Graduate Courses Spring 2023
Classes are listed alphabetically according to their first department listing. For the most up-to-date listings, check the Yale Course Search website. To add or remove a course from this list, email email@example.com.
AMST 613 (23255) / HSHM 777 / ANTH 770 / HIST 918
Nature and the Modern Museum
This graduate seminar explores how nature has been constructed, reorganized, and mobilized in the modern museum, while introducing graduate students to museum studies and museum practice. With history of science/science studies at its disciplinary core, the course also incorporates methodologies and readings from cultural history, history of art, anthropology, museum studies, critical heritage studies, and art practice. We examine Yale’s museums and collections as sites for forging and defining relations between nature and culture, between the natural and the unnatural, and between human and environment. The course builds toward historically informed discussions of questions about decolonization, repatriation, and repair circulating in current public discourse around natural history museums. Our most sustained engagement will be with the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the history of natural history in the United States since 1800. The course has a varied format, incorporating seminar discussions of readings, site visits to museums on and off campus, and workshops with Peabody collections and staff. This course helps to build an ongoing dialogue between graduate students and museum staff as the Peabody rethinks its displays for its current renovation, and is intended to lead to a student-curated exhibition at the Peabody in 2024.
AMST 638 (22037) / ER&M 387
Migrants and Borders in the Americas
Alicia Schmidt Camacho
This seminar takes a migrant-centered approach to our examination of human mobility in the current era. The course plan includes critical and thematic readings that examine Central America, Mexico, and the United States as integrated spaces of migration, governance, cultural, and social exchange, focusing on the period 1994 to the present. Through examination of different kinds of primary sources - documentary film, legislative acts, human rights reports, and testimonial narrative, the course discusses methods and approaches for understanding the impacts of economic globalization, militarized security, and social inequality on transnational communities. The course gives special emphasis to social movements that have arisen in response to the violence of the drug wars, the criminalization of migration, the formation of transnational indigenous communities, and gender violence in the region.
AMST 667 (20887)
Critical Human Geography
This readings courses immerses students in the critical/radical tradition of human geography, which investigates how power relations and structural inequalities are spatially produced, contested, and transformed. Topics include the relationship between geography’s development as a discipline and histories of imperialism; indigenous geographies and spatial persistence; spatial theories of capitalism and uneven development; feminist and queer geographies; geographies of blackness, white supremacy, and settler colonialism; gentrification and urban change; critical geographic information science and counter-mapping; and new approaches to landscape and region.
AMST 692 (20888)
Religion and the Performance of Space
Sally Promey and Margaret Olin
This interdisciplinary seminar explores categories, interpretations, and strategic articulations of space in a range of religious traditions. In conversation with the work of major theorists of space, this seminar examines spatial practices of religion in the United States during the modern era, including the conception, construction, and enactment of religious spaces. It is structured around theoretical issues, including historical deployments of secularity as a framing mechanism, ideas about space and place, geography and gender, and relations between property and spirituality. Examples of case studies treated in class include the enactment of rituals within museums, the marking of religious boundaries such as the Jewish “eruv,” and the assignment of “spiritual” ownership in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
ANTH 514 (22076) / HIST 515 / ARCG 515 / CLSS 878 / CPLT 671 / JDST 657 / NELC 570 / RLST 672
Corrupting Seas: Premodern Maritime Ecologies (Archaia Seminar)
Noel Lenski and Hussein Fancy
Uses the theoretical framework of “corrupting seas” developed by Horden and Purcell as a hermeneutic to investigate the cultural, economic, political, and religious environments of the archaic, ancient and medieval Mediterranean, and similar maritime ecologies. Landscape and natural ecologies play an important but not exclusive role in mapping how diversity and connectivity combined to constitute complex and dynamic environments in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Caribbean, and South China Sea. The course is connected with Archaia’s Ancient Societies Workshop, which runs its own series of events through the academic year. Students must attend the ASW events in the spring (fall events are optional).
