Undergraduate Spring 2022
Spring 2022 UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
EVST 366 (23726) /AMST 364 / ENV 598 / FILM 423
Documentary and the Environment
M 7:00-10:00pm, T 3:30-5:20
Survey of documentaries about environmental issues, with a focus on Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Food, Inc. (2009), GasLand (2010), and related films. Brief historical overview, from early films such as The River (1937) to the proliferation of environmental film festivals.
AMST 197 (21330) / ARCH 280 / HSAR 219 / URBN 280
American Architecture and Urbanism
Introduction to the study of buildings, architects, architectural styles, and urban landscapes, viewed in their economic, political, social, and cultural contexts, from precolonial times to the present. Topics include: public and private investment in the built environment; the history of housing in America; the organization of architectural practice; race, gender, ethnicity and the right to the city; the social and political nature of city building; and the transnational nature of American architecture.
EVST 215 (21299) / ENGL 459 / MB&B 459
Writing about Science, Medicine, and the Environment
Advanced non-fiction workshop in which students write about science, medicine, and the environment for a broad public audience. Students read exemplary work, ranging from newspaper articles to book excerpts, to learn how to translate complex subjects into compelling prose.
ARCH 360 (21340) / URBN 360
Urban Lab: An Urban World
Understanding the urban environment through methods of research, spatial analysis, and diverse means of representation that address historical, social, political, and environmental issues that consider design at the scale of the entire world. Through timelines, maps, diagrams, collages and film, students frame a unique spatial problem and speculate on urbanization at the global scale.
AMST 029 (21365) / ENGL 029
Henry Thoreau played a critical role in the development of environmentalism, American prose, civil rights, and the politics of protest. We read his writing in depth, and with care, understanding it both in its historical context and in its relation to present concerns of democracy and climate change. We read his published writing and parts of the journal, as well as biographical and contextual material. The class makes a field trip to Walden Pond and Concord, learning about climate change at Walden as revealed by Thoreau’s unparalleled documentation of his biotic surroundings. Student’s consider Thoreau’s place in current debates about the environment and politics, and are encouraged to make connections with those debates in a final paper.
AMST 257 (22507) / ENGL 325
Modern Apocalyptic Narratives
The persistent impulse in Western culture to imagine the end of the world and what might follow. Social and psychological factors that motivate apocalyptic representations. Differences and constant features in apocalyptic representations from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary science fiction. Attitudes toward history, politics, sexuality, social class, and the process of representation in apocalyptic texts.
CPLT 624 (22433) / HUMS 368 / GMAN 689 / LITR 481 / GMAN 390
Alienation, Reconciliation from Hegel to the Ecological Rift
Alienation has been explored in social, economic or environmental respects, and thinkers differ widely according to how, where, and when to identify the other of alienation, a non-alienated way of life or reconciliation. This course discusses alienation and reconciliation along these lines in Rousseau, Hegel, Marx; Simmel, Lukács, Sartre; Lefebvre, J.B. Foster, J.W. Moore and others.
AMST 281 (21482) / ENGL 278
Antebellum American Literature
Areas: HU, WR
Introduction to writing from the period leading up to and through the Civil War. The growth of African American writing in an antislavery context; the national book market and its association with national culture; emergence of a language of environment; romantic ecology and American pastoral; the “ecological Indian”; evangelicalism and the secular; sentimentalism and gender; the emergence of sexuality; poetics.
EVST 211 (20434) / EPS 211 / HSHM 211 / HIST 416
Global Catastrophe since 1750
A history of the geological, atmospheric, and environmental sciences, with a focus on predictions of global catastrophe. Topics range from headline catastrophes such as global warming, ozone depletion, and nuclear winter to historical debates about the age of the Earth, the nature of fossils, and the management of natural resources. Tensions between science and religion; the role of science in government; environmental economics; the politics of prediction, modeling, and incomplete evidence.
ANTH 342 (24003) / EAST 346 / ANTH 542 / EAST 546
Cultures and Markets in Asia
Historical and contemporary movements of people, goods, and cultural meanings that have defined Asia as a region. Reexamination of state-centered conceptualizations of Asia and of established boundaries in regional studies. The intersections of transregional institutions and local societies and their effects on trading empires, religious traditions, colonial encounters, and cultural fusion. Finance flows that connect East Asia and the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa. The cultures of capital and market in the neoliberal and postsocialist world.
AMST 332 (20032) / HSAR 410
Humbugs and Visionaries: American Artists and Writers Before the Civil War
This course examines American literature and visual culture of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. We look in particular at outliers, prophets, and self-promoters, from the radical Puritan writer Anne Bradstreet to popular entertainers like P. T. Barnum. Topics include: visuality and the public sphere; landscape and politics; genre painting and hegemony; race and identity; managerial culture and disembodied vision. Class trips to the Yale University Art Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum (New York).
