Graduate Spring 2021


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

AMST 711 (23615)

Framing Global American Studies: Hemispheric, Oceanic, Archipelagic

Lisa Lowe

T 3:30pm-5:20pm

In this seminar we examine the various stakes of “globalizing” American studies and consider the critical emphases and erasures that attach to particular approaches, whether transnational, transatlantic, transpacific, hemispheric, archipelagic, borderlands, or other geopolitical framings of “the global.” We consider the ramifications of emphasizing spatial metaphors for the global and query the relationship of such frames to histories of race, indigeneity, settler colonialism, immigration, diaspora, and empire. Readings include A. Goldstein, ed., Formations of United States Colonialism; C. Levander and R. Levine, eds., Hemispheric American Studies; B. Roberts and M. Stephens, eds., Archipelagic American Studies; as well as work by R.W. Gilmore, P. Gilroy, K. McKittrick, R. Mawani, O.N. Tinsley, E.M. Dillon, K.-H. Chen, L. Yoneyama, J. Kim, J. Byrd, M.J. Saldaña-Portillo, M. Gómez-Barris, S. Smallwood, M. Karuka, and others.

AMST 747 (20040) /WGSS 633/ANTH 594

Affect and Materiality

Kathryn Dudley

T 1:30pm-3:20pm

Recent scholarship associated with the “affective turn” and “new materialisms” raises important questions about how we, as existents entangled in imperiled ecologies, know and collectively navigate our multispecies worlds. Refusing to accept classic oppositions between mind/body, self/other, and human/nonhuman, this work has inspired anthropologically inclined scholars to rethink the ways we analyze and write about the experiential regimes of settler colonialism, racialized capitalism, and heteronormativity. Rather than reifying divergent approaches to “affect” and “materiality” as discrete fields of knowledge, this course tracks these concepts across domains of inquiry in which they have long been urgently paramount: black, indigenous, and queer studies. Our goal is to recognize and navigate the alliances, interruptions, and aporias that emerge among fellow travelers committed to the project of feeling and producing anti-imperialist histories, geographies, and ontographies.

848 (22806) /ENGL 853

Inventing the Environment in the Anthropocene

Michael Warner


Although the concept of the Anthropocene can be dated in various ways, two of the most important benchmarks seem to be the beginning of industrial production in the late eighteenth century and the uptick in carbon dioxide emissions from the mid-nineteenth century (petroleum came into use during the Civil War). The period between these two moments is also that in which the modern language of the environment took shape, from Cuvier’s discovery of extinction and Humboldt’s holistic earth science to the transformative work of Thoreau and George P. Marsh. This course shuttles between the contemporary debate about the significance and consequences of the Anthropocene and a reexamination of that environmental legacy. We look at the complexity of “nature,” beginning with the Bartrams, Jefferson, Cuvier, and the transatlantic literatures of natural history; georgics and other genres of nature writing; natural theology; ambiguities of pastoral in American romantic writing (Bryant, mainly); the impact of Humboldt (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman); westward expansion and Native American writing about land; Hudson School painting and landscape architecture. We also think about the country/city polarity and the development of “grid” consciousness in places like New York City. One aim is to assess the formation and legacy of key ideas in environmentalism, some of which may now be a hindrance as much as a foundation. Secondary readings from Leo Marx, Henry Nash Smith, and William Cronon, as well as more recent attempts to reconceive environmental history (Joachim Radkau), ecocriticism (Lawrence Buell), and related fields, as well as science journalism (Elizabeth Kolbert). Students are invited to explore a wide range of research projects; and one assignment is to devise a teaching unit for an undergraduate class on the same topic.

