SOC 303
Cultures of Climate Change Spring 2023
Division II
Cross-listed ENVI 303 / SOC 303

Class Details

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 what climate change means? How does something as complex as climate change become a “problem” in the first place? And what can its many proposed “solutions” tell us about the role of culture in environmental policy, politics, and decision-making. This course will explore a broad array of factors, from religion to race, class to colonialism. Emphasizing ethnographic and historical accounts of climate change as lived experience, it will apply a range of theories from the social sciences and humanities to case studies from around the world.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3769
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: a 15- to 18-page research paper and several shorter writing assignments
Prerequisites: ENVI 101 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Environmental Studies majors and concentrators first; Anthropology and Sociology majors second
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI 303 Division II SOC 303 Division II
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives

Class Grid

Updated 2:21 pm

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