Courses Required and/or Recommended of Environmental Studies Majors
The goal of this course is to prepare students to be environmentally responsible citizens and empower them with scientific knowledge to make the right decisions concerning the environment. Chemistry 100 is a one-semester introduction to important topics in chemistry, environmental chemistry, and environmental engineering. Connections will be made between environmental chemistry and most disciplines taught at Whitman College. Topics will include major U.S. environmental laws, basic chemistry, sources of pollution, water quality, water scarcity, water and wastewater treatment, pollutant fate and transport modeling, global environmental issues (acid rain, global warming, and stratospheric ozone depletion), and risk assessment. No chemistry background is presumed. Highly recommended for environmental studies students not majoring in a natural science. Students may not receive credit for Chemistry 100 if they have taken Chemistry 125 or a more advanced college chemistry course. Three lectures per week; no lab.
Chemistry 125 General Chemistry (3 credits)
The first semester of a yearlong course in introductory chemistry. Topics include atomic and molecular structure; periodic properties of the elements; chemical bonding; properties of gases, liquids, and solids; stoichiometry; aqueous solution reactions; and perhaps an introduction to organic chemistry and biochemistry. Problem-solving involves the use of algebra. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite: two years of high school mathematics or consent of instructor.
Chemistry 126 General Chemistry(3 credits)
The second semester of a yearlong course in introductory chemistry. Topics include properties of solutions, elementary thermodynamics, introduction to chemical equilibrium, kinetics, oxidation-reduction and electrochemistry, acids and bases, environmental issues, and nuclear chemistry. Problem-solving in this course involves the use of logarithms and algebra including the quadratic formula. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 125.
Chemistry 135 General Chemistry Lab I (1 credit)
Laboratory exercises in physical and chemical properties of matter, with an introduction to both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. Topics include gravimetric and volumetric analysis, molecular structure, chemical synthesis, acid-base chemistry, properties and reactions of various groups of elements, and thermochemistry. One three-hour laboratory per week. Corequisite: Chemistry 125.
Chemistry 136 General Chemistry Lab II(1 credit)
A continuation of Chemistry 135 with emphasis on descriptive chemistry and discovery-based experiments. Topics include analysis, kinetics, synthesis, and an introduction to spectrophotometric methods of analysis. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 135; Corequisite: Chemistry 126.
Chemistry 140 Advanced General Chemistry I (4 credits)
A one-semester accelerated course in introductory chemistry designed for students with a strong high school background in chemistry. Topics similar to those in Chemistry 125 and 126 will be covered at a faster rate and a deeper level. Laboratory exercises emphasize the concepts and methods developed in lecture and will involve experiments similar to, but not necessarily identical with, those covered in Chemistry 135 and 136. Problem-solving involves the use of algebra. Three lectures and one three- to four-hour laboratory per week. Enrollment is limited to 46 students. Chemistry 140 is equivalent to the sequence of Chemistry 125, 126, 135, and 136. Prerequisites: two years of high school mathematics, one year of high school chemistry (two recommended), and a passing score on a qualifying exam given on campus immediately prior to first semester registration.
Chemistry 240 Quantitative Analysis and Chemical Equilibrium (4credits)
The principles of chemical equilibrium and methods of quantitative analysis. Topics include statistical analysis of data, activities, and the systematic treatment of acid-base, precipitation, complexation, and oxidation-reduction equilibria. Laboratory exercises involve the exploration and elucidation of the concepts and methods developed in lecture, and include gravimetric, titrimetric, and colorimetric analyses, with an introduction to selected instrumental methods of analysis and instruction in and use of electronic spreadsheets for data analysis and graphing. Two lectures and two three- to four-hour laboratories per week. Prerequisites: Chemistry 126 and 136 or Chemistry 140.
Chemistry 245 Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)
The first semester of a yearlong course in organic chemistry. Topics include reaction mechanism, nomenclature, stereochemistry, spectroscopy, and the synthesis and reactions of alkyl halides, alkenes, alcohols, ethers, and alkynes. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 126.
Chemistry 246 Organic Chemistry II (3 credits)
A continuation of Chemistry 245. Topics include spectroscopy, aromatic chemistry, carbonyl compounds, and biomolecules such as carbohydrates and amino acids. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 245.
Chemistry 251 Organic Laboratory Techniques I (1 credit)
Introduction to fundamental organic laboratory techniques. Topics include recrystallization, distillation, melting point determination, chromatography, extraction, and one-step syntheses. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 126 or Chemistry 140. Pre- or corequisite: Chemistry 245.
Chemistry 252 Organic Laboratory Techniques II (1 credit)
Continuation of organic laboratory techniques involving intermediate exercises. The course covers more challenging syntheses as compared to Chemistry 251, as well as multistep synthesis and spectroscopic analysis of products. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 251. Pre- or corequisite: Chemistry 246.
Chemistry 320 Instrumental Methods of Analysis (4 credits)
This course deals with sample preparation, data analysis, method development and the theory of operation of modern laboratory instrumentation. Instrumental techniques discussed in lecture and used in the laboratory will include flame atomic absorption spectroscopy, capillary electrophoresis, inductively coupled plasma spectrometry, basic mass spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy with elemental detection, and ion, high pressure, and gas chromatography. Laboratory exercises will concentrate on real world applications of chemical analysis. One Friday afternoon field trip may be required. Three lectures and one three- to four-hour laboratory per week are required. Prerequisites: Chemistry 240, 251 and 252. Pre- or corequisite: Chemistry 345.
Chemistry 346 Physical Chemistry II: Statistical Thermodynamics, Classical Thermodynamics and Kinetics (4 credits)
This course is the second of a two-semester sequence exploring the fundamental behavior of chemical systems in terms of the physical principles which govern this behavior. The specific focus is on the statistical description of matter and applications of this statistical analysis to classical thermodynamic principles. Furthermore, we will investigate the kinetic behavior of chemical reactions from a mechanistic and statistical perspective. In this course, we will review and learn applied mathematical techniques, perform mathematical modeling exercises and engage in literature review work which will provide concrete examples and applications of the material in the lecture portion of the class. Meets four hours per week.
Chemistry 388 Environmental Chemistry and Science (4 credits)
This course will examine (1) the basic chemistry associated with pollutant fate and transport modeling in environmental media, especially acid-base, oxidation/reduction, solubility, speciation, and sorption reactions, (2) basic physical concepts for modeling the fate and transport of pollutants in environmental media, and (3) pollutant risk assessment based on humans as receptors. Additional topics might include major U.S. environmental laws, global environmental issues (e.g., global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion), and selected scientific articles. The laboratory portion will concentrate on pollutant monitoring and chemical aspects of pollutants, measuring dispersion and pollutant transport in small-scale systems, and data analysis. Three lectures, one three- to four-hour laboratory per week, and one weekend field monitoring trip to Johnston Wilderness Campus. Prerequisites: A good working knowledge of basic algebra (rearrangement of complicated equations and use of exponential functions); Chemistry 126 or 140; Chemistry 251 and 252 or consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years. There is a mandatory overnight field trip at the end of the semester.
Chemistry 490 Research (1-3 credits)
Two consecutive semesters, or a summer and a subsequent semester, of work on projects of current interest to the staff. The research may involve laboratory work on original projects, reports based on library searches, development of instructional laboratory exercises, etc. The student must select a supervising faculty member and obtain approval for a project prior to registration for the first semester of the two-semester sequence, or prior to registration for the fall semester if the project will commence during the summer. A final written report, and a seminar on the project will be required. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Prerequisites: two years of college chemistry and consent of instructor.
