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Environmental Humanities

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Environmental Humanities

Though the sciences provide basic insight into environmental issues, a growing number of scholars, policymakers, and environmental professionals have recognized that many of the most basic environmental questions are humanistic. Why do we have environmental problems? What shapes our ideas about the human place in nature? How has our relationship to the non-human world changed over time? The work in environmental history, environmental literature, and environmental ethics now is especially rich. This minor will give students the chance to think more rigorously and imaginatively about environmental issues by integrating the insights of many disciplines.

The field of Environmental Humanities is (by its very definition) a synthesis of the humanities, and complements the sciences and public policy. It is designed to be attractive to two distinct groups of students: those in the sciences hoping to deepen their understanding of environmental issues and to learn more effective means of communicating their own work; and those in the humanities wishing to study complex environmental issues without having to major in the sciences. Both groups of students would be very well served by the minor as they pursue graduate or professional work in this important and growing field.

The 18-credit Environmental Humanities minor requires that students take three core courses and three electives as detailed below. Interested students should contact Professor McKay Jenkins for more information.

Students who would like to explore other UD degree programs in Environmental Studies can visit the College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment.

Required Core Courses

The core courses are in three fundamental fields in the humanities: English, History, and Philosophy. Each of these core courses will be taught at least once a year.

ENGL230: Introduction to Environmental Literature

HIST223: Nature and History

PHIL/UAPP448: Environmental Ethics

Required Elective Courses

The first elective is a fourth humanities course. The list of electives includes more specialized courses in English, History, and Philosophy as well as courses in other humanities disciplines. Because one of the goals of the minor is to encourage students to consider what the humanities add to scientific understanding of environmental issues, the second elective is a science course. The third elective is a course in either the social sciences or the humanities. The goal is to encourage students to think about the different ways of understanding environmental issues. Though some of the electives have prerequisites, the choice in each case is broad enough that students will have no difficulty fulfilling the elective requirements.

1. Humanities (one course required):

  • ANTH/BHAN304 – Culture, Health, & Environment
  • ARTH429 – Seminar in Modern Architecture - The City
  • BISC127 – Environments and Cultures in Conflict
  • ENGL231 – Studies in Environmental Literature
  • ENGL347 – Studies in American Literature (with advisor-approved environmental topic) 
  • ENGL365 – Studies in Literary Genres, Types and Movements (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • ENGL/WOMS381 – Women in Literature (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • ENGL409 – Topics in Journalism ("Environmental Journalism" or other advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • ENGL462 – Experiental Learning (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • ENGL480 – Literary Studies Symposium (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • HIST268 – Seminar (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • HIST337 – Topics in American History (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • HIST477 – Seminar in Latin American History (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • HIST480 – Seminar in World History (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • PHIL340 – Cross-Cultural Environmental Ethics
  • UNIV490 – Honors Tutorial: Humanities: Our Toxic World

2. Sciences (one course required):

  • ANFS101 – Animals, Science, and Society
  • ANFS102 – Food For Thought
  • BISC107 – Elementary Evolutionary Ecology
  • BISC302 – General Ecology
  • BISC/ENWC312 – Field Ecology
  • CHEM100 – Chemistry and Human Environment
  • ENWC201 – Wildlife Conservation and Ecology
  • ENWC214 – Apiology and Apiculture 
  • MSEG443 – Ethics in Nanoscience
  • PLSC100 – Plants and Human Culture
  • PLSC140 – People and Plants: Feast or Famine
  • PLSC170 – Soils and Environmental Quality
  • PLSC275 – Healing Plants: Medicine, Myth, Magic
  • PLSC390 – Honors Colloquium: Students of Our Environment
  • PLSC461 – Soils and Wetland Delineation

3. Social Sciences or Humanities* (one course required): 

  • APEC406 – Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy
  • COMM200 – Human Communication Systems (with advisor-approved environmental topic)
  • ENEP/UAPP425 – Energy Policy and Administration
  • GEOG101 – Physical Geography: Climactic Processes
  • GEOG106 – Physical Geography: Land Surface Processes
  • GEOG203 – Introduction to Cultural Geography
  • GEOG235 – Conservation of Natural Resources
  • GEOG310 – Social Geography
  • GEOG325 – Urban Geography
  • GEOG422 – Resources, Development, and the Environment
  • GEOG434/UAPP406 – Plan Sustainable Communities and Regions
  • MAST462/POSC462/UAPP465 – Climate Change: Policy, Equity, and Mitigation
  • POSC350 – Politics and the Environment
  • SOCI/BAMS204 – Urban Communities
  • SOCI325 – Disasters and Society
  • SOCI470 – Environmental Sociology

*Students may also pick a second humanities course from the Humanities list above to satisfy this requirement.

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Environmental Humanities
  • Department of English
  • 203 Memorial Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2361
  • english@udel.edu