HIST 347J (20427) / AFST 486 / HSHM 486
African Systems of Thought
Nana Osei Quarshie
Areas HU, WR
This seminar explores the effects of colonialism and post-colonial power relations on the production of scientific, medical, and embodied knowledge about Africa. The course focuses on three broad themes covered across four units. First, we read debates over the nature and definition of science and tradition. How have colonialism and post-colonial power relations defined the tasks of an African science? What does it mean to decolonize African thought or culture? Second, we examine the nature of rationality. Is reason singular or plural? Culturally-bound or universal? To what extent are witchcraft, African healing practices, and ancestor veneration rational practices? Is there a “traditional” rationality? Third, we explore the relationship between scientific representations, social practices, and local culture. What relationship exists between social practices and culturally shared categories of knowledge? Lastly, we examine the intersection of capital and medical expertise. How have shifting conceptions of value and capital, reshaped scientific and medical authority in Africa?
Global Water in the Modern Era: Capitalism, State Power, and Environmental Crisis
Areas: HU, WR
This course introduces students to the historical promises and perils of the modern hydraulic era using a global, comparative approach. Throughout the semester, we read a variety of case studies, arranged in a roughly chronological manner, that provide a vantage on structural and cultural similarities, as well as problems and cultural aspirations unique to particular places and times.
ENGL 341 (21918) / EVST 409 / HUMS 377 / LITR 404
Nature Poetry, from the Classics to Climate Change
Areas: HU, WR
Poetry of the natural world, beginning with classical pastoral and ending with lyric responses to climate change. We consider how poetry attempts to make sense of our interaction with the earth at important moments of change, from pre-industrial agriculture to global capitalism and the Anthropocene.
EVST 464 (23730) / FILM 456 / AMST 464 / THST 458 / ENV 592
Documentary Film Workshop
W 10:30am-1:20pm, T 7pm-10pm
A yearlong workshop designed primarily for majors in Film and Media Studies or American Studies who are making documentaries as senior projects.
EVST 228 (22898) / HUMS 228 / HIST 459J / LITR 345
Climate Change and the Humanities
What can the Humanities tell us about climate change? The Humanities help us to better understand the relationship between everyday individual experience, and our rapidly changing natural world. To that end, students read literary, political, historical, and religious texts to better understand how individuals both depend on, and struggle against, the natural environment in order to survive.
AMST 030 (21976)
Cultures of Travel
Areas: HU, WR
From where does the desire to leave the familiar and experience the unknown emerge? What is the relationship between travel and the production of knowledge? What are the cultural politics of constructing, selling, and consuming “experiences” of alterity? In what ways is tourism today linked to historically constituted systems of power and inequality? This interdisciplinary course draws on anthropology, history, literary criticism, and feminist, postcolonial, and critical theory to examine the social construction of travelers and the making of knowledge and power through travel. We examine the processes through which displacement and travel yield normalized claims to knowledge, enhanced selfhood, and professional expertise. Through engagement with theoretical texts, case studies, and primary documents, we think critically about privileged discourses of travel. Major course themes include the politics of authenticity, the mythic figure of the traveler, the valorization of displacement as aesthetic gain, the fantasy of “going native,” patterns of consumption, and the pervasive links between travel, authority, power, and knowledge. Students are encouraged to engage their own research interests and to theorize themselves as both travelers and knowledge-producers.
HSHM 006 (23093)
Making Climate Knowledge
Areas: HU, WR
This is a course about how scientists have come to know what they know about our impacts on the earth’s climate and our vulnerability to climate change. At what point in history did humans become the first species to consciously alter the conditions of life on earth? What evidence did their knowledge rest on? Did scientists bear responsibility to warn of these consequences? These historical questions are pivotal to thinking today about who bears moral responsibility for the climate crisis and about future courses of action. Knowledge of the causes and impacts of climate change hinges on a range of disciplines, from ecology to agriculture to public health. In this course, we attend to the multiplicity of ways of knowing climate, as well as to the challenges of integrating them. We also track the historical entanglements of climate knowledge with imperialism, racism, and extractive capitalism. The course includes visits to the Yale Farm, the Peabody Museum’s collections, and the Yale Center for British Art, and a trip to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
HUMS 382 (24290) / HSMH 464
Nature and Human Nature
Areas: HU, SC
This course explores the Western conception of the human place in the natural world as it has shifted across four centuries. It features, alongside corollary readings, close study of three classic texts: Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), Giambattista Vico’s New Science (1744), and Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859)―fundamental texts locating humans in the cosmos, in society, and in natural history, respectively. It finishes with a new work, Terrence Deacon’s Incomplete Nature (2011), an attempt to explain the emergence of mind from the natural world.