Chemistry 498 Honors Thesis (3 credits)
Independent research or projects leading to the preparation of an undergraduate thesis. Credit cannot be earned simultaneously for Chemistry 498 and 490. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in chemistry. An adviser for the thesis must be chosen by the end of the junior year. Prerequisite: admission to honors candidacy.
Economics 102 Principles of Macroeconomics (4 credits)
This course deals with broad economic aggregates such as national income, the overall level of prices, employment, unemployment, interest rates, public debt, and international trade. It provides an overview of macroeconomic issues and introduces concepts concerning the overall performance of the U.S. economy in a global context. It covers business cycles, economic growth, unemployment, and inflation, and explores the role of government fiscal and monetary policy. Not open to those who have taken Economics 107 or 109.
This course provides the same coverage of topics as Economics 101 Principles of Microeconomics, but special emphasis is placed on applying concepts to environmental and natural resource issues. Students pursuing an environmental studies combined major and others interested in the environment are encouraged to take this course. Students who receive credit for Economics 101, 107 or 109 cannot receive credit for this course.
Economics 227 Statistics for Economics (4 credits)
An introductory course which surveys everyday economic statistics, topics in descriptive and inferential statistics, and regression analysis. The concentration is on applications to problems in economics. Topics include: techniques for organizing and summarizing economic statistical data; random variables and probability distributions; sampling distributions; estimation and hypothesis testing, and simple and multiple regression theory. Computer lab assignments and applications will be part of the course. Prerequisites: Economics 101 or 177, Economics 102, college-level algebra.
Economics 307 Intermediate Microeconomics (4 credits)
A course in intermediate microeconomics (price theory) which includes the theory of consumer behavior, the theory of the firm (including production theory), the pricing and employment of resources, market supply and demand, general equilibrium, and welfare economics. All economics and economics-combined majors must pass this course with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Prerequisites: Economics 101 or 177; Mathematics 125.
Economics 308 Intermediate Macroeconomics (4 credits)
This course provides an extensive analysis of current macroeconomics issues and events from the perspective of mainstream schools of economic thought. It covers theories of economic growth, business cycles, labor markets, interest rates, inflation and exchange rates; causes and consequences of government deficits, effects of trade deficits; short- and long-term effects of monetary and fiscal policies. All economics and economics-combined majors must pass this course with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Prerequisites: Economics 102; Mathematics 125.
Economics 477 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (4 credits)
The first portion of this seminar deals with environmental economics and establishes a framework with which to view environmental problems. Topics covered include the theory of externalities and the features of different remedies, the evaluation of environmental amenities, and a survey of current environmental policies. The second portion of the course deals with natural resource economics and considers the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources over time. Prerequisite: Economics 307.
The poet Tomaž Šalamun has said of himself, “I’m more the beast than the zoo director.” His concept articulates the impulses of many writers who complicate the boundaries between the human and animal. In this course, we will examine "Critter Lit," an emerging genre that engages the colliding identity of wild animals and humans. With our focus on wild rather than domesticated animals, we will ask: How do these texts rekindle or refashion our relationship to wild animals? What does the human/animal distinction mean and how do these distinctions impact our reading of a text? What philosophical and moral issues arise from poems, novels, and essays that use animals as symbols? In discussing these and other questions, the class converses with the emerging field of anthrozoology (human-animal studies) and ecocriticism while engaging established traditions of fairy tales, surrealism, and more. Readings include Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” Marianne Moore’s “The Pangolin,” Justin Torres’ We The Animals, Georges Bataille, Descartes and Montaigne, Kanye West’s video “Runaway,” Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, and more. Students write weekly responses and three 6-page papers. May count toward the elective requirement in Environmental Humanities. Distribution area: humanities.
Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary texts by those newly arrived to the Atlantic coast colonies, and including the writings of those already present on the continent, we will study how an “American” literature came into being. As the population boomed and expansion moved westward, the newly formed United States became a national entity and global presence. We will study the development of American individualism, the rise of genres such as the captivity narrative and the slave narrative, and major literary movements such as the shift to realism and naturalism. Authors may include Bradstreet, Emerson, Douglass, Hawthorne, Whitman, Twain, Wharton, James, Dunbar, and many, many more.
Environmental Studies 120 Introduction to Environmental Studies (4 credits)
An introduction to interdisciplinary themes in environmental studies, including perspectives from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Emphasis is placed on understanding local and regional environmental problems as well as issues of global environmental concern. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in Environmental Studies 120 Environmental Studies Excursions. The weekly afternoon excursions cover the length of the Walla Walla drainage basin, from the Umatilla National Forest to the Columbia River. Excursions may include the watershed, the water and wastewater treatment plants, energy producing facilities, a farm, a paper mill, different ecosystems, and the Johnston Wilderness Campus. This course is required of all environmental studies majors. All environmental studies majors must pass this course with a minimum grade of C (2.0). First-year students and sophomores only or consent of instructor.
Environmental Studies 203 ST: Public Health and Policy in Global Perspective (4 credits)
This course introduces students to leading global health issues and works to link our understanding of the biological/physiological bases for these disorders and current medical practices for their treatment with public policies and programs designed to address them. Students will be urged to identify links between environmental health and human health and will be challenged to explore policies that govern both. Specific topics include: obesity-related disorders (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes) and mental health disorders; policy interventions designed to promote prevention and wellness; and critical responses to these programs. The course facilitates interdisciplinary and global thinking by bringing together students from varying disciplines and challenging them to develop a foundation in human physiology and policy-making from which to assess current public health programs and policies. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 and 207 or consent of instructor. May be elected as Politics 200. Distribution area: social science or science.
Environmental Studies 207 Methods of Environmental Analysis (3 credits)
An introduction to analytic methods and tools utilized to address environmental issues and problems. Building on a basic understanding of elementary concepts in statistics (variables, descriptive and inferential statistics, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, effect sizes, etc.), students will learn to read, interpret and critically evaluate environmental data and literature. Additionally, students will become familiar with environmental analysis procedures and surveys such environmental assessment (Environmental Impact Statements); environmental risk assessment; land, soil, water, wildlife, agricultural, and mineral surveys. Lastly, given the inherent spatial nature of environmental data, students will utilize Geographic Information Systems software to assess spatial relationships between variables. Two hours of lecture per week plus one three-hour laboratory. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies120; declared environmental studies major, or consent of instructor.
Environmental Studies 217 Classical Foundations of the Nature Writing Tradition (4 credits)
The Western nature writing tradition is deeply rooted in models from classical antiquity. In order to appreciate more fully the tradition we will explore the relationship between ancient literature and the natural environment. In our literary analysis of ancient works, we will examine approaches to natural description in several literary genres, which may include the poetic genres of epic, lyric, pastoral, and elegiac, as well as the prose genres of ethnographic history, natural history, and travel-writing. Authors may include Homer, Herodotus, Theocritus, Vergil, Ovid, and Pliny. We will consider how these ancient approaches influenced the development of natural description in the modern period and may read works by later authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Thoreau. May be elected as Classics 217.
Environmental Studies 220 Internship Project (1-2 credits)
Engage in an internship with a college, local, regional, national, or international environmental organization. Prior to the beginning of the semester, students must present an internship proposal outlining specific goals, responsibilities and time commitment. From this proposal, the internship coordinator, along with input from the student’s internship supervisor, will determine the appropriate number of credit hours. In addition to the internship proposal, students are required to maintain an internship journal, submit a midterm and final internship report, and present their intern experience in a poster or oral presentation. May be repeated for a maximum of four credits. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
The Greek term “physis” and the Latin word “natura” refer to what has come to be, as well as to the process of coming into being. This course will consider a broad range of texts which develop important concepts of Nature. Philosophic texts may include the pre-Socratics, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Lucretius. Literary texts may include Theocritus, Virgil, and the early-modern European pastoral tradition. In addition, we will encounter other texts in various genres that contribute some of the ideas which inform the complex and changing concepts of Nature. This course may be used by environmental studies-humanities students toward their critical thinking requirements in the major. All other environmental studies students may use this course to fulfill humanities requirements for their combined majors. May be elected as Classics 226.