ANTH 710 (21142) / ARCG 710
Settlement Patterns and Landscape Archaeology
Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos
An introduction to the archaeological study of ancient settlements and landscapes. Topics include an overview of method and theory in settlement and landscape archaeology; field methods of reconnaissance, survey, and remote sensing; studies of households and communities; studies of ancient agricultural landscapes; regional patterns; roads and networks of communication; urbanism and ancient cities; and symbolic interpretations of ancient landscapes.
ANTH 964 (22068) / HIST 964 / HSAR 842 / HSHM 692
Topics in the Environmental Humanities
This is the required workshop for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities. The workshop meets six times per term to explore concepts, methods, and pedagogy in the environmental humanities, and to share student and faculty research. Each student pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities must complete both a fall term and a spring term of the workshop, but the two terms of student participation need not be consecutive. The fall term each year emphasizes key concepts and major intellectual currents. The spring term each year emphasizes pedagogy, methods, and public practice. Specific topics vary each year. Students who have previously enrolled in the course may audit the course in a subsequent year. Open only to students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities.
School of Architecture courses will be updated as the listings become available.
ARCH 559 (22040)
Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture II
Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, spring term, Ecosystems track. Seminar covers the history and theory of the environment.
ARCH 569 (22041)
Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture IV
Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, spring term, Ecosystems track. Seminar covers visualization and environmental visual analytics.
Early Modern Ecologies: Representing Peasants, Animals, Labor, Land
To what extent does writing about the land and depicting landscapes in early modern Europe reflect a new interest in engaging the boundaries between the human and nonhuman? What does it show about the commitment of artists and intellectuals to representing cultures and environments not necessarily their own? And how did writers and artists seek to legitimize their intellectual labors by invoking images of agricultural work? Since antiquity, artists have often chosen to make the countryside and its human and nonhuman denizens symbols of other things: leisure, song, exile, patriotism, erotic sensibilities, anti-urbanism. Early Christianity in turn embraced the desert—and the countryside—as a space for spirituality. We explore these origins and turn to the early modern period, when such interests exploded into poems, novels, plays, and paintings—a period that coincided with new world discoveries and new possibilities for “golden ages” abroad. We read works by Virgil, St. Jerome, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Tasso, Seamus Heaney, and others, and take at least one trip to a local gallery (in New Haven or New York). Finally, we explore recent work in ecocriticism and environmental studies in order to grapple with ancient and early modern understandings of the natural world.
Writing as a Public Scholar
Stephanie Hanes Wilson
Environmental scholars and practitioners increasingly recognize the need, and often have the desire, to communicate their passions and expertise to a wide, lay audience. The seminar starts from the premise that to do this effectively a mastery of written storytelling is essential, particularly in today’s saturated and fractured media landscape. Students will read popular works by classic and contemporary scholars, such as Rachel Carson and Richard Prum; practitioners in the sciences, such as Atul Gawande and Peter Wohlleben; and journalists such as Elizabeth Kolbert and John McPhee; as well as growing number of authors, such as Bill McKibben, whose work crosses these categories. Some pieces students will analyze multiple times, developing a increasingly nuanced understanding of storytelling technique.
Philosophical Environmental Ethics
This is a philosophical introduction to environmental ethics. The course introduces students to the basic contours of the field and to a small number of special philosophical problems within the field. No philosophical background is required or expected. Readings are posted on Canvas and consist almost entirely of contemporary essays by philosophers and environmentalists. The total reading load averages about three philosophy papers weekly—roughly sixty pages. Course avoids environmental ethics topics that are treated in other Yale courses: e.g., religion and ecology, and all but a very little bit of indigenous views of ecology.
Environmental Justice/Climate Justice
In this seminar, we will focus on the evolution and development of the environmental justice movement. We will pay particular attention to its embrace of climate justice, and we will ask what conception of justice is at play in both the environmental justice and climate justice movement. We will begin with a legal and social-historical survey but will quickly bring the inquiry up to the current moment. We will explore the legal and policy developments that have followed the environmental justice critique. I will expect students to choose a particular movement (or one expression of it) and write a paper bringing to bear all of the questions we raise in the seminar. (For example, how did opposition from environmental justice advocates lead to a reformed climate change initiative in California? Or What is the genesis of the Sunrise movement and what legal or policy changes would be required to make it a reality.) The paper need not focus on a domestic response, because the environmental/climate justice critique is now global.