EVST 318 (20400) / AMST 236 / HIST 199 / HSHM 207
American Energy History
Areas: HU, WR
The history of energy in the United States from early hydropower and coal to present-day hydraulic fracturing, deepwater oil, wind, and solar. Topics include energy transitions and technological change; energy and democracy; environmental justice and public health; corporate power and monopoly control; electricity and popular culture; labor struggles; the global quest for oil; changing national energy policies; the climate crisis.
AMST 452 (20035) / ER&M 452
Movement, Memory, and U.S. Settler Colonialism
This research seminar examines and theorizes the significance of movement and mobility in the production and contestation of settler colonial nation-states. To do so, it brings together the fields of settler colonial studies, critical indigenous studies, ethnic studies, public history, and mobility studies. After acquainting ourselves with the foundations and some of the key debates within each of these fields, we examine four case studies: The Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail in Boston; the Lewis and Clark expedition and its recuperation as a site of healing and education for tribal nations in the Upper Midwest and Northwest; the Trail of Tears and the contest over southern memory; and the relationships between settlement, labor migration, and regional racial formation in California. Students then conduct their own research projects that integrate primary source research on a particular organized movement (of people, non-human animals, ideas, practices) with two or more expressions of memory about that movement (in the form of public history installations, popular culture, literature, music, digital memes, etc.).
ARCH 325 (21493) /URBN 417
Fugitive Practice: Introducing, Recentering, and Exploring Black and Indigenous Design Methods
Jerome Haferd, Curry Hackett
This seminar introduces and explores Black, indigenous, and other historically marginalized modes of cultural production— collectively referred to here as “fugitive practices.” The course confronts the erasure (and re-centering) of these modes by rethinking the episteme of architecture—questioning history, planning, and urbanism—but also of the body, the design of objects, and making. Modes of sociocultural and aesthetic production explored in the course may include: improvisation in jazz, hip-hop and social dance; textiles of the Modern African Diaspora and indigenous peoples; informal economies; ingenuity in vernacular architecture; and others. The course is structured around seven two-week “modules,” each containing a seminar discussion, a design exercise, and a short written accompaniment. It is conducted in collaboration with a parallel seminar being offered by faculty at Howard University.
ARCG 500 (2154) / NELC 500 / CLSS 808
Environmental History of West Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean
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.
ER&M 401 (20302)
Writer/Rioter: Public Writing in the 21st Century
In his collection Lunch with A Bigot: The Writer in the World, Amitava Kumar asks “What divides the writer from the rioter?” This class is concerned with unpacking the various ways writers participate in the 21st century world as disturbers of the peace. This century has seen great advances in technology, health, alternative energies, new forms of communication, but also vast consolidations of power, mass incarceration, climate change, poverty, homelessness, wars, state surveillance, and sexual violence. Our current historical moment increasingly asks us to craft broader and deeper connections between personal, local, national, and international issues. This course explores cultural criticism on a range of issues that examine the intersections of history, politics, media, and various crises in the 21st century by writers from a variety of backgrounds: journalists, academics, activists, artists, scientists, and politicians. We analyze how these writers use their professional expertise to craft work for the public arena, and what it means to create a history of the present. The course’s four sections cover various responses to some of the issues most publicly contested across college campuses nationwide, and here at Yale: racial unrest, sexual assault, climate change, poverty, incarceration, fascism, and gun violence.
EVST 255 (21121) / F&ES 255 / GLBL 282 / PLSC 215
Environmental Law and Politics: Global Food Challenges
We explore relations among environmental quality, health, and law. We consider global-scale avoidable challenges such as: environmentally related human illness, climate instability, water depletion and contamination, food and agriculture, air pollution, energy, packaging, culinary globalization, and biodiversity loss. We evaluate the effectiveness of laws and regulations intended to reduce or prevent environmental and health damages. Additional laws considered include rights of secrecy, property, speech, worker protection, and freedom from discrimination. Comparisons among the US and EU legal standards and precautionary policies will also be examined. Ethical concerns of justice, equity, and transparency are prominent themes.
HUMS 247 (21157) / SOCY 352 / SOCY 620
Material Culture and Iconic Consciousness
Areas HU, SO
How and why contemporary societies continue to symbolize sacred and profane meanings, investing these meanings with materiality and shaping them aesthetically. Exploration of “iconic consciousness” in theoretical terms (philosophy, sociology, semiotics) and further exploration of compelling empirical studies about food and bodies, nature, fashion, celebrities, popular culture, art, architecture, branding, and politics.