Environmental Studies 247 The Literature of Nature (4 credits)
Students will examine the tradition of nature-writing and literary natural history. Readings will be drawn from classics in the field (Gilbert White, Darwin, Emerson and Thoreau, Burroughs and Muir, Leopold, Rachel Carson, Loren Eiseley, Mary Hunter Austin), and from the best contemporary nature-writers (Terry Tempest Williams, Ed Abbey, Annie Dillard, Ellen Meloy, Wendell Berry, David Quammen). Lectures and discussions will trace how nature-writing has mirrored the evolution of social, cultural, political and scientific perspectives on nature.
This course focuses on the intersection of two major concerns in global development—environmental sustainability and the self-determination of indigenous communities—as they play out in the Andes region of South America. Environmentally, this mountainous region is home to astounding biotic and geomorphological diversity and concentrations of major watersheds, glaciers, and complex forests. Culturally and politically, the Andes region also stands out as a locus of Latin America’s indigenous rights movement. This course asks a series of questions centered on understanding environmental issues and movements from the perspective of indigenous peoples, including: How are pressing environmental changes altering indigenous livelihoods and how are indigenous groups responding to these challenges? How do indigenous movement politics rooted in struggles for sovereignty and legal recognition intersect with global environmental concerns and social movements to address climate change, water resources, and biodiversity? How do approaches to development that take seriously nature-culture connections address issues of indigenous livelihoods and sustainability and in what ways do they fail? Readings will draw from anthropology, geography, global health, political theory, journalism, and history. This course builds on Anthropology 102, but it is not required. May be elected as Anthropology 259, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 259 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies.
Environmental Studies 260 Regional Studies (1-3 credits)
A study of a specific geographical region using a multidisciplinary approach. Regions covered may include Alaska, western Canada, the northwest or southwest U.S., Hawaii, or Latin America. Lectures, readings, and discussions in various disciplines, concentrating mainly in the natural and social sciences, will precede a one- to three-week field trip. One or more examinations or papers will be required. May be repeated for credit with focus on a different region. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. The current offering follows. Fee: maximum $75 per semester.
From Argus, Odysseus’ faithful dog, to dog-faced Helen, animals and animality pervade Greek and Roman literature, art, myth, ritual and daily life. This course will survey the significance of the animal in the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome. Exploring representations of animals in art and in a variety of literary genres, we will examine ancient conceptions of animals as the pet, the domesticated, the wild, the beast, the exotic, and the monstrous. We will look at the literary treatment of humans as animals, through metaphor and through myths of metamorphosis, and consider how these treatments illuminate ancient understandings of animality and what it means to be human. Through philosophic texts we will examine the human and non-human animal relationship and the ethics of human use of animals. We will consider the symbolic value of animals as objects of ritual, cult, and myth by looking at a range of cultural practices, from animal sacrifice in Homer to the conspicuous consumption of exotics in the blood-sport of the Roman arena. May be elected as Classics 200B. Distribution area: humanities.
This seminar is an interdisciplinary exploration of the causes, consequences, and political implications of anthropogenic climate change. We will begin with a review of how scientific climate models are constructed and how these models have been deployed by various non-governmental organizations and climate activists to articulate and advance a climate agenda across a broad spectrum of political activities, from international negotiations to grassroots climate and environmental justice movements. We will then explore the political dimensions of various climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, including low carbon social and economic systems, geo-engineering, carbon sequestration, and landscape-scale conservation efforts. Course readings will be diverse, drawing on scientific studies, governmental and non-governmental documents, works of fiction, and academic literature from politics, sociology, and the emerging field of critical climate studies. A field trip and longer research paper may be required. May be elected as Politics 400 but must be elected as Environmental Studies 303A to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 207 or consent of instructor. Distribution area: social science.
Despite Rome being one of the greatest cities in the ancient world, its identity was fundamentally rooted in its natural landscape. In this course we will explore how the realms of urban, rural, and wild were articulated in Roman culture, conceptually and materially. We will investigate both how the Romans conceived of the relationship between the built environment of urban space and the natural environment that supported and surrounded it and how they dealt with the real ecological problems of urban life. Central to our study will be an examination of the ways in which the rural and the wild were simultaneously the “other” and a fundamental aspect of Roman self-identity and memory. Ancient authors that we will read in this course may include Cicero, Vergil, Livy, Horace, Ovid, and Vitruvius. May be elected as Art History 226 or Classics 319.
Environmental Studies 327 Biodiversity (4 credits)
This class will place the concept of biodiversity in historical, ethical, biological, and social context. Students will trace the history of the concept of biodiversity from before the coinage of the term through today. They will learn about different biological definitions of diversity, and the ecological and evolutionary factors responsible for controlling diversity. Students will then consider the scientific evidence for an anthropogenic biodiversity decline, and they will identify components of biodiversity most at risk. The class will evaluate, from ethical, social, and scientific perspectives, various arguments that have been advanced to justify the conservation of biodiversity. We will assess government and nongovernmental actions that serve or strive to protect biodiversity. Students also will come to understand social implications of biodiversity conservation, including both convergence and divergence between the perspectives of local people and those of conservationists and managers. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 and 207.
Environmental health issues are inherently interdisciplinary. This seminar-style course will examine how the natural, built, and social environments impact human and environmental health outcomes. The course will draw on research articles, theoretical discussions, and empirical examples from fields including toxicology, exposure science, environmental chemistry, epidemiology, sociology, history, policy studies, and fiction. Particular attention will be paid to the use of science to develop regulation, the role of social movements in identifying environmental health problems, and inequalities associated with environmental exposures. This course will be reading, discussion, and writing intensive. May be elected as Sociology 329, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 329 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 and 207.
Why does nature inspire us? Where did our understanding of nature come from? We have inherited our interactions with nature from a variety of sources: The Enlightenment was marked by political, intellectual, and scientific revolution and attempted to explain the world through science. The Romantics, on the other hand, reacted by trying to restore some mystery to Nature and to acknowledge its sublime power. This Nature ideal spread throughout Europe and then on to America, where European Romanticism inspired writers like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and their contemporaries’ nature writing, which continues to exert influence on the American understanding of the natural world. This course will look at where American Transcendentalists and Romantics found inspiration. Students will read key literary and philosophical texts of the Romantic period, focusing on Germany, England, and America and explore echoes of these movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: How do the Romantics continue to influence the discourse of environmentalism in America and around the world? Is the Romantic impulse at work in the establishment of the national parks system? Can we see echoes of the Romantic Nature ideal in narratives of toxic, post-industrial landscapes? May be elected as German Studies 335.
From natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, storms) to man-made ecological catastrophe (nuclear accidents, oil spills, the thinning ozone layer), environmental disaster inspires fear, rage, and action. This course will focus on fiction and non-fiction that meditates on these events and our reactions to them. We will examine the ways in which literature and the other arts depict disaster, how natural disaster descriptions differ from those of man-made environmental crisis, whether humans can coexist peacefully with nature or are continually pitted against it, and how literature’s depiction of nature changes with the advent of the toxic, post-industrial environment. Authors discussed may include Kleist, Goethe, Atwood, Ozeki, Carson, Sebald, and others. May be elected as German Studies 339.
