• <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29902_environmental_studies_group_header.rev.1450298247.png)"/>

Environmental Studies

Course Descriptions

  • ES 108: Environmental Chemistry
    A working knowledge of most environmental issues facing us in the twenty-first century requires an understanding of some key geochemical principles. This course introduces chemistry concepts and skills as they arise in the context of current environmental issues, including chemical cycles in nature, air pollution, ozone depletion, global warming, acid rain, energy sources, water quality, and solid waste. Students will be asked to collect and interpret their own data, as well as to use simple models to explain environmental issues from a scientific perspective. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: CHEM 108
  • ES 110: Intro to Environmental Studies
    The environment is not only a natural place filled with trees and pandas, but a matrix in which all human economies and societies are embedded. Solving current environmental problems often involves closing feedback loops between political, social, and economic processes and the ecosystems from which they draw, and which they, in turn impact. For this reason, the scholarly study of environmental issues is inherently interdisciplinary, requiring a sophisticated appreciation not only of science, but also of the humanities and social sciences. This course is an introduction to the multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of environmental problems and their solutions in today's world. It emphasizes field trips and scientific content, particularly related to understanding biodiversity and ecosystems. It also offers perspectives on environmental issues from the humanities and/or social sciences. Specific topics and content may vary with the professor(s). No prerequisites. Intended for students interested in pursuing the Environmental Studies major.
  • ES 116: Introduction to Geology
    This course will launch participants into the study of Earth's physical history, from the creation of our planet to ways in which geologic processes occur all around us today. Students will learn to identify many different types of rocks, minerals, and fossils, explain the workings of plate tectonics, interpret ancient climates and environments by identifying a single rock, and understand how geologic processes have shaped the face of today's Earth and the life on it. Students will better understand the most important environmental and economic issues facing the world today - the formation, distribution, extraction, and effects of fossil fuels - and gain insight into water movement, access, and pollution. Students will be expected to take a dynamic role in the teaching of materials through presentations and in-class activities. Field trips, including a possible weekend field trip, will be a required part of the class. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.)
  • ES 117: Geography and Demography
    The most important issues facing the Earth and its people in the 21st century all have their basis in the geography of the planet, that is, the spatial distribution of land, water, languages, and economic activity. The course will address the following eight geographical concepts: the major forces driving population growth or decline; water scarcity, water pollution, and water management; food production and distribution systems; global flow of people, ideas, products, and resources; the drive toward urbanization and the response of cities to growth; global warming and the ways in which human activities in different regions contribute to greenhouse gas emissions; democratization, the history and current status of the form of government in different regions, how governmental form is tied to the geography; how gender roles influence societies in different regions. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • ES 203: Spring Flora of the Great Lakes
    (Spring Flora of the Western Great Lakes.) This course introduces students to the identification, systematics, ecology, and natural history of the spring flora of the Western Great Lakes. This course includes extensive field work in the greater Chicago area and eastern Wisconsin. Students learn to identify between 150 and 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plants, and learn the characteristics of 15 to 20 plant families. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.) This Summer Session course in 2018 will be held in the mornings on Tuesdays and Fridays plus full field days 8:00am-6:00pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. There is an overnight trip on May 30-31.
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 203
  • ES 204: Summer Flora of the Great Lakes
    (Summer Flora of the Western Great Lakes). This course introduces students to the identification, systematics, ecology, and natural history of the summer flora of the Western Great Lakes. This course includes extensive field work in the greater Chicago area, eastern Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Students learn to identify between 150 and 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plants, and learn the characteristics of 15 to 20 plant families. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.) This Summer Session course in 2018 will be held in the mornings on Mondays and Thursdays plus full field days 8:00am-6:00pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is an overnight trip on June 26-27.
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 204
  • ES 205: Field School: Lake Michigan Flora
    This course introduces students to the identification, systematics, evolution, ecology, and natural history of the summer flora of the land surrounding Lake Michigan. This course is an extensive off-campus three-week field course in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. Students learn to identify between 150 and 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plants, and learn the characteristics of 15 to 20 plant families. Additional fee will be assessed. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 205
  • ES 206: American Environmental Lit
    An historically organized survey of the various rhetorics through which nature has been understood by Americans from the Puritans to contemporary writers: the Calvinist fallen landscape, the rational continent of the American Enlightenment, conservation and "wise use," and preservation and "biodiversity."