AMST 903 (22214) /HIST 746/PHUM 903

Introduction to Public Humanities

Karin Roffman

Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

What is the relationship between knowledge produced in the university and the circulation of ideas among a broader public, between academic expertise on the one hand and nonprofessionalized ways of knowing and thinking on the other? What is possible? This seminar provides an introduction to various institutional relations and to the modes of inquiry, interpretation, and presentation by which practitioners in the humanities seek to invigorate the flow of information and ideas among a public more broadly conceived than the academy, its classrooms, and its exclusive readership of specialists. Topics include public history, museum studies, oral and community history, public art, documentary film and photography, public writing and educational outreach, the socially conscious performing arts, and fundraising. In addition to core readings and discussions, the seminar includes presentations by several practitioners who are currently engaged in different aspects of the Public Humanities. With the help of Yale faculty and affiliated institutions, participants collaborate in developing and executing a Public Humanities project of their own definition and design. Possibilities might include, but are not limited to, an exhibit or installation, a documentary, a set of walking tours, a website, a documents collection for use in public schools.

ANTH 615 (21415) /HSHM 755

Anthropological Perspectives on Science and Technology

Lisa Messeri

M 1:30pm-3:20pm

The course focuses on ethnographic work on scientific and technical topics, ranging from laboratory studies to everyday technologies. Selected texts include canonical books as well as newer work from early scholars and the most recent work of established scholars. Divided into four units, this seminar explores the theme of “boundaries,” a perennial topic in anthropology of science that deals with the possibility and limits of demarcation. Each week, different kinds of boundaries are examined, and students learn to see their social constructedness as well as the power they carry. We begin by exploring where science is and isn’t, followed by the boundary between ourselves and technology, which is a specific example of the third boundary we examine: the one artificially drawn between nature and culture. We end with readings on geopolitics and the technologies of delineating nation from nation as well as thinking about postnational scientific states. Class discussion guides each session. One or two students each week are responsible for precirculating a book review on the week’s reading, and a third student begins class by reacting to both the texts and the review. The final assignment is a research paper or a review essay.

ANTH 964 (20361) /HIST 964/HSHM 692/HSAR 842

Topics in the Environmental Humanities

Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Paul Sabin

W 5:30pm-7:20pm

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.

CLSS 808 (24756) /NELC 500

Environmental History of West Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean

Harvey Weiss

Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

The new linkages of high-resolution paleoclimate and archaeological and epigraphic records revise earlier historiography for the major disjunctions, including societal genesis, collapse, habitat tracking, and technological and ideological innovations, from 4000 to 40 BCE across west Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean. The seminar synthesizes speleothem and lake, marine, and glacial core records for abrupt climate changes and coincident societal adaptations previously unexplained.

ENGL 719 (20225)

Ecopoetics, Enlightenment to Romanticism

Jonathan Kramnick

W 3:30pm-5:20pm

This is a course on poetry and ecology during the long eighteenth century and on the tools and theories of the environmental humanities. We look closely at how genres like pastoral, georgic, locodescriptive, and the greater Romantic lyric considered the countryside, the city, and imperial periphery as particular kinds of spaces and environments. We also look at how ideas of landscape, wilderness, and the garden, of stranger sociability and urban publicity, and of the exotic or oceanic or savage took shape against the backdrop of enclosure and industrialism at home and of empire and colonialism abroad. We pay particular attention to the relation between form and phenomenology in the depiction of ecological surround. Writers include Denham, Gay, Swift, Pope, Thomson, Dyer, Cowper, Smith, Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, read alongside theory and history from Raymond Williams to reflections on the Anthropocene.

ENV 631 (23628)

Poverty, Environment, and Inequality

Dorceta Taylor


This course explores the relationship between poverty, environment, and social inequality. It examines how race and class interact in American rural and urban environments to produce or sustain inequalities, and how structural factors and community characteristics influence environmental outcomes. Students begin by examining the relationship between degraded environments and poor schooling. They examine the environmental hazards that exist in or adjacent to urban and rural public schools. Students analyze inner-city and poor rural communities as they examine disinvestment, the concentration of poverty, efforts to disperse the poor, and the potential for community revitalization. The class examines homelessness and the ways in which climate disasters impact housing experiences. The course also examines another aspect of poverty—the issue of food security—and looks at the rise in community gardening in poor communities as an attempt to combat lack of access to healthy food.