Environmental Studies 340 Environmental Radicals in Literature (4 credits)
Much contemporary environmental thought provides a radical critique of industrial and post-industrial society, but in earlier times the first true environmental thinkers challenged systems of agriculture, market economics, land ownership, and urbanism. What was once radical moved toward the center. In this course, students will examine the radical tradition of environmental thought as it has been expressed in literary and other texts. Bioregionalism, ecofeminism, agrarian communalism, Luddism, Deep Ecology, eco-centrism, and other radical environmental expressions will be examined critically. Works by Hawthorne, Thoreau, Ed Abbey, Kirk Sale, Gary Snyder, Susan Griffin, Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Shepard, David Abram and others may be included. Offered in alternate years.
Environmental Studies 347 The Nature Essay (4 credits)
The class will be conducted as a nonfiction prose writing workshop in which students read and comment on each others’ writing. After examining published works chosen as models, students will write essays in the nature-writing tradition, selecting approaches from a broad menu. Nature-writing includes literary natural history; “science translation writing”; essays on current environmental issues; personal essays based on engagement with land, water, wildlife, wilderness; travel or excursion writing with a focus on nature; “the ramble”; and other approaches. Students will learn how contemporary nature-writers combine elements of fiction, scientific descriptions, personal experience, reporting and exposition into satisfying compositions. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Environmental Studies 349 Regional Literatures of Place: The West and the South (4 credits)
The literatures of both the American West and the American South often reflect political struggles. Issues of federalism and states rights, economic dependency on the land, the rapid and radical transformation of an indigenous economy and ecology, and the stain of history stand in the foreground. This seminar will examine literary regionalism by focusing on southern and western writers whose works emanate from and reinforce the ethic and spirit of place. Several of the “Southern Agrarians” may be included along with William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. Western writers may include Bernard DeVoto, Wallace Stegner, Mary Clearman Blew, John Nichols, Larry Watson and William Kittredge. In addition, films will be used to illustrate the peculiar burden of the contemporary western writer. Offered in alternate years.
Environmental Studies 353 Environmental Justice (4 credits)
How are environmental problems experienced differently according to race, gender, class and nationality? What do we learn about the meaning of gender, race, class and nationality by studying the patterns of environmental exposure of different groups? Environmental justice is one of the most important and active sites of environmental scholarship and activism in our country today. This course integrates perspectives and questions from sciences, humanities and social sciences through the examination of a series of case studies of environmental injustice in the United States and worldwide. Biology and chemistry figure centrally in links between environmental contaminants and human health. Systematic inequalities in exposure and access to resources and decision making raise moral and ethical questions. Legal and policy lessons emerge as we examine the mechanisms social actors employ in contesting their circumstances. This course will be reading, discussion and research intensive. May be elected as Sociology 353, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 353 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Environmental Studies 358 Ecocriticism (4 credits)
This course explores the emergence of ecocriticism in the 1990s and its subsequent evolution as a recognizable school of literary and social criticism. Students will analyze foundational texts underpinning ecocritical theory, beginning with Joseph Meeker’s The Comedy of Survival, then move on to more recent texts that seek to expand ecocriticism beyond the boundaries of nature-writing. Students will discuss, present, and write ecocritical analyses of various literary works. Offered in alternate years.
Environmental Studies 360 Environmental Writing and the American West (4 credits)
This course explores how writers and others conceptualize and portray various aspects of the American West. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of a variety of genres, including nature writing, political journalism, creative writing, poetry, and writing for interdisciplinary journals in environmental studies. We will write daily, and we will often read aloud to one another from our work. Goals include developing a voice adaptable to multiple audiences and objectives, understanding modes of argument and effectiveness of style, learning to meet deadlines, sending dispatches, reading aloud, and moving writing from the classroom to public venues. The course will be sequentially team-taught in the eastern Sierra Nevada region of California and southeastern Utah. Required of, and open only to, students accepted to Semester in the West. This course can be used by environmental studies majors to satisfy environmental studies-humanities credits within the major. Prerequisites: acceptance into the Semester in the West Program.
An upper-level introduction to the widening field known as science and technology studies (STS). Interdisciplinary in scope, this course primarily draws on ethnographic attempts to understand how science and technology shape human lives and livelihoods and how society and culture, in turn, shape the development of science and technology. Throughout the course we will be particularly concerned with ways that scientific visions and projects, broad in scope, articulate, mirror, distort, and shape hierarchies based on such categories as gender, race, class, development, definitions of citizenship, understandings of nature, the production of knowledge, and global capitalism. Topics may include race-based pharmaceuticals, climate debates and "natural" disasters, genomics, politicized archaeology, science in postcolonial contexts, DNA fingerprinting, clinical trials, cyborgs, nuclear weapons production, and human/nonhuman relationships. May be elected as Anthropology 360, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 362 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 and 207.
As scientists in the recently-christened Anthropocene contemplate solutions to the crises of climate change, growing energy needs, species extinction, and population growth, the language of science grows ever closer to that of science fiction. In literary and artistic representations of these crises, some find conventional, non-speculative fictions lacking, focusing primarily on the present and the past. Speculative fiction, however, provides us with a language to think about the future. This course will engage seriously with works of science fiction ranging from H. G. Wells and Kurt Vonnegut to Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson, exploring ways in which these works use the language of science and speculative futures to explore that which is most human. We will study literary representations of climate change and its possible solutions, non-humans and post-humans, future Earths and other worlds in order to understand how it is that we as humans interpret, react to, and struggle against the emergent conditions which challenge our very survival. Students will practice a variety of approaches to literary analysis. This course will also explore the role of artistic representations of the environment in shaping our understanding of the environment and of environmental crisis.
Environmental Studies 367, 368 Special Topics (1-4 credits)
An investigation of environmentally significant issues centered on a common theme. The course may include lectures by off-campus professionals, discussions, student presentations, and field trips.
This course sits at the intersection of critical social theory and art practice. Its subject is the relentless making and remaking of diverse spaces—from the built environments of cities, to the geographies of “natural” landscape, to the often invisible, but still highly material, routes in which migrants, information, money, and ideas flow—by forces of neoliberal globalization. Its focus is on artists, activists, and academics who illuminate, contest, or resist these spatial processes through performance, site specific installations, and other means that might be called “art.” Its methods are diverse: students will be asked to engage in a traditional reading-intensive theory seminar, case studies of particular artists, several field trips, and individual or group art practice. For a final project, students will complete a piece of performance or site-specific art that engages with course themes. May be elected as Art 301 or Politics 400. Distribution area: social sciences or fine arts. Fee: $75.
Environmental Studies 369 Food, Agriculture, and Society (4 credits)
Why does the food system work the way it does, and how can it be changed? This advanced reading seminar draws together classics texts from political theory, geography, literature, sociology, anthropology, history, political economy, and agroecology to explore the workings of the global food system. It builds on Politics 119, but previous completion of this course is not required. May be elected as Politics 369, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 369 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 207.
Environmental Studies 387 Sustainability (4 credits)
In this discussion and research seminar we will explore both critical and practical approaches to the concept of sustainability. What is being sustained, why, and for whom? Students will engage in individual and collaborative research on topics associated with sustainability, including energy, climate, development, water, design, agriculture, and natural resources. Our objective will be to link our critical discussions with our empirical research, resulting in a more nuanced understanding of sustainability and the wide range of environmental claims made in its name. May be elected as Politics 387, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 387 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 207.
Environmental Studies 390 Independent Study (1-4 credits)
A series of readings or a program of individual research of approved environmental topics. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Environmental Studies 408 SW Western Epiphanies: Integrated Project (4 credits)
In this course students will be responsible for developing a final project based on Semester in the West experiences with the objective of integrating knowledge from courses in politics, ecology, and writing. Each student will produce a final project that sheds light on a substantive issue addressed on Semester in the West. Students must also present their project in a public forum and publish it as an audiovisual podcast on the Semester in the West Web site. Required of, and open only to students accepted to Semester in the West. Prerequisites: acceptance into the Semester in the West Program.