Seminar in the Biosphere: History, Development, and Consequences
Graeme P. Berlyn
This seminar traces the history and development of the biosphere concept and its consequences: biological, social, and cultural. The course will start with a discussion of four major contributors: Eduard Suess, a paleontologist/geologist who coined the term; Vladimir Vernadsky, who amplified the concept; Arthur Tansley, who coined the term ecosystem; and G. Evelyn Hutchinson, who amplified and quantified the ecosystem concept. Energy flow in the biosphere will also be discussed. Students will be required to give seminars and present a term paper on topics of their choice.
Oswald J. Schmitz
Conservation Biology is a crisis discipline, seeking to preserve biodiversity across scales. As such, the discipline is constantly faced with challenging scientific and ethical dilemmas, which requires that practitioners have a robust understanding of both ecology and environmental philosophy. This course will provide students with a foundation in applied ethics and the tools necessary to solve contemporary problems in conservation while managing the ethical realities. The first half of the semester will be focused on gaining the ethical foundation necessary to engage in conservation ethics. Weekly philosophical readings will be assigned and classes will be a mix of lecture and seminar style discussion. The second half of the course will focus on integrating these ethical frameworks with scientific practice through a series of case studies. This part of the class will be conducted primary seminar style and require short, weekly management plans informed by ethical reasoning. No philosophical background is required and the course material has been tailored not to overlap significantly with other courses offered at Yale (i.e. Environmental Ethics, Environmental History and Values, or Environmental Justice).
Biopolitics of Human-Nonhuman Relations
Seminar on the “posthumanist” turn toward multispecies ethnography. Section I, introduction. Section II, perspectivism: the posthuman turn and multispecies ethnography; ecology and consciousness; and hunters and prey. Section III, entanglements: indigenous knowledge; Natural History; and conflicted views of conservation. Section IV, metaphors: the animal speaking for the human; and human and geological perturbation. Section V, student readings and presentations. Three hours lecture/seminar. Enrollment capped
Land Use Law and Environmental Planning
This course explores the regulation by local governments of land uses in urban, rural, and suburban areas and the effect of development on the natural environment. The course helps students understand how the environment can be protected through effective regulation at the local level. It provides an introduction to federal, state, regional, and local laws and programs that promote watershed protection and to the laws that delegate to local governments primary responsibility for decision-making in the land use field. Theories of federalism, regionalism, states’ rights, and localism are studied, as are the cases that provide a foundation in regulatory takings and the legitimate scope of land use regulation. The history of the delegation of planning and land use authority to local governments is traced, leading to an examination of local land use practices that relate to human settlement patterns, water resources, low impact development, watershed protection, alternatives to Euclidean zoning, brownfields redevelopment, resiliency and adaptation in response to sea-level rise and climate change. Students engage in empirical research to identify, catalogue, and evaluate innovative local laws that successfully protect environmental functions and natural resources, and the manner in which towns incorporate climate change into their planning and regulations. Nearby watersheds are used as a context for the students’ understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of local planning and regulation. Attention is paid, in detail, to how the development of the land adversely affects natural resources and how these impacts can be mitigated through local planning and subsequent adoption of environmental and other regulations designed to promote sustainable development in a climate-changing world.
Power in Conservation
This course examines the anthropology of power, particularly power in conservation interventions in the global South. It is intended to give students a tool-box of ideas about power in order to improve the effectiveness of conservation. Conservation thought and practice is power laden—conservation thought is powerfully shaped by the history of ideas of nature and its relation to people, and conservation interventions govern and affect peoples and ecologies. This course argues that being able to think deeply, particularly about power, improves conservation policy-making and practice.