ENV 685 (24738)
Engaging Landholders and Communities in Conserving and Restoring Tropical Forest Landscapes
Eva Garen, Alicia Calle
The design and implementation of sustainable land management strategies in tropical forest landscapes must effectively involve the people and communities who manage and govern these regions. In many cases, however, practitioners design projects that focus on technical solutions only and ignore people altogether, or base their projects upon incorrect assumptions about the people at the heart of their interventions. These trends ultimately lead to project failure and can cause a host of adverse unintended consequences that further exacerbate the problems that practitioners were trying to resolve. This pattern is particularly prevalent with recent pledges by global organizations and national governments to plant trillions of trees around the globe in an effort to address the adverse effects of climate change (The Bonn Challenge and Trillion Trees). While these initiatives are well-intended, they largely ignore the sociocultural and political complexities of the landscapes where the trees would be planted, including whether landholders already plant or protect trees and if they want to increase this practice and how; which species they want to plant or protect and how; and the effects of tree planting on land tenure systems, traditional livelihood strategies, and gender dynamics. Little attention is also given to examining who removed the trees from the landscape and why, and whether tree planting is an appropriate solution.

ENV 898 (24292)
Environment and Human Health
Michelle Bell
This course provides an overview of the critical relationships between the environment and human health. The class explores the interaction between health and different parts of the environmental system including weather, air pollution, greenspace, environmental justice, and occupational health. Other topics include environmental ethics, exposure assessment, case studies of environmental health disasters, links between climate change and health, and integration of scientific evidence on environmental health. Students learn about current key topics in environmental health and how to critique and understand scientific studies on the environment and human health. The course incorporates lectures and discussion.

ENV 959 (24027) /EPH 555
Clinic in Climate Justice, Climate Policy, Law, and Public Health
Robert Dubrow, Laura Bozzi, Marianne Engelman-Lado
M 10am-11:50am
This course, an innovative collaboration between Yale School of Public Health, Yale School of the Environment, and Vermont Law School, includes students from both Yale and Vermont Law School. In the course, interdisciplinary student teams carry out applied projects that incorporate elements of climate justice, climate policy, and/or law with public health. Each team works with a partner organization (e.g., state agency, community organization, other nongovernmental organization) or on an ongoing project of the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health and/or the Vermont Law School Environmental Justice Clinic. A given team may include students from one institution or from both institutions, in which case team members work together remotely. The course meets weekly at Yale School of Public Health and Vermont Law School, respectively, connected by Zoom. It affords the opportunity to have a real-world impact by applying concepts and competencies learned in the classroom. This course should be of interest to graduate and professional students across the University and is open to Yale College juniors and seniors. In addition, this course is one of the options available to students to fulfill the practice requirement for the M.P.H. degree at YSPH and the capstone requirement for the M.E.M. degree at the Yale School of the Environment. Enrollment is by application only; check the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health website or the course’s Canvas site for more information.

HSHM 749 (21258) /HIST 925
Visual and Material Cultures of Science
Paola Bertucci
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm
The seminar discusses recent works that address the visual and material cultures of science. Visits to Yale collections, with a particular emphasis on the History of Science and Technology Division of the Peabody Museum. Students may take the course as a reading or research seminar.

REL 610 (20871)
Worship, Cosmos, Creation

Teresa Berger
Th 1:30-3:20pm

This course explores the manifold intersections between practices of Christian worship and understandings of creation and cosmos. The specific intersections highlighted during the term include biblical, historical, visual, and musical materials as well as contemporary theological and pastoral reflections on practices of worship. The course seeks to engage the many voices of a “green” Christian faith that have emerged among scholars and practitioners of worship during a time of unprecedented attention to ecological and cosmological concerns.

REL 677 (22321)
Natural Disasters in the Christian Tradition: Ritual and Theological Responses
Mark Roosien
F 1:30pm-3:20pm
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 689 (24286)
Theology, Race, and the Built Environment

Willie Jennings

W 3:30pm-5:20pm

This seminar explores the processes of building environments and the roles theological reflection and racial reasoning have played and continue to play in those processes. We consider two overarching questions: First, what does it mean theologically to build architectural, geographical, economic, and social environments? Second, how have racial reasoning and racial vision been implicated in that work of building? With these questions we are seeking to articulate the work of creating church and home and the connection between those two works of creating. Area II.

REL 844 (24232)

Nurturing Hope: Soul Care Amidst Climate Crisis
Timothy Robinson
Th 9am-10:50am
Liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez has written that “every great spirituality is connected with the great historical movement of the age in which it was formulated,” while eco-theologian Willis Jenkins has stated that the “environmental crisis forms a new global dimension of religious experience.” As the scope and scale of climate crisis become ever clearer, and evidence of its toll on human communities, the human psyche, and the human spirit mounts (eco-anxiety, climate-related trauma, and the material impacts of environmental racism and eco-colonialism), this course explores what it means to nurture a spirituality of hope in the presence of this grave threat to planetary life. We examine what it means to practice care of souls—our own and those of others—amidst the mounting impacts of climate crisis. Area IV.

REL 906H (22335) /ENV 857

American Environmental History and Values

John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker

W 4pm-6pm

This course provides an overview of major figures, ideas, and institutions in American environmentalism. The course explores the development of environmental awareness in America as distinct historical strands with diverse ethical concerns. It begins with an examination of Native American perspectives on land and biodiversity and then focuses on writings by Thoreau and Emerson to explore early American voices in the discourse on “nature.” Readings from Pinchot, Muir, and Leopold have been selected to investigate the emergence of conservation and forest management. The beginnings of urban and park planning are considered in relation to these positions on the management of nature. Students survey the environmental movements from the 1960s onward in readings from the social sciences and humanities. The course explores the major debates in environmental ethics and the broader reach for global ethics. Writings celebrating biodiversity are examined along with the emergence of conservation biology as an example of engaged environmental scholarship. New efforts to widen the interdisciplinary approaches toward environmental issues are introduced in investigating world religions and ecology as well as cosmology and ecology. Area III and Area V.

REL 917H (22336) /ENV 785
Asian Religions and Ecology
John Grim, Mary Evelyn Tucker
T 4pm-6pm
This course introduces students to Asian religious traditions and their intersection with ecology. The first half of the course explores the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The second half explores the East Asian religious traditions of Confucianism, Daoism, and East Asian Buddhism. These traditions are studied in the context of the emerging field of religion and ecology. This course identifies developments in religious traditions that highlight their ecological implications into the contemporary period. In particular, it relates religious concepts, textual analysis, ritual activities, and institutional formations to engaged, on-the-ground environmental projects. It investigates the symbolic and lived expressions in religious ethics and practices that can be defined as religious ecologies. Similarly, it identifies narratives in South Asian religious traditions and East Asian religious traditions that orient humans to the cosmos, namely, religious cosmologies. This interrelationship of narratives and religious environmentalism provides pathways into the study of religion and ecology. At present the rapid modernization in South and East Asia is causing extreme environmental problems. This course investigates Asian religions in relation to this ecological crisis. Both the problems and promise of religions are acknowledged. Religions are now widely seen as significant social, intellectual, and spiritual forces that both shape and are shaped by cultural worldviews. Moreover, religions are containers of symbolic language that often evoke nature’s processes and reflect nature’s rhythms. The multiform roles of religions, then, provide historical sources for reflection upon human behavior guided by values embedded in individual and social bodies, projected onto ecosystems, and molded into cosmological narratives. Area V.