Environmental Studies 459 Interdisciplinary Fieldwork (4 credits)
Students may earn credit for interdisciplinary fieldwork conducted on programs approved by the Environmental Studies Committee. Fieldwork must integrate knowledge from at least two areas of liberal learning, including the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. This course may be used to satisfy the interdisciplinary coursework requirement for environmental studies majors. The current offerings follow. Prerequisite: admission to field program approved by the Environmental Studies Committee for interdisciplinary credit.
Environmental Studies 459 Interdisciplinary Fieldwork: A Wallowa County Almanac (4 credits) Summer Only
A month-long exploration of the diverse natural and human communities of Wallowa County, located in northeastern Oregon. Students will begin with an intensive course on community-based conservation, followed by a natural history field seminar, followed next by a writing workshop based on field journals. In the spirit of Aldo Leopold, students will combine field observations with ethical and policy analysis to create a natural history and environmental field journal. This course will integrate learning within living laboratories of community-based conservation (politics and economics), ecology (natural history field studies), and environmental writing. Prerequisite: admission to Whitman in the Wallowas Program.
Environmental Studies 479 Environmental Citizenship and Leadership (2 credits)
An intensive course in environmental problem-solving, with an emphasis on developing skills necessary for effective environmental citizenship and leadership. Students will first engage in readings and discussions to enhance their understanding of environmental decision-making processes and institutions. Then they will work individually and in teams to study active environmental disputes, with the ultimate aim of recommending formal solutions. This course is required of, and open only to, environmental studies majors in their senior year. Field trips and guest presentations may be included.
Environmental Studies 488 Senior Project (1-3 credits)
The student will investigate an environmental issue of his or her own choice and prepare a major paper. The topic shall be related to the student’s major field of study and must be approved by both major advisers.
Environmental Studies 498 Honors Project (1-3 credits)
An opportunity for qualified environmental studies senior majors to complete a senior project of honors quality. Requires the student to follow application procedures following the guidelines for honors in major study. Students enrolled in this course must also participate in and meet all requirements of the Environmental Studies 488 course.
Geology 110 The Physical Earth (4 credits)
Physical geology including earth materials, the processes responsible for uplift and erosion, landforms, plate tectonics and the earth’s interior. The laboratory will emphasize mineral and rock identification and the study of topographic and geologic maps. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week; field trips. Open only to first-year students and sophomores; others by consent of instructor. Students who have received credit for Geology 120 or 210 may not receive credit for Geology 110.
Geology 120 Geologic History of the Pacific Northwest (4 credits)
An examination of the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Idaho, Oregon, northern California, and southern British Columbia. Fundamental geologic processes that have shaped the Pacific Northwest will be examined through detailed study of different locales in the region. Lab will emphasize rocks and minerals, and topographic and geologic maps representing the areas examined in lecture. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week, optional and required field trips. Prerequisites: none. Open to first- and second-year students, others by consent of instructor. Students who have taken Geology 110 or 210 for credit may not receive credit for Geology 120.
Geologic aspects of the environment: human effects upon and interaction with such phenomena as landslides, erosion and deposition of sediments, surface waters, groundwater, volcanism, earthquakes, and permafrost. Environmental effects of land use, waste disposal, and mineral and petroleum usage as they relate to geologic processes and materials. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week; field trips. Students who have received credit for Geology 110 or 120 may not receive credit for Geology 210. Open to first- and second-year students; others by consent of instructor.
Fundamental principles of analysis pertaining to sedimentary rocks and rock sequences. Fluid flow, weathering, sediment transport, sedimentary structures, depositional systems. Geologic time and chronostratigraphy. Principles of Lithostratigraphy. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour lab/week. Field trips. Textbook, professional articles, in-class presentations, research paper. Prerequisite: Geology 110, 120, or 210.
Soils provide nutrients, water and support for growing plants, host an amazing variety of organisms, and even influence global climate. This class will focus on the dynamic systems in soil and on the interactions between soils and larger ecosystem properties. Course topics will include pedogenic processes, agricultural ecosystems, the interpretation of paleosols, and the role of soils in the global biogeochemical cycling of organic carbon and nutrients. Three lectures per week, field trip(s).
Geology 250 Late Cenozoic Geology and Climate Change (4 credits)
The geology of the last few million years of Earth history, including glaciology, Pleistocene stratigraphy, glacial and periglacial geomorphology, and changes in flora and fauna. What are the causes of ice ages and the alternating glaciations and interglaciations within them? What are the roles of nature and humans in the current global climate change? Research paper and field trip. Prerequisites: Geology 110, 120 or 210, or Environmental Studies 120; consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years.
Critical reading of the work of writers on Earth science. Examination of works demonstrating different styles, from scientific to poetry to descriptive prose, and how those writers incorporate Earth into their work. Two lectures per week, papers, in-class presentations, field trip. Prerequisites: Geology 110, 120, or 210, with consent of instructor. Offered in odd-numbered years.
Geology 343 Minerals and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (4 credits)
This intermediate-level course investigates mineral structure, composition, and identification within the context of the nuclear fuel cycle and geologic disposal of nuclear waste. Skills emphasized include discussing scientific literature, hand sample and optical microscope identification of minerals and analysis of crystal structures by X-Ray Diffraction. Lectures, discussions and laboratory exercises. Prerequisites: Geology 110, 120, or 210; Chemistry 125 or 140. Open only to juniors and seniors; others by consent of instructor.
Geology 346 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (4 credits)
Identification, classification and interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Development of the chemical and physical background necessary to study rocks as chemical systems at equilibrium. Emphasis on using observed features, chemistry, and experimental results to interpret rock origin and evolution. Laboratories will be devoted to the identification and interpretation of rock hand specimens affected by high-temperature environments and processes. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Geology 343.
Geology 350 Geomorphology (4 credits)
Description, origin, development, and classification of landforms. Relationships of soils, surficial materials, and landforms to rocks, structures, climate, processes, and time. Maps and aerial photographs of landscapes produced in tectonic, volcanic, fluvial, glacial, periglacial, coastal, karst, and eolian environments. Exercises on photo-geology. Lectures, discussions, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: Geology 110, 120, or 210; open only to geology majors except by consent of instructor.
Geology 358 Field Geology of the Northwest (1 credit)
The geology of part of the Pacific Northwest, with emphasis on geologic history including petrology, stratigraphy, tectonics, and mineralogy. Geologic mapping, paleontology, and mineralogy may also be involved. Most field trips will take place on long weekends. Each student will be required to write a report. May be repeated for credit for different areas. Required of all geology and geology combined minors. Prerequisite: Geology 110, 120, or 210 and consent of instructor.
Geology 420 Structural Geology (4 credits)
The description and analysis of intermediate- to large-scale rock structures. Topics include the analysis and graphical representation of stress and strain in rocks, deformation mechanisms and fabric development, the geometry and mechanics of folding and faulting, and structures related to intrusive bodies. Geologic map interpretation and cross-section construction are used to analyze the structural geology of selected regions. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week; field trip(s). Prerequisite: Geology 227 or 350.
Geology 470 Senior Seminar (1 credit)
Seminar on various topics in the Earth sciences. Topics to be chosen by the instructors, but are likely to include discussions of the history of geology, controversial principles of geology (such as uniformitarianism), and the ethics of the profession of geology. Students are expected to complete assigned readings and make an oral presentation. Required of all senior geology majors and combined majors.
An advanced course in geological field methods. In a typical course students make maps in stratified and crystalline terranes, with rocks in varying degrees of deformation. Maximum of nine credits. Prerequisites: Geology 227, 343, 346, 420, and consent of department. Note: Geology 480 is not regularly offered by Whitman College. Students wishing to complete major requirements with a field experience should plan to complete an approved summer field course offered by another collegiate institution.
This course will focus on the ways in which the search for and use of natural resources has profoundly affected human history. We will examine the work of environmental historians along with primary sources relating to the history of conflicts over access to resources, resource extraction and transportation, and the resulting pollution (organic, chemical, and radioactive). Using these sources, we will discuss how historians ask and answer questions about the ways that resource availability has shaped human societies and cultures worldwide, as well as how particular societies have had dramatic impacts on the distributions of water, forests and other ecosystems, minerals, and plant and animal populations. While there will be some brief lectures, this course is primarily focused on reading, writing, and discussion. Assignments include analysis of primary sources, short papers, and a final paper project with presentation to the class. This course may be applied to the social sciences area foundation requirement for Environmental Studies majors
This course will focus on the ways people in North America — primarily in the area eventually claimed by the United States — have interacted with and sought to control their environments from the colonial era through the 20th century. As we explore these centuries, we will focus on a set of interrelated questions in a range of historical contexts: How have physical environments influenced human choices? How have human choices, assumptions, and cultural practices shaped physical environments? How have people at different places and times understood “nature” and their relationship to it? When do they see “nature” and when “natural resources” and when “technology,” what kinds of control have they found acceptable or problematic, and why? How and why have different Americans understood the role of government and the individual in relation to concepts of “property” or “natural resources” or the protection of “nature”? This course will make use of primary and secondary sources, and will emphasize reading, writing, and discussion as well as lecture.
Mathematics 125 Calculus I (3 credits)
A brief review of some precalculus topics followed by limits, continuity, a discussion of derivatives, and applications of the derivative. Prerequisites: two years of high school algebra; one year of plane geometry; and knowledge of trigonometry and conic sections or consent of instructor.
A continuation of Mathematics 125, covering integration, techniques for computing antiderivatives, applications of the definite integral, and infinite series.
Mathematics 128 Elementary Statistics (3 credits)
Probability and statistics including methods for exploring data and relationships in data, methods for producing data, an introduction to probability and distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: two years of high school mathematics.
Mathematics 225 Calculus III (4credits)
Topics include partial derivatives, gradients, extreme value theory for functions of more than one variable, multiple integration, line integrals and various topics in vector analysis.
Mathematics 235 Calculus Laboratory (1 credit)
A laboratory to investigate ways in which the computer can help in understanding the calculus and in dealing with problems whose solutions involve calculus. No programming required; a variety of existing programs will be used. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics 225.
Mathematics 244 Differential Equations (3 credits)
This course includes first and second order linear differential equations and applications. Other topics may include systems of differential equations and series solutions of differential equations. Prerequisite: Mathematics 225.
Focuses on principles and standards applicable to thinking critically on any topic. Arguments and their analyses, the nature and use of evidence, fallacies both formal and informal, are included in the matters addressed in the course. Intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.
An introductory study of some of the major problems of philosophy. Among those general problems considered will be the nature of philosophy; problems of knowledge; metaphysical questions concerning materialism, idealism, and naturalism; and questions of ethics. Other problems may be considered as time permits. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.
Does the nonhuman world have any intrinsic value or is it valuable only because of its relation to human interests? That is, does anything besides humanity have “moral standing”? If so, what is its basis? Should we, for instance accord rights to all those creatures that are sentient? If we do, will we have gone far enough, morally speaking? What about those creatures that lack sentience? What about the environment in which all creatures, human and nonhuman, live? Does it have moral standing? In answering these questions, we will consider the works of Aldo Leopold, Peter Singer, Karen Warren, Arne Naess, and Julian Simon, among others. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.
Consists of the careful reading and discussion of several classical texts of moral philosophy. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; juniors by consent only; not open to seniors.
Philosophy 207 Foundations of American Romanticism (4 credits)
Is there an American difference in philosophy? We will examine the roots of American Romanticism in Coleridge and Wordsworth to prepare reading selected essays by Emerson and Thoreau and then Hawthorne’s Philosophy or consent of instructor.
Philosophy 208 Ethics and Food: What’s for Dinner? (4 credits)
The primary way most of us interact with both the animal world and the environment is through our choices in regards to what we will eat. How, though, should we make these choices? Is it wrong to eat meat? What is sustainable agriculture? How should we value the pleasures of food?
Philosophy 209 Contemporary American Romanticism (4 credits)
Is there an American difference in philosophy? We will examine contemporary developments of the founding of American thought in Emerson and Thoreau through a close reading of selected essays, autobiography, and short fiction by Stanley Cavell and Barry Lopez. Prerequisite: Philosophy 207 or consent of instructor
We will develop Thoreau’s understanding of dwelling in “Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows” through reading Thoreau, Wendell Berry, Martin Heidegger, and Barry Lopez.
An historical look at the philosophical development of method and at philosophical issues in conflicts (theoretical, evidentiary, and social) in science.
Philosophy 241 Environmental Aesthetics (4 credits)
Beginning with an examination of the claim of the beautiful in Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just, we will turn to experiment with the perception of sculpture in space working with reflections by Kant and Heidegger, and public artworks on campus. This will lead to an examination of architecture in Karsten Harries’ The Ethical Function of Architecture, and the Japanese garden in Marc Keane’s The Art of Setting Stones. Beyond the opening exercises in the aesthetic perception, you will design your own home with a garden. May be elected as Art History 241.
A close reading of selected essays by Emerson with critical responses based on work by Nietzsche, Levinas, and Stanley Cavell.
Philosophy 345 Animals and Philosophy (4 credits)
Many people’s lives are intertwined with animals. But while animals are clearly very important, few wonder about what kinds of creatures they are. Are they merely organic machines or are they conscious in some way? Do they think? Do they feel pain? Can they have beliefs? Moreover, do animals have rights that oblige us to protect them from harm? These are the questions we will address in this class. Prerequisite: at least one other course in a related field.
This course examines the physical principles that govern energy transformations. It will focus on the use of energy in the world, specifically its production, transportation, consumption and the implications this use has for the environment. Topics addressed will range from the mechanical to electricity and magnetism and from thermodynamics to atomic/nuclear physics. Energy resources both new and traditional (fuel cells vs. oil) will be addressed as well as environmental issues ranging from global warming to the disposal of radioactive waste. This course assumes a basic familiarity with algebra.
Physics 155 General Physics I (4 credits)
This course focuses on classical mechanics: kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, energy and momentum conservation, and waves. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratory course (Physics 155L). Three 50-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics 125.
Physics 156 General Physics II (4 credits)
This course is a continuation of the course Physics 155. Topics studied include electricity and magnetism, circuits, optics, plus brief introductions to more contemporary topics such as special relativity or quantum physics. Students enrolling in Physics 156 also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratory course (Physics 156L). Three 50-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Prerequisite: Physics 155 or 165. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics 126.
Physics 165 Advanced General Physics I (4 credits)
This course focuses on classical mechanics: kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, energy and momentum conservation, and waves. The course covers material similar to that in Physics 155, but at a more advanced level and with more use of calculus. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratory course (Physics 155L). Three 50-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Prerequisite: Mathematics 125 and high school physics. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics 126.
Physics 166 Advanced General Physics II (4 credits)
This course is a continuation of the course Physics 165. Topics studied include electricity and magnetism, circuits, optics, fluids, plus brief introductions to more contemporary topics such as special relativity or quantum physics. The course covers material similar to that in Physics 156, but at a more advanced level and with more use of calculus. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratory course (Physics 156L). Three 50-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Prerequisite: Physics 155 or 165; Mathematics 126. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics 225.
Physics 245 Twentieth Century Physics I (3 credits)
Topics include thermodynamics, special relativity, nuclear decay and radiation, wave nature of particles, introduction to the Schrodinger Equation: infinite well. Mathematical methods relevant to these areas of inquiry will be discussed: probability theory, differential equations. Prerequisites: Physics 156 or 166; Mathematics 126. Corequisite: Mathematics 225.
Physics 246 Waves, Electronics, and Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)
The course will explore electronic circuit theory and wave mechanics with a focus on the mathematical methods for solving differential equations. Specific content addressed includes coupled oscillators, damped-driven oscillators, fourier analysis, linear circuit theory, resonance circuits. Specific applications of the results to be explored include atomic, molecular, and particle physics; op-amps and digital circuits. Prerequisites: Physics 245 and Mathematics 225. Corequisite: Mathematics 244.
Physics 255 Twentieth Century Physics Laboratory (1 credit)
Experimental investigations of a variety of phenomena relating to the Physics 245 course. Experimental topics studied include: thermodynamics, nuclear decay and radiation, photoelectric effect and standing waves. Emphasis on experimental technique, problem-solving, data analysis, and scientific writing. No examinations. One three-hour laboratory per week. Pre- or corequisites: Physics 245, 246.
Physics 256 Electronics and Waves Laboratory (1 credit)
Experimental investigations of a variety of phenomena relating to the Physics 246 course. The focus of the laboratory will be two-fold. Students will construct and analyze electronic filter and resonance circuits. In addition, students will explore wave phenomena related to coupled oscillators, driven oscillators, and scattering theory. The emphasis will be on experimental technique, problem solving, data analysis, and scientific writing. No examinations. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Physics 255. Corequisite: Physics 246.
Physics 325 Electricity and Magnetism (3 credits)
Electrostatics, electric and magnetic properties of materials, electromagnetic theory. Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves, boundary value problems. Includes mathematical methods of wide use in physics. Lectures and problems. Prerequisites: Physics 246 and Mathematics 244.
Physics 339 Advanced Laboratory (3 credits)
Experimental investigations of sophisticated analog and digital circuitry and the fundamental physics underpinning their operation. Students will employ programming tools to automate and enhance aspects of experimental techniques and subsequent analysis of data. Students will design and implement extensions to experiments in classical and modern physics with an emphasis on laboratory technique, technical and scientific writing, and analysis. The course will be a combination of lecture and laboratory activities meeting two days a week. Prerequisite: Physics 256.
This course uses food as a window through which to examine the study of politics and its connections to our everyday lives. Topics range from the geopolitics of food aid and trade to the gendered politics of export agriculture in the Third World, from the political ecology of obesity in the United States to the causes of famine in Africa. The course is designed to get students out of the classroom and into the larger community. To this end, along with standard seminar readings, discussions, and occasional lecture, the course includes short field trips and small group projects in which students trace connections between food on campus and larger global processes.
An introduction to key concepts in the study of politics using environmental issues as illustrations. Designed for first- and second-year students, this course encourages critical thinking and writing about such political concepts as equality, justice, freedom, liberalism, power, dissent, individualism, and community. Strong emphasis is placed on developing critical writing skills and persuasive oral arguments. A field trip may be required.
Politics 147 International Politics (4 credits)
This course is designed as an introduction to the study of contemporary international politics. The course will explore contending approaches to the study of international politics, including political realism, political idealism and liberalism, feminism, political economy, and constructivism. We will discuss how these different approaches can help us understand major current issues, including war and peace, weapons proliferation, the environment, globalization, and human rights.
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of “political ecology,” a framework for thinking about environmental politics that combines insights from geography, anthropology, history, political economy, and ecology. Through the lens of case studies from around the world, the course critically examines the origins and key contributions of political ecology, with a focus on three themes: 1) Nature-society relations, or the challenges of weaving history, economy, and power into the study of the environment (and vice versa); 2) The politics of resource access and control in diverse settings from Amazonian forests to biotech laboratories; 3) The (dis)connections between environmental movements and social justice struggles.
Politics 232 The Politics of Globalization (4 credits)
This course introduces students to some of the major scholarly works and central debates about globalization. The course will critically examine some of the competing perspectives on the historical origins of globalization, the shape and intensity of its many dynamics (economic, political and cultural), its inevitability and desirability, and its impacts on different communities around the world. Some of the central themes covered will include the future of the nation-state, the salience of various transnational actors, changing patterns of capital and labor mobility, rising levels of environmental degradation and new kinds of cultural configurations.
This course introduces the student to basic problems in natural resource policymaking in the American West. We will focus on the legal, administrative, and political dimensions of various natural resource management problems, including forests, public rangelands, national parks, biodiversity, energy, water, and recreation. We also will explore the role of environmental ideas and nongovernmental organizations, and we will review a variety of conservation strategies, including land trusts, various incentive-based approaches, and collaborative conservation. A field trip may be required.
This course explores the political landscape of the American West, focusing on natural resource policy and management on public lands. Topics include forest, mineral, range, grassland, water, and energy policy with an emphasis on the local impacts of climate change. Required of, and open only to, students accepted to Semester in the West.
Politics 331 The Politics of International Hierarchy (4 credits)
This course examines the ways in which the international social-political system is hierarchical. The course looks at how such relations of hierarchy have been historically produced and continue to be sustained through a variety of mechanisms. The first part of the course focuses on the period of classical colonialism, examining the racial and gendered constructions of imperial power. The second part of the course turns to more contemporary North-South relations, studying the discourses and practices of development and human rights and critically examining the resuscitation of the project of empire in recent U.S. foreign policy practices.
Politics 338 North-South Relations (4 credits)
With a focus on political economy, this course examines the construction and maintenance of
inequality in the international system, and a consideration of the consequences of inequality for the possibility of state action in the “global south.” The first part of the course examines the construction of Northern domination, the expansion of the European state system and the global political economy (theories of imperialism, colonization, world systems, and international society). The second part will examine the maintenance of Northern power over the South, the effects of incorporating the South on political and economic structures, and the mechanisms reproducing global hierarchies (dependency, development, military intervention, global culture). The final part of the course will examine strategies employed by the South to oppose or to accommodate a globally disadvantageous position in the international system.
In this seminar we explore changing understandings of nature in American culture, the role of social power in constructing these understandings, and the implications these understandings have for the environmental movement. Topics discussed will include wilderness and wilderness politics, management of national parks, ecosystem management, biodiversity, place, and the political uses of nature in contemporary environmental literature. The seminar will occasionally meet at the Johnston Wilderness Campus (transportation will be provided).
Politics 363 Genealogies of Political Economy (4 credits)
What is capitalism? Where did it come from? How does it work, and what are the politics of its epochal expansion? This course explores the origins, dynamics, and politics of capitalism as they have been theorized over the past 200 years. It begins with classical political economy, closely reading the works of Ricardo, Smith, and Marx. It then traces the lineages of classical political economy through the works of theorists such as Weber, Lenin, Schumpeter, Gramsci, Keynes, and Polanyi. The course ends with an examination of theorists who critique Eurocentric political economy by approaching the dynamics and experiences of capitalism from Europe’s former colonies. Topics addressed in the course include debates about imperialism, the state, class struggle, development, and globalization.
Politics 378 Transnationalism (4 credits)
This seminar examines the increasingly important political arena outside the exclusive control of the international system of states. Topics include transnational ideas and norms (neoliberalism, human rights), economic globalization, human migration, communications (global media and the Internet) and security issues (criminal networks and arms proliferation). The focus will be on how transnational processes work and how they affect both the structure of the international system and internal politics.
Politics 490 Senior Seminar (4 credits)
This team-taught seminar will meet one evening a week throughout the semester. Its purpose is to engage senior majors in sustained discussion of contemporary political issues. Requirements include attendance at all seminar meetings; extensive participation in discussion; and the completion of several papers, one being a proposal for a senior thesis or honor thesis. Required of, and open only to, senior politics majors. (Fall degree candidates should plan to take this seminar at the latest possible
Politics 497 Senior Thesis (3-4 credits)
During their final semester at Whitman, majors will satisfactorily complete the senior thesis launched the previous semester. Over the course of the semester, students submit sections of their thesis for discussion and review with their readers on a regular basis and defend the final thesis orally before two faculty members. Detailed information on this process is provided to students well in advance. No thesis will be deemed acceptable unless it receives a grade of C- or better. Politics majors register for four credits of Politics 497. Politics/environmental studies majors should register for three credits of Politics 497 and one credit of Environmental Studies 488, for a total of four credits. Prerequisites: Required of, and open only to, senior majors not taking Politics 498.
Politics 498 Honors Thesis (3-4 credits)
During their final semester at Whitman, senior honors candidates will satisfactorily complete the senior honors thesis launched the prior semester. Over the course of the semester, students submit sections of their thesis for discussion and review with their readers on a regular basis, and defend the final thesis orally before two faculty members. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in politics. Politics majors register for four credits of Politics 498. Politics/Environmental Studies majors should register for three credits of Politics 498 and one credit of Environmental Studies 488, for a total of four credits. Prerequisites: admission to honors candidacy and consent of the department chair.
Sociology 117 Principles of Sociology (4 credits)
A comprehensive introduction to the discipline of sociology. The course covers basic theoretical and methodological perspectives. Specific topics include culture, social interaction, deviance, socialization, organizations, the global economy, political sociology, race relations, gender relations, sexuality, social movements and the mass media. Emphasis is placed on integrating conceptual understanding with observation and analysis of familiar social settings. Three periods per week. This course is open to all students, but is primarily intended for students who have decided upon or who are seriously considering sociology as a major field of study. Required of all majors; should be taken as early in the student’s program as possible.
Sociology 207 Social Research Methods(4 credits)
A course designed to introduce the student to the procedures by which sociologists gather, analyze, and interpret factual information about the social world. Topics to be covered in this course include the part which social research plays in the larger discipline of sociology, the relationships between sociological theory and social research, research design, measurement and the operationalization of concepts, probabilistic sampling, observational data-gathering procedures, survey research, the use of secondary source materials, and experimentation. Required of sociology majors; open to students in other social science disciplines with consent of instructor.
What social structural conditions produce ecological decline? What agricultural, extractive, and industrial technologies have driven global ecological problems? How are societies around the world impacted? This course will review sociological theory on the causes and consequences of ecological degradation and resource scarcity. Topics will include: specific local and global ecological problems, theories an political economy of the environment, the treadmill of production, environment and risk, the sociology of environmental science, globalization and environmental movements. The course will consist of lecture, discussion, papers and an out-of-class project. We also will view and discuss films. This course is open to all students but previous course work in sociology would be very helpful.
Sociology 329 Environmental Health (4 credits)
Environmental health issues are inherently interdisciplinary. This seminar-style course will examine how the natural, built, and social environments impact human and environmental health outcomes. The course will draw on research articles, theoretical discussions, and empirical examples from fields including toxicology, exposure science, environmental chemistry, epidemiology, sociology, history, policy studies, and fiction. Particular attention will be paid to the use of science to develop regulation, the role of social movements in identifying environmental health problems, and inequalities associated with environmental exposures. This course will be reading, discussion, and writing intensive. May be elected as Environmental Studies 329, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 329 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 and 207.
Why do social movements happen? Why do some social movements succeed in producing change while others fail? What are differences between environmental movements in the United States and other nations? How do different experiences across gender, race and class inform the emergence, goals and dynamics of environmental social movements? This course will use micro and macro sociological theory to study social change, reform and collective behavior using environmental movements and environmental backlash movements as case studies. We will bring both national and global focus to our study of collective action and social change. The course will be reading intensive. We will view and discuss films. Evaluation will be based on reading discussion, research papers and individual projects. Prerequisites: This course is open to declared sociology and environmental studies majors and others by consent of instructor.
Sociology 353 Environmental Justice (4 credits)
How are environmental problems experienced differently according to race, gender, class and nationality? What do we learn about the meaning of gender, race, class and nationality by studying the patterns of environmental exposure of different groups? Environmental justice is one of the most important and active sites of environmental scholarship and activism in our country today. This course integrates perspectives and questions from sciences, humanities and social sciences through the examination of a series of case studies of environmental injustice in the United States and worldwide. Biology and chemistry figure centrally in links between environmental contaminants and human health. Systematic inequalities in exposure and access to resources and decision making raise moral and ethical questions. Legal and policy lessons emerge as we examine the mechanisms social actors employ in contesting their circumstances. This course will be reading, discussion and research intensive. May be elected as Environmental Studies 353. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Sociology 367 History of Sociological Theory (4 credits)
A critical examination, beginning with the Enlightenment and extending to the late 20th century, of important Western ideas concerning the nature of society and social interaction. Questions addressed include: How is social order possible? How and why do societies change? What is the role of science in sociology? Students will read a variety of primary and secondary sources, as well as works of literature illustrating theoretical concepts. Evaluation is based on the completion of three papers or projects and one group presentation. Two periods per week. Designed for junior and senior students in the social sciences or humanities; required of sociology majors.
Sociology 490 Current Issues in Sociology (2 credits)
Limited to, and required of senior sociology majors. Students will meet with the entire staff each week for discussions of and presentations on current sociological ideas and controversies. Must be taken the last fall semester in which the student is in residence. One period per week. Prerequisite: Sociology 117. Pre- or corequisites: Sociology 207 and Sociology 367.
Sociology 492 Thesis (2-4 credits)
A course in which the student conceptualizes, designs, and carries out a senior thesis. The major emphasis in this course will be upon the student’s own individual thesis project, which may be completed under the supervision of any full-time member of the department. In addition, however, students also will be expected to participate in evaluations and critiques of the theses being written by the other senior majors in the course. Required of all senior sociology majors, with the exception of those completing an honors thesis. Must be taken the last spring semester in which the student is in residence. Sociology majors must sign up for four credits. Sociology-environmental studies majors should sign up for two credits in Sociology 492 and two credits in Environmental Studies 488, for a total of four credits. Prerequisites: Sociology 117, 207 and 367.
Sociology 498 Honors Thesis (2-4 credits)
Designed to allow those students who qualify the opportunity to complete a senior thesis of honors-level quality. Requires application according to guidelines for honors in major study. Students enrolled in this course must also participate in and meet all requirements of the Sociology 492 seminar. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in sociology. Must be taken the last spring semester in which the student is in residence. Sociology majors must sign up for four credits. Sociology-environmental studies majors who are eligible for honors should sign up for two credits in Sociology 498 and two credits in Environmental Studies 498, for a total of four credits. Prerequisites: Sociology 117, 207, 367, and admission to honors candidacy.
This course will enter the haiku / haikai world by reading poems and essays by two haiku poets, Basho (1644-1694) and Issa (1763-1827), and stories by Japan’s first Nobel Prize winning novelist, Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972). The course will explore the nexus between Haiku and Mahayana Buddhist thought and trace how writers and poets and monks shared a literary and religio-aesthetic vocabulary to express an insight into the human condition, the nature of reality, time and eternity, world and nature. Environmental studies students may use this course to satisfy humanities distribution requirements in the major. Environmental humanities students may use this course as one of the three elective courses required for their major.