Political ecology is by far the most well-known and well-published approach to thinking about power in conservation; this course emphasizes the relatively neglected but robust anthropology of conservation literature outside political ecology, especially literature rooted in Foucault. It is intended to make four of Foucault’s concepts of power accessible, concepts that are the most used in the anthropology of conservation: the power of discourses, discipline and governmentality, subject formation, and neoliberal governmentality. The important ethnographic literature that these concepts have stimulated is also examined. Together, theory and ethnography can underpin our emerging understanding of a new, Anthropocene-shaped world.
This course will be of interest to students and scholars of conservation, environmental anthropology and political ecology, as well as conservation practitioners and policymakers. It is a required course for students in the joint YSE/Anthropology doctoral degree. It is highly recommended for MESc students who need an in-depth course on social science theory. MEM students interested in conservation practice and policy-making are also encouraged to consider this course, which makes an effort to bridge the gap between the best academic literature and practice. It is also open to advanced undergraduate students. No prerequisites. Three hour discussion-centered seminar.
Environmental Law and Policy
Introduction to the legal requirements and policy underpinnings of the basic U.S. laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and various statutes governing waste, food safety, and toxic substances. This course will examine and evaluate current approaches to pollution control and resource management as well as the “next generation” of regulatory strategies, including economic incentives, voluntary emissions reductions, and information disclosure requirements. Mechanisms for addressing environmental issues at the local, regional, and global levels will also be considered. Scheduled examination
FILM 919 (20110) / ENGL 919
This interdisciplinary seminar explores not only how media represent the environment but also how they sometimes constitute it. The readings and discussions range widely across theoretical approaches, historical periods, natural environments, and literary and artistic genres. The ultimate question is what kinds of intellectual resources and academic traditions we can mobilize in the name of a habitable planet. This class offers some orientation to media theory generally but more specifically to elemental media theory (also known, without significant difference, as eco-media or environmental media). The dispersive force of eclectic examples will be countered by a conceptual and narrative warp and weft.
FREN 967 (22283)
Aesthetic Cartographies of the Sahara
This literature seminar counters an enduring colonial divide between North and Subsaharan Africa by taking the African Sahara itself to be a vibrant center of aesthetic and intellectual creation. Drawing key insights from spatial theory, critical cartography, forensic architecture, and material ecocriticism, we investigate the ways that contemporary writers, filmmakers, and artists from across the region are qualitatively transforming the reductive ways in which our planet’s largest desert has long been represented. Taking off from a premise that maps are political fictions that reflect and facilitate the kind of power that renders such things as nuclear bombs, toxic uranium mines, and secret detention camps in the Sahara at once justifiable and forgettable, we consider what else might become possible if aesthetic works are taken seriously as counter-cartographies that stake epistemic and ethical claims to supposedly “desert” land.
GLBL 7045 (22412) / LAW 21651
The Law of the Sea
W. Michael Reisman and Gershon Hasin
This seminar examines a variety of contemporary issues concerning the law of the sea: piracy, environmental protection, fisheries, maritime security, maritime delimitation, the exclusive economic zone, the continental and outer continental shelves, the deep seabed regime, and the South China Sea. Scheduled examination or paper option. Also LAW 21651. This course follows the LAW school calendar. Enrollment is limited.
HSAR 571 (23000)
Architectural Drawing in the Expanded Field
This seminar is built on the premise that drawing permeates all scales, materials, and spheres of the lived environment. It seeks to explode a modern, and fundamentally Eurocentric, notion of draftsmanship as a practice both conceptually and chronologically prior to architectural construction: a practice by which designs first take form in ink, graphite, and pixels on the bounded surfaces or interfaces of paper sheets and computer screens and are subsequently executed on the building site. By contrast, the seminar asks: what if buildings and landscapes are themselves the substrates of line-making? How do histories of design change if architectural drawing is inseparable from the stuff of architecture itself? Topics may include incisions such as sgraffito made on walls and floors, both as ornament and preparatory designs; geoglyphs, plowed fields, pathways, and other large-scale linear inscriptions on the landscape; shadows as ephemeral drawings, whether cast by sundials or by human figures (as in Pliny’s myth of the origins of painting); legendary church floor plans that descend from heaven onto the ground; the delineation of spaces with rope and string; weaving, sewing, and embroidery. Although it devotes special consideration to ancient, medieval, and early modern material, this seminar is methodologically capacious, encouraging research projects with diverse chronological and geographical foci.