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 206, AMER 206
  • ES 207: Literature of Place: Chicago
    This course will examine Chicago history and literature by privileging its location. In other words, we will consider the city and its environs as central characters in the stories we study, moving through the history of the region with a narrative lens. This method will suggest the ever-changing character traits of Chicago as it develops from Pottawatomie war plain to fur trading post to early mercantile settlement to booming and (for a time) busting metropolis. We will begin with accounts of the Joliet expedition along with narratives of early settlers to the region. Other readings will draw from classic works by Jane Addams, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, and Saul Bellow, Thomas Pynchon, Joe Meno, and Stuart Dybek, among others. Additionally, these narratives will be read in the context of theoretical offerings in ecocriticism. Students should keep Friday afternoons free for a series of field trips, to be scheduled well in advance.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 207, AMER 207
  • ES 209: Terrorism and the Environment
    Human injustice and the environment are deeply interlinked. Terror, war, disease, and slavery have environmental interconnections, and the current climate of terrorism has causes directly related to the availability and scarcity of natural resources. Both terrorists and counter-terrorist groups often deploy environmental weapons and strategies?such as dam breaching and oil field ignition?and make use of communication and supply chains that rely on the intimate knowledge of local geographies. Environmentalists have also employed terror tactics, often labeled as eco-terrorism, such as tree spiking and mailing bombs, to promote and protect environmental values. This interdisciplinary course weaves together geography, natural resource science, history, politics, and sociology to understand the connection between terrorism and the environment. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 296
  • jump to top
  • ES 210: Environmental Ethics
    Examination of relationships between human beings and nature, drawing on literature, religion, and natural science as well as philosophy. What views have shaped our current perceptions, concerns, uses, and misuses of the natural world? What creative alternatives can we discover? How can these be applied to the practical problems of environmental ethics?
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 210
  • ES 215: Environmental Psychology
    Environmental psychology is the discipline concerned with interactions and relationships between people and their environments (including built, natural, and social environments). In this course we apply psychological methods and theories to a variety of issues and behaviors, considering such topics as landscape preference, wayfinding, weather, noise, natural disasters, territoriality, crowding, and the design of residential and work environments. We also explore images of nature, wilderness, home, and place, as well as the impact of these images on behavior. The course is grounded in empirical work, and incorporates observations and experiences in the local environment. No prerequisite.
    Cross-listed as: PSYC 215
  • ES 216: Environmental Education
    ES 216: Environmental Education. This course is based on the notion that an environmentally literate populace is important for a healthy and functioning society now and in future generations. With this in mind, this course provides students with an understanding of the environment, including natural history, biology, chemistry, and public policy, and equips them with the skills to pass this knowledge on to others in a variety of educational settings using a variety of methods. Just like the study of the environment, this course pulls from various disciplines in order to provide an introduction to environmental studies and environmental education. The course contains a service learning component that includes working with professional educators. Prerequisites: ES 110 or BIOL 220 Corequisites: No corequisites
  • ES 217: Troubled World Geography
    Human catastrophes and environmental catastrophes are usually deeply interlinked. War, disease, slavery, earthquakes, tsunamis, climate instability, desertification, and deforestation have geographical correlates that we must recognize to understand their causes, consequences, and solutions. This course provides geographic literacy for understanding the political and environmental issues of the 21st century, issues based in geography - based, that is, in the spatial distribution of land, water, languages, and economic activity. We focus on the history of the world's hotspots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to politically and environmentally unstable places on the globe. This course examines theories of the relationship of human cultures to geography and suggests ways to recast such theories into modern forms. The troubled spots of the world that we examine include the Middle East, all of Africa, Indonesia, and much of the Americas. The relationship between human cultures and geography is present in all of our investigations. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 297
  • ES 218: American Geographies
    Lewis Carroll tells of a nation who made a map on the scale of one mile to the mile, but "the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well." Similarly, American "Geographies" are plural because all geographies are multiple: the same location can be mapped in dozens of different ways, all of which can add to the richness of our understanding of place. "Mapped" denotes both physical maps and a range of mental and cultural constructs that describe place. These include urban geographies, agricultural geographies, natural geographies, and personal geographies as perceived by rulers, explorers, immigrants, recently freed slaves, mountain lions, and others. We compare American Geographies with other Geographies of the world (European and Chinese) to understand these American spatial experiences.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 200, AMER 480
  • ES 220: Evolution, Ecology, and Environment
    The diversity of life - the result of evolutionary and ecological processes - is a primary focus of environmental studies. In order to understand humans' effects on other species, ecosystems, and evolutionary and ecological processes and interactions, a deep knowledge of those entities and processes is critical. This course takes an interdisciplinary, theoretical approach to the evolution and ecology of human - environmental dynamics, including species concepts and speciation, extinction, conservation of biodiversity, political ecology, evolutionary ecology, the human dimensions of global change, demography, biogeography, human and non-human population ecology, and the status of evolutionary theory in the current political arena. Three lecture hours plus one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: ES 110 or permission of instructor.
