SOC 303 Fall 2012 Cultures of Climate Change (W)

Cross Listed as ENVI303
This course asks why people think and talk about climate change in such very different ways. Climate change is a physical phenomenon that can be observed, quantified, and measured. But it is also an idea, and as such it is subject to the vagaries of cultural interpretation. Despite scientific agreement about its existence and its causes, many people do not see climate change as a serious problem, or as a problem at all. Many others see it as the most serious problem our species has ever faced. What are the sources of this disparity? Why can't we agree about climate change? How does something as complex and confusing as climate change become a "problem" in the first place? This course will explore a broad array of factors, from religion to race, class to colonialism. It will focus especially closely on the communication of scientific knowledge, risk perception, and environmental ethics, and it will apply a range of theories from the social sciences and humanities to a set of concrete case studies In the climate change debate, culture matters. By investigating how culture shapes the politics and policy of climate change, students will develop the interpretive skills required to understand not just this most contentious of issues, but environmental issues in general.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: a 15- to 18-page research paper and several shorter writing assignments
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Prerequisites: ENVI 101
Enrollment Preference: ENVI majors and concentrators first; ANSO majors second
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Divisional Attributes: Division II, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1430
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
SOC303-01(F) SEM Cultures of Climate Change (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Nicolas C. Howe
MR 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Clark Hall 205 1430
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