HSHM 713 (20186) / HIST 913
Geography and History
A research seminar focused on methodological questions of geography and geographic analysis in historical scholarship. We consider approaches ranging from the Annales School of the early twentieth century to contemporary research in environmental history, history of science, urban history, and more. We also explore interdisciplinary work in social theory, historical geography, and anthropology and grapple with the promise (and drawbacks) of GIS. Students may write their research papers on any time period or geographic region, and no previous experience with geography or GIS is necessary. Open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
REL 582 (22123)
Archaeology of the Roman Empire for the Study of New Testament and Early Christianity
The first portion of the course introduces students to working with archaeological data from the Greco-Roman world (inscriptions, architecture, sculpture, coins). The second portion consists of seminars in Greece and Turkey during May, including some meetings with archaeologists and other scholars abroad. Area I. Prerequisites: some level of reading ability in Greek, Latin, or Arabic; some level of reading ability in German, French, or modern Greek; and previous course work in early Christianity, New Testament, or Classics/Roman history.
REL 677 (22130)
Natural Disasters in the Christian Tradition: Ritual and Theological Responses
Natural disasters are uniquely productive sites of ritual action and theological reflection, cutting to the core of a group’s identity and threatening the stability of theological systems. In the Christian tradition, natural disasters have been critical moments in which the relationship among humans, God, and the world are negotiated, both in ritual action and theological reflection. This seminar explores natural disasters in the Christian tradition by examining ritual and theological responses to environmental catastrophe from early Christianity to the present. The questions raised are: How does environmental instability affect the practice and theory of Christianity? What continuities and discontinuities can be seen in Christian responses to natural disasters across time and space? What resources can the history of disaster responses provide for contemporary religious practice? Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions and write a 10–12-page research paper related to the themes of the course. Students present their work to the class, conference style, in the final two weeks of class. Area II and Area V.
REL 961 (22147)
Eco-Theology, Environmental Ethics, and Fiction
The rapid growth of the environmental humanities in recent years stems from the recognition that the environmental crisis is not simply a problem of policy or technology. It is also – and perhaps more deeply – a problem of our fundamental orientation toward the non-human world. The challenge requires us not only to rethink basic values but also to learn to see ourselves and the world differently. Stories have always been central to how human beings understand themselves and their world. This course begins with the hypothesis that one way to reimagine ourselves and our world is through fiction. It covers most of the issues commonly addressed in courses on environmental ethics and eco-theology. We discuss ethical topics such as anthropocentrism and its alternatives, animal rights, climate change, environmental justice, and theological topics regarding the place of the non-human world in creation, fall, incarnation, and salvation. We do so, however, in an unusual way. Most of our shared texts are fictional. The fiction is accompanied by some short non-fiction texts and mini-lectures in order to introduce analytic categories. The emphasis remains, however, on wrestling with the relevant theological and ethical issues in and through engagement with narratives. Area II and Area V.
REL 962 (23300)
This course explores practices of stewardship and ecospiritualty rooted in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperial critiques. Students are introduced to topics not commonly discussed in conversations around environmental justice. Corporations, for example, have a long history of polluting Black neighborhoods to maximize profit, and the state has long engaged in genocidal practices that endanger the environmental health of these communities. What does it mean, then, for Christian ethicists—and ethicists of other religious traditions—to address the environmental impact that U.S. housing policy has on Black communities; the many ways that individuals in prison and migrant detention are exposed to toxic environmental hazards; and the role of the U.S. military in fueling the ecological crisis? The seminar explores these and many other topics, including: efforts by Elon Musk and NASA to colonize space, how universities plunder low-income communities, the environmental politics of natural history museums, and the various ways that Indigenous communities in Africa and the Americas fight against practices of extractivism and accumulation. Throughout the course, students also examine how communities of faith and other grassroots organizers engage in collective struggle against environmental racism through direct action, mutual aid, and the creation of what Ashanté Reese calls “Black food geographies.” Area II and Area V.