Hazards and Disasters
Also listed as Global Development Studies 154. Natural hazards arise from normal Earth processes. But natural disasters result from the inability of humans to anticipate, and plan for, inevitable hazardous events. Through lectures, seminars, and lab exercises, we will: examine the Earth processes that generate hazardous events; analyze the historical and geological record of past disasters; consider the political, economic, and social factors contributing to the severity of natural disasters; explore how natural catastrophes have influenced human history, art, and religion; and examine international disparities in vulnerability. Prerequisite: none.
- Environmental Studies 195, 295 or 395- Introductory Special Topics, Special Topics or Advanced Special Topics
Topics have been: NGOs, Development and the Environment; Terrestrial & Marine Ecology of Belize; Environmental Challenges & Responses; Environmental History of Food; Climate Change; Sustainable Agriculture. Prerequisites vary, consult college course catalog.
- Environmental Studies 495- Senior Seminar
An interdisciplinary senior seminar for students completing the concentration in Environmental Studies. Topics over the last few years have been: Botanical Imperialism, Tropical Forests, Antarctica, Island Biogeography, Latin America, Asia and Australia, sustainable agriculture, Africa, prairies and savannas, Arctic Thaw, and Eastern Europe. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
- Anthropology 205- Human Evolution
A holistic examination of the evolution of human form using anthropological, biological, and psychological data. Includes issues such as the origins and nature of language, intelligence, and sexual dimorphism. Feminist, sociobiological, and traditional perspectives evaluated. Prerequisite: Anthropology 104 or permission of instructor.
- Anthropology 238- Cultural and Political Ecology
Reviews various cultural anthropology approaches to understanding human/environmental interactions. Focus placed on case studies of small-scale societies from distinct environmental regions, the adaptations to those environments, how subsistence practices relate to other aspects of culture, and how these cultures and environments are affected by increasing integration into the world system (e.g., such as through globalization). Prerequisite: Anthropology 104, or GDS 111, or permission of instructor.
- Anthropology 252- Culture and Agriculture
An overview of the relationship of agriculture to other aspects of culture, through time and cross-culturally. The origins of agriculture, the role of agriculture in subsistence and trade, and its connection to social structure, relition, and values. The rise of industrial agriculture and agriculture in Iowa. Prerequisite: Anthropology 104 or permission of instructor.
- Anthropology 325 Biological Basis of Human Society
An assessment of biological factors in human social behavior through an examination of the social behavior of nonhuman primates and evidence from human ethnology and sociobiology. Topics include reproductive behavior, aggression, dominance, sex roles, and altruism. Prerequisite: Anthropology 280 and either Biology 135 or 136 or permission of instructor.
- Biology 150- Introduction to Biological Inquiry
An introduction to environmental science primarily for students majoring in areas other than science. The course covers living and nonliving factors of ecosystems. Mendelian inheritance, population dynamics, evolution, air and water pollution, pest control, plus biological, energy, mineral, and land resources. (Not all sections of Bio 150 will be approved for the Environmental Studies Concentration; students should check with the Concentration chair for the list of approved sections.) Prerequisite: first- or second-year standing preferred.
- Biology 252- Organisms, Evolution, and Ecology
Investigations of the evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of organismal structure and function, including studies of why organisms acquire and expend energy, acquire and transport materials, regulate internal conditions, transmit information, reproduce, develop, grow, and move. Prerequisites: permission of instructor.
- Biology 339- Biogeochemistry
Study of the effects of life on the Earth's chemistry. This course will examine the interactions among biological and chemical processes that determine the cycling of biologically significant elements in soils, sediments, waters, and the atmosphere. Lectures and discussions focus on current topics, with particular emphasis on the effects of human activity on biogeochemical cycles. Field and laboratory investigations emphasize quantitative analysis and experimental design. Prerequisite: Biology 252, or Biological Chemistry 262, or permission of instructor.
- Chemistry 210- Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry
Leads to advanced work in teh department. Principles of inorganic chemistry and elementary quantitative analysis, including ionic equilibrium, electrochemistry, and acid-base chemistry. Prerequisite: Chemistry 129 or permission of instructor.
- Economics 240- Resource and Environmental Economics
Investigation of the economics of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources. Particular emphasis on the relationship between the biological and physical characteristics of particular resources and our economic choices. Consideration of selected current problems. Prerequisite: Economics 111.
- GDS 251- Water, Development, and the Environment
This course explores international water issues, focusing on the environmental, social, economic, and political implications of water scarcity. Emphasis will be on three interrelated topics: water scarcity as a constraint on development; water scarcity as a source of domestic and international conflict; and, in particular, the environmental implications of water supply projects and their social and economic consequences. Water management policy and teh implications of changing climate on regional water availability will also be considered. Prerequisite: second-year standing or permission of instructor.
- GDS 261- Climate Change, Development and the Environment
This course introduces the basic science of climate change, focusing on the environmental, social, economic, and political implications of such chnage, as well as the institutions and associated policies engaged in negotiating a response, both locally and globally. Students will conduct in-depth examinations of key regions and ecosystems exemplifying how climate change is closely intertwined with development and natural resource management.
- GDS 346- Sustainable Development in the Modern World System
Interdisciplinary social science examination of theories and issues concerning "sustainable development." Historical consideration of the goals of development along with how and why the concept of sustainability became prevalent in the dominant discourse, and teh contested meanings applied to this concept. Focus then given to several key issues (varying by year) at the boundary of economic/social development, natural resource management, and environmental degredation (such as population growth, agrarian reform, international environmental treaties, climate change, deforestation, agribusiness, tourism, etc.). Prerequisite: GDS 111, or Anthropology 280, or permission of instructor.
- Political Sciencce 350- International Politics of Land and Sea Resources
4 credits (plus two option available)
Analysis of the international politics of the conflict between the developed nations of the North and the developing nations of the South for control of the world's resources, the impact of national decision-making processes, international organizations, cartels, and multinational corporations. Case studies on fuel, mineral, and food crises, and law-of-the-sea negotiations. Prerequisite: Political Science 250 or 251.
- Social Studies 221- Geographical Analysis and Cartography
This course offers an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) for spatial analysis and mapmaking. Covers topics such as the nature of geographic information, georeferenceing, GIS data models, cartographic design, geovisualization, the Global Positioning System, and basic and intermediate spatial analysis skills. Focus on understanding the major underlying theories and concepts of GIS, which students put into practice using GIS software applications in lab exercises and an independent research project. Prerequisite: Mathematics/Social Studies 115 or equivalent.
- Technology Studies 154- Evolution of Technology
A chronological survey of technology from stone tools to the electronic and chemical technologies of the present through case studies, readings, and integrative lectures by several faculty. Prerequisites: none.