  • ES 221: History & Literature of Great Lakes
    (History and Literature of the Great Lakes.) The Great Lakes contain 21 percent of the world's surface fresh water. They provided a passage for exploration and still provide a passage for commerce. They are the reason Chicago exists. This course explores the history of the Great Lakes ? geological, Native American, and modern ? and the literature and art that arose from human interaction with these vast waters. In this interdisciplinary course we read geological and geographical descriptions, Native American literature, journals of early European explorers, poetry, short stories, and histories of social, economic, and environmental issues concerning the Great Lakes. No prerequisites.
  • ES 222: The Lake by the College
    (The Lake by the College: Geography, Ecology, History, and Current Environmental Issues of Lake Michigan). Lake Forest College calls itself the College by the Lake, yet most of us know very little about this vast inland sea. Geography is the study of physical places on the earth's surface and the relationships between people and those places. This course introduces students to the physical properties of the lake and its ecological and economic significance to Chicago, the City of Lake Forest, the Greater Chicagoland region, the United States, and the world. We explore current issues and policies about the lake's diverse and often conflicting uses as a dump site, a highway for transportation, a pristine recreational resource, and the source of our drinking water. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences requirement)
  • ES 224: Biodiversity
    Biodiversity has commonly been defined as the diversity of genes, species, and ecosystems, and the interactions between them. This course explores the evolutionary and ecological causes and consequences of biodiversity and the models we use to conceptualize and conserve its components. We study and attempt to explain the unequal distribution of biodiversity over space (tropical rainforests have much greater biodiversity than temperate forests) and time (many more species of beetles have evolved than species of mammals). We pay special attention to diversity in the vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and flowering plants, and consider concepts such as the tree of life, ecological diversity indices, and definitions of genes, species, and ecosystems. The course concludes with the study of theoretical and practical approaches to conserving the biodiversity we have and restoring the biodiversity we've lost. Prerequisite: ES 110, 203, 204, or 220, or any Biology course 120 or above.
  • ES 225: Philosophy of Science
    Examination of issues such as the nature of scientific knowledge, what counts as a "true" scientific theory, the basis of observation, and empirical knowledge. Consideration of ethical issues generated by scientific practice, the politics of technology, and current work on the sociology of scientific knowledge.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 225
  • jump to top
  • ES 236: Environmental Politics and Policy
    This course provides an overview of environmental politics and policy in the United States, with an emphasis on the ways in which policies are developed and implemented at the local, state, and national levels. Special attention is paid to the diversity of actors that shape environmental outcomes, including legislators, administrators, the science community, civil society, and the private sector. This course examines environmental politics and policy in the United States from the roots of environmental policymaking present at the country's founding through the emergence of the "modern" environmental movement in the post-World War II era that led to the raft of environmental legislation we have today. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Social Sciences requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 237
  • ES 240: Religious Perspectives Environment
    The current environmental crises rest on a layer of philosophical and religious assumptions that are currently being challenged. Are human beings the center of the universe? Is humankind's mandate to dominate nature? Does nature belong to human beings or do human beings belong to nature? Contemporary Judaic, Christian, and Islamic ecological visions and action programs will be considered, along with the religious views and practices of particular native cultures of North and South America, Australia, and Africa. Participants may also discuss ecological perspectives derived from South and East Asian religious cultures. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 240
  • ES 260: American Environmental History
    Introduction to the historical study of the relationship of Americans with the natural world. Examination of the ways that 'natural' forces helped shape American history; the ways human beings have altered and interacted with nature over time; and the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 232, AMER 261
  • ES 261: Global Environmental History
    The Earth's environment has changed drastically over time. The first half of this course is a journey through the many phases of environment and climate on Earth in its 4.5-billion-year history from an atmosphere without oxygen to a warm lushly vegetated globe to a world with glaciers pushing toward the equator. In its second half, we will focus on the how environmental changes influenced human history. What was the world like when humans evolved and how did the Ice Ages determine where people migrated? Were the rise and fall of empires tied to the rise and fall of sea level? We will also examine humans as forces that shape and influence the environments they inhabit, for better or for worse. No prerequisite.
  • ES 263: American Cities
    This course is an introduction to the political, economic, and social forces that have shaped American cities from the colonial era to the present, with a focus on the city of Chicago. We explore the patterns of migration and immigration that have shaped the populations who live in cities, the growth of urban economies, the forms of work, school, and urban activities that structure everyday life, and the struggle over power and resources that make up urban politics. We also pay particular attention to the relationship between cities and rural or suburban areas, as well as how U.S. cities compare to cities around the world. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 235, AMER 263
  • ES 271: Technology & Human Values
    Conditions and processes of industrialization in the Western world; problems related to economic development in emerging nations; impact of industry on lifeways of modern humans. Prerequisite: Sociology and Anthropology 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 271
  • ES 273: Cultural Ecology of Africa
    In this course, we will study the relationships between African peoples and their environments. We will consider the process of globalization and its relationship to the changing landscape of Africa in a historical context. By combining environmental studies and anthropology, we will bring a unique perspective to our study of the historical interaction of African cultures and environments, from pre-colonial times through the colonial period to the current post-colonial period. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 273, IREL 273, AFAM 273
  • ES 282: Lake Forestry
    The subjects of Lake Forestry are the trees, forests, and prairies of the Midwest. This course will introduce students to the ecology of individual trees and other plants and to the ecological assemblages of which they are a part. Also included in this course are forest and prairie history and the history of forestry, the relationship between forest and prairie ecosystems and urban and agricultural ecosystems, and current conservation and restoration efforts. All classes will be held outside. In 2018, there will be four mandatory weekend field trips: September 1 and September 15 throughout the greater Chicago area, September 21?23 to Northern Wisconsin, and October 19?22 (Fall Mid-Semester Break) to Southern Illinois.
  • ES 287: Sustainable Food Systems
    Modern food systems have been shaped by complex political, economic, and ecological forces. This course will take a hands-on approach to examining the origins of these forces; understanding their effects on the environment, human health, and the economy; and considering alternatives to the prevailing system. Focusing on a practical as well as theoretical approach to food systems reform, students will participate in extensive hands-on learning in the campus garden, visit alternatives to conventional food production and distribution, and contribute to in-class debates and workshops. (Not open to students who have completed ES 289.)
  • ES 288: Botanical Imperialism
    From corn and sugar cane to opium and nutmeg, from quinine and rubber to pineapples and potatoes, the desire for plant products and the subsequent movement of plants around the globe has been both a cause and a consequence of imperial expansion. This course will examine the impact that plants and their products have had on human political history. The desire for spices, medicines, and crops has driven, and continues to drive, the people and governments of more developed nations to subjugate the people and governments of other, less developed nations, usually with disastrous results. We will spend most class sessions outside the classroom: at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Field Museum, and in Lake Forest's own vegetable garden. Students will be responsible for learning plant science - the morphology, evolutionary biology, and chemistry of the plants we study - in addition to the history and politics. No prerequisites. (Fulfills GEC Social Science Requirement.)