HIST 002 (20335)
Myth, Legend, and History in New England
Areas HU, WR
This seminar explores the complex and multi-faceted process of remembering and representing the past, using the New England region as our laboratory and drawing on the resources of Yale and the surrounding region for our tools. Human events are evanescent—as soon as they happen, they disappear. Yet they live on in many forms, embodied in physical artifacts and the built environment, converted to songs, stories, and legends, inscribed in written records of a thousand sorts, depicted in graphic images from paintings and sketches to digital photographs and video. From these many sources people form and reform their understanding of the past. In this seminar, we examine a series of iconic events and patterns deeply embedded in New England’s past and analyze the contested processes whereby historians, artists, poets, novelists, and other “remembrancers” of the past have attempted to do this essential work.
EVST 189 (20395) / HIST 246
The History of Food
The history of food and culinary styles from prehistory to the present, with a particular focus on Europe and the United States. How societies gathered and prepared food. Changing taste preferences over time. The influence of consumers on trade, colonization, and cultural exchange. The impact of colonialism, technology, and globalization. The current food scene and its implications for health, the environment, and cultural shifts.
ENGL 114, Section 5
Black and Indigenous Ecologies
Instruction on writing well-reasoned analyses and academic arguments, with emphasis on the importance of reading, research, and revision. Using examples of nonfiction prose from a variety of academic disciplines, individual sections focus on topics such as the city, childhood, globalization, inequality, food culture, sports, and war.
ENGL 114, Section 7
Food Politics Beyond Neoliberalism
Instruction in writing well-reasoned analyses and academic arguments, with emphasis on the importance of reading, research, and revision. Using examples of nonfiction prose from a variety of academic disciplines, individual sections focus on topics such as the city, childhood, globalization, inequality, food culture, sports, and war.
ENGL 114, Section 13
Into the Wild
Areas: HU, WR
Looking out from the peak of Mount Snowdon one night in 1791, the young hiker William Wordsworth famously saw something “awful and sublime” in the mist-shrouded valleys below. The transcendent power of an authentic encounter with nature—“In that wild place and at the dead of night”—shaped a literary movement and set off a European craze for untamed experience, as nineteenth-century adventurers began flocking to glacial summits en masse. Wilderness was suddenly in vogue. The Romantic elevation of nature played a pivotal role in the great conservation and environmental movements of the twentieth century, but this pursuit of transcendence also had unforeseen consequences. Wordsworth’s best selling accounts of solitary rambles in the hills near his home helped turn the Lake District into one of the most crowded tourist destinations in England; in the 2019 climbing season alone, eleven people died on Everest as others waited in line to take selfies at the mountain’s summit. This course explores both the strong allure of the wild in the human imagination and the political, ecological, and ethical consequences of this compulsion. What can wilderness literature tell us about the figure of the ‘outdoors type’ or the relationship between environmentalism and adventure culture? What tensions emerge between authentic experience and the careful framing, filtering, and marketing of that authenticity? As the wilderness has receded, finding it has become increasingly urgent. But at what cost
ANTH 478 (23863) / EVST 399 / ARCG 399 / NELC 399 / ENV 774
Agriculture: Origins, Evolution, Crises
Analysis of the societal and environmental drivers and effects of plant and animal domestication, the intensification of agroproduction, and the crises of agroproduction: land degradation, societal collapses, sociopolitical transformation, sustainability, and biodiversity.
EVST (24158) / ARCG 354 / NELC 324 / HIST 204J / ARCG 654 / NELC 688
The Ancient State: Genesis and Crisis from Mesopotamia to Mexico
Areas: HU, SO
Ancient states were societies with surplus agricultural production, classes, specialization of labor, political hierarchies, monumental public architecture and, frequently, irrigation, cities, and writing. Pristine state societies, the earliest civilizations, arose independently from simple egalitarian hunting and gathering societies in six areas of the world. How and why these earliest states arose are among the great questions of post-Enlightenment social science. This course explains (1) why this is a problem, to this day, (2) the dynamic environmental forces that drove early state formation, and (3) the unresolved fundamental questions of ancient state genesis and crisis, –law-like regularities or a chance coincidence of heterogenous forces.
ARCG 621 (23788) / NELC 621
Archaeology of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt: Innovation and Transformation
This seminar investigates the evolution of material culture within the framework of Middle Kingdom society. Key discoveries and archaeological sites are discussed in depth using archaeological fieldwork reports and other relevant publications with the aim to analