Sample of Classes
Situating Development: Theory and practice of Development Geography
Why do extremes of wealth and poverty exist within the same country or even the same city? What can be done to address poverty and inequality and who should do it? This course draws upon literature from the field of Development Geography to introduce students to key theories that attempt to answer these questions. Specifically, we will critically examine: (1) mainstream economic theory, ranging from classical to neoliberal theories, as well as modernization theory; (2) Marxist-feminist theories; (3) post-structural theories of development; and (4) emerging trends in development policy and practice, with a particular focus on climate change. The course will pay particular attention to how issues of race, colonialism, and gender have affected and been affected by development theories. In addition, students will consider whether and how existing development theories and lessons learned from their historical application can be employed to address pressing real-world development challenges today. The course is intended to meet the interests of students ranging from those who may only engage with development through their own consumption habits to those who pursue careers in the field.
From Eden to Anthropocene: Myths and reality in socio-environmental relations of the Americas
This course considers how relationships between environment and society have emerged and evolved in the Western Hemisphere from the pre-colonial era to the present—and in diverse communities ranging spatially from Chile to the United States. Readings come primarily from scholarly literature within Geography, but also include research from other disciplines and primary resources. The class is organized across three main themes. Readings in the first section discuss socio-environmental relationships prior to, during, and shortly after the arrival of the first Europeans to the Americas, through first-hand accounts, archeological research, and historical narratives. The second section addresses key themes in the political economy of the relationship between society and the environment, including the role of the State, Development programs and ideologies, resistance in defense of local autonomy and governance of natural resources, and the emerging role of China. Finally, the third section engages specifically with five key issues in natural resource governance in the region: mining, oil, and gas; forests; water; soil and biodiversity; and climate change.