  • jump to top
  • ES 289: Biodiversity and Agriculture
    Defining agriculture in the broad sense, to include fishing and animal husbandry, this course provides a foundation of knowledge of agricultural history and the present state of food production, distribution, and consumption. The course will include basic biology, concentrating on the diversity of plants and animals that have given rise to the crops in use today. We will also look at the changes in ecosystems caused by agriculture and the different types of new ecosystems that agriculture has given rise to. The relationship between agriculture and conservation will be an important theme in this class. The course will be interdisciplinary, with readings from biology, history, literature, law, economics, and politics. The experiential component to this course is critical, and students will visit the proposed campus agricultural initiative, local farms (City Farm, Angelic Organics), and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. To complement the local/place-based understanding, we will explore the origins of agriculture and farming in the developing world. (Not open to students who have completed ES 287.)
  • ES 315: Soc Ethics Energy Production & Use
    Course description: the course will explore the ethical implications of possible future energy initiatives. Emphasis will be given to the global implications of interdependency on primary resources and the technological initiatives of nuclear power and alternative sources. Students will focus on independent research projects, with both domestic and international components, surrounding the environmental, social, and ethical issues of future energy production and use. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 315, PHIL 315
  • ES 316: Sustainable Energy
    This course focuses on energy and the associated resources needed to sustain human life and prosperity. We examine existing and emerging energy technologies, addressing their environmental strengths and weaknesses, technical and economic viability and compatibility with evolving public and regulatory expectations. Among the technologies addressed are oil, gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, solar and ocean-based systems. The approach is quantitative and the course is suitable for those comfortable with science and mathematics, although calculus will not be required. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.) Prerequisite: ES 220, BIOL 220, ES 271, or permission of instructor.
  • ES 322: Freshwater Ecology
    (Freshwater Ecology of the Great Lakes Region.) This course offers a detailed exploration of the biological, physical, geographical, and economic properties of Lake Michigan and aquatic habitats connected to this system. We focus on the methods for assessing habitat condition, the factors that contribute to a habitat?s health, the development of conservation plans, and the economic costs of pollution and mitigation. Prerequisite: ES 220 or BIOL 220.
  • ES 323: African American Envirnmntl Culture
    (African American Environmental Culture from Slavery to Environmental Justice.) Until the environmental justice movement rose to prominence over the past few decades and invited a more critical perspective on the connection between race and the environment, popular understanding of the American environmental (and environmentalist) tradition had effectively been whitewashed. But why? This course will work to find answers to that question while unearthing the deeper roots of African American environmental culture in conversation with key moments in African American history--from slavery to sharecropping, from migration and urbanization to environmental justice. With a special focus on Chicago's African American environmental culture and a field study to the city's South Side, an interdisciplinary approach will examine sources as diverse as slave narratives, fiction, poetry, songs, photographs, maps, and ethnographies, and we will consider African American intellectuals, writers, visual and musical artists, and everyday citizens not always associated with environmental thought, from W.E.B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston to the Black Panthers and the victims of Flint, Michigan's, water crisis.
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 323
  • ES 332: Environmental Writing
    This course focuses on writing about the environment. Students will explore different approaches to the environmental essay, including adventure narrative, personal reflection, and natural history. Poetry and fiction will also play a role as we explore the practice of place-centered writing. We will also use the immediate surroundings of the Chicago area as an environment for our writing. Prerequisite: English 235 or a lower-level Environmental Studies course.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 332
  • ES 340: Environ & Natural Resource Econ
    (Environmental and Natural Resource Economics) Examines different economic theories regarding optimal use of renewable and nonrenewable resources, why market responses to pollution are typically unsatisfactory, and optimal pollution control. These theories are then applied to the real world, taking into consideration political and technological constraints. The impact of past and current policy on the environment will be studied, as will the potential impact of proposed legislation. Prerequisite: ECON 210 or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: ECON 340
  • ES 344: Chicago: The Food City
    Food forms the basis for Chicago's cultural and economic success. From its efficient grid system to its waterway access, the city provided grain and livestock to the country by rail, barge, and truck for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the twenty-first century, new issues challenge national and global food systems, and Chicago stands at the forefront of innovation regarding them. This course covers the history, geography, economics, and environmental impact of food production, distribution, and consumption. We will highlight the following: population distribution, water management, food technology, transportation and storage costs, civic governance, local and regional sustainability, job creation, food deserts, urban farming, ethnic food distribution, and community development. An emphasis will be placed on how differential access to or impact of each of these factors is influenced by ethnicity, income, and education of the citizens. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 110 or permission of instructor. (This course fulfills the GEC Social Sciences Requirement.)
  • ES 350: Marine and Island Ecology
    This summer school course, offered by the Shedd Aquarium and the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area, includes a field experience in the Bahama Islands. Students learn how oceanography and water chemistry affect marine habitats and island environments. Students develop identification techniques for fishes, reptiles, plants and invertebrates while gaining knowledge of field research. The capstone experience is a nine-day excursion on Shedd's research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II, studying tropical marine and island flora and fauna and surveying marine and terrestrial communities of the Exuma Islands. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.) Prerequisite: Biology 220. Credit: one Lake Forest College credit.
  • ES 358: Amer Environmnt in Great Depression
    (American Environment During the Great Depression). This course explores the many ways Americans understood and shaped their diverse local environments during the crisis of the Great Depression. Although the Dust Bowl is perhaps the most iconic of these environmental upheavals during the 1930s, this course examines diverse geographical regions: from the Appalachian mountains to the (de)forested Upper Midwest, from the agricultural South to the Dust Bowl plains and the water-starved West. In each region, we use interdisciplinary approaches (including literary, historical, sociological, and visual media studies methods) to trace the impacts of economic turmoil on the environment and the people who depended on it for their livelihoods, as well as the way economic disaster paved the way for the government's unprecedented intervention in environmental matters.This course fosters critical examination of American subcultures during the Great Depression, including African-Americans, the Southern poor, the Range culture of the American West, and the immigrant experience. Prerequisite: Any 200-level ES course or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 358
  • jump to top
  • ES 361: Environmental Law
    This course will explore basic issues of law and policy involved in the consumption, conservation, and regulation of natural resources. In particular, we will consider how various competing public and private interests in the use and protection of the environment affect legislative, administrative, and judicial decision making. Topics to be discussed include: agency management of environmental risk; civil suits as a means of environmental law enforcement; wilderness and the use of public land; takings and other private property rights concerns; federalism and the environment. Among other statutes, we will examine the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Wilderness Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. (Meets GEC Social Sciences requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 368
  • ES 362: Political Ecology
    Political ecology examines the politics of the environment, exploring ways politics affects the environment and, conversely, the environment politics. This course expands our understanding of politics to examine the roles of human and non-human political actors in environmental change, environmental knowledge acquisition and dissemination, and environmental inequalities. With global inequality as a central concern, we consider topics such as global "villagization" in Tanzania, development projects in India, agrarian reforms in the global south, and effects of land loss on Cajuns, Native Americans, and African-Americans in Southern Louisiana. We also look carefully at the concept of agency and explore how much it is possible to expand our notions of agency to non-human environmental entities, such as animals, plants ecosystems, and genes. Possible topics include cows, cotton, the Mississippi River, and carbon. Prerequisite: Any 200-level course in ES, ENGL, PHIL, or POLS. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 397
  • ES 363: Apocalypse in PostWWII Amer Envrnmt
    (Apocalypse and Fear in the Post-WWII American Environment.) One dominant strain of the post-World War II American environmental imagination has been fear of imminent environmental apocalypse, which manifests itself on a spectrum from diffuse anxiety to paralyzing terror. This course explores this culture of fear through a variety of topics in postwar American environmental consciousness, including the specter of atomic annihilation, the anti-eco-toxics and environmental justice movements, food security, and climate change. Texts and methodological approaches are literary, historical, anthropological, and sociological. Prerequisite: Any 200-level ES or Hist course.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 367
  • ES 365: Poetry and Nature
    This course explores the long history of poetry and its relationship to the natural world, from its roots in Classical Asian and European poetry to its postmodern manifestations. Understanding the natural processes that served as inspiration and subject matter of nature poetry will enrich student understanding of the poem as work of literature and also the poetry-writing process. If enrolled in ES 365, students will respond to the poems with literary and natural history analysis; if enrolled in ENGL 365, students will respond with their own poetry and creative writing. Prerequisite: One 200-level English course or 200-level Environmental Studies course.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 365
  • ES 367: Environmental Writing
    This course focuses on writing about the environment. Students will explore different approaches to the environmental essay, including adventure narrative, personal reflection, and natural history. Poetry and fiction will also play a role as we explore the practice of place-centered writing. We will also use the immediate surroundings of the Chicago area as an environment for our writing. Prerequisite: English 135/235 or a lower-level Environmental Studies course. Not open to students who have completed ENGL 332.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 367
  • ES 368: Endangered Species and Languages
    (Endangered Species and Endangered Languages). Both species and languages can become endangered and go extinct. This course examines the similarities and differences between species and languages in their formation, their evolution, their relationships to each other, and their extinction. We will ask what it means to save a species or a language. We will consider whether some species are of higher conservation value than others and whether the same is true of languages. Prerequisite: One 200-level Environmental Studies course, or one 200-level Biology course, or one 200-level Sociology/Anthropology course, or Linguistics 201.

  • ES 369: Species
    This course provides an in-depth examination of the concept of species as it is used in biology, especially in evolutionary biology, ecology, and conservation biology. Each student chooses a difficult native plant species complex, such as the oaks, the sunflowers, or the asters, to investigate in the field and in the laboratory. Using the literature on species concepts, students attempt to delineate species boundaries within their complex applying two or more of these concepts. Prerequisite: Any 200-level Environmental Studies, Biology, or Philosophy course. (Meets GEC Natural and Mathematical Sciences Requirement.)
  • ES 370: Ecology
    This course examines current concepts and research in ecology at the levels of populations, communities, landscapes, ecosystems, and global processes. Emphasis will be placed on field research methods and reading of the primary literature. Lectures, discussions, and other classroom activities will be combined with field and laboratory exercises. Three classroom and four laboratory/field hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
  • ES 375: Conservation Biology
    This course will examine how biological principles and information can be applied to conservation of species, ecosystems, and natural resources. Topics may include endangered species, conservation genetics, landscape and ecosystem-level conservation, restoration, biodiversity in human-influenced systems, and others. This course is scheduled to allow extended field trips and will also include lecture, discussion, and other classroom and laboratory activities. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 375L
  • ES 376: Animal Conservation
    (Animal Conservation: Ecology, Behavior, and Genetics) This course examines the conservation of biodiversity - genes, species, ecosystems, and the interactions between them - through the lens of animals, and large animals in particular. Elephants, whales, rhinos, giraffes, gorillas, and bison are among the groups of animals studied. Feeding and mating ecology, mutualisms and parasitisms, and the particular behavioral and genetic problems of small population sizes are the key concepts applied to each of these groups. Political, agricultural, and socio-economic barriers to conservations are also examined. Prerequisite: ES 220.
  • jump to top
  • ES 383: Herpetology
    This course provides a thorough knowledge and understanding of reptiles and amphibians, their evolutionary relationships, taxonomic classification, and identifying characteristics, anatomy, physiology, behavior, and ecology. Special attention is paid to local species in Illinois. An emphasis on experiential learning allows students to design experiments and work with topics pertaining to conservation and care of reptiles and amphibians. Three 50-minute lectures and one four-hour lab per week are required. Prerequisite: Biol 220 or ES 220.
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 383
  • ES 384: Plant Biology
    This course aims to provide a thorough knowledge and understanding of land and aquatic plants, photosynthetic protists and fungi, including: molecular biology; chemical organization and genetics; structures and functions of plant cells, tissues, and organs; principles of systematic botany, nomenclature, and classification; evolutionary relationships among the major groups; and the relationship between plants and their environments. An emphasis on hands-on experimentation will allow students to design experiments, analyze data, and present their results. Three 50-minute lectures and one 3-hour lab per week are required. Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status. Students must also register for a lab.
    Cross-listed as: BIOL 384
  • ES 385: Plants & Insects of Great Lakes
    (Plant and Insect Systematics of the Great Lakes.) This course explores the origin and diversification of vascular plants and insects through the sub-disciplines of taxonomy (identification, nomenclature, and classification), evolution (speciation, reproductive biology, adaptation, convergence, and biogeography), and phylogenetics (likelihood analysis, cladistics, morphology, and molecules). Lab emphasizes learning representative plant families and insect orders and families and use of keys and manuals. Prerequisites: ES 220 or BIO 220 or ES 203 or ES 204 or ES 282 or BIO/ES 284 and CHEM 108 or Chem 115.
  • ES 387: Who Speaks for Animals?
    This course explores the aims, motives, and achievements of those who either intentionally or unintentionally speak for animals - scientists, natural historians, philosophers, animal trainers, legal scholars, veterinarians, conservationists, nature writers, and artists, among others. This course investigates the meaning of animals to humans, the meaning of humans to animals, and the meaning of animals to each other. These investigations raise questions about the nature of equality, reason, feeling, justice, language, the social contract, and sentimentality. Prerequisites: Politics 260, or any Environmental Studies or Philosophy course at the 200 level or above, or junior standing.
  • ES 393: Research Project

  • ES 481: Biological & Social Life of Paper
    This course explores the historical origins of paper; the biological organisms - cotton, linen, trees - we get paper from; the environmental effects of the production, use, and disposal of paper; and the cultural meaning of paper. We will follow paper from cradle to grave, cutting a tree and making paper ourselves, and learning to recycle paper. We will consider the pros and cons of a 'paperless future.' We will visit a plantation grown for paper-making, a paper-making factory, and the Newberry Library. We will also consider the history, production, circulation, and use of paper in the social production of knowledge, the shared imagination of value, and the mutual relations of consumers and commodities. There will be a semester-long 20-25 page research paper. Each student will be expected to lead one class session based on his or her research-paper topic.
  • ES 482: 2010 Blowout in Gulf of Mexico
    This course explores many aspects of the 2010 ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, including the geology of the Gulf, the engineering techniques used to drill for oil and gas, uses of and possible substitutes for oil in the past, present and future, the environmental problems created by oil spills and the various cleanup and remediation techniques used, the effect of the leak on oil markets, and comparisons to other oil spills (notably those in Nigeria). Students will spend their fall break at sites along the Gulf, observing the effects of the leak and participating in cleanup efforts. Each student will choose a semester-long research project and be responsible for leading a class session based on their project as well as submitting a significant paper summarizing their research and conclusions.
  • ES 483: Env Connections Chicago-New Orleans
    (Senior Seminar: The Environmental Connections between Chicago and New Orleans) This course explores the environmental issues associated with the greater Chicago area and compares and connects them to the environmental issues associated with New Orleans and the lower Mississippi Delta. The connection between the two areas goes back to the mid-19th century decision to reroute the Chicago River and build a canal system that effectively connected the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. This geographical change provided a trade route from Chicago to the Gulf, enabling Chicago to be a major distributing center for both major trade routes from the Midwest - the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. Other comparisons that the course will address are: energy issues of coal and oil, migration routes from the Delta to Chicago, and urbanization. Prerequisite: senior standing and a major in ES or permission of instructor. There will be a Spring Break trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans, as well as shorter field trips around the Chicago area.
  • ES 484: Restoring Native Wildlife
    (Senior Seminar: Restoring Native Wildlife: Motivations, Methods, and Mixed Outcomes) Humans have frequently tried to restore populations of native wildlife species to areas from which they have been extirpated. This course covers a variety of different restoration efforts, looking at reasons that the species disappeared, arguments for and against restoration, methods used, and the successes and failures of the projects. We review key factors that are likely to determine the outcome of projects. The course also discusses the dual relationship between wildlife and habitat restoration projects. Case studies may include urban peregrine falcon release programs, the Eastern Whooping Crane Partnership, wolf projects in Yellowstone National Park and nearby areas, two 2015 bison restoration programs in Illinois, as well as other projects. Students are expected to participate in several field trips, at least one of which includes multiple days. Prerequisites: Senior standing and a major or minor in Environmental Studies, or permisssion of instructor.
  • ES 493: Research Project

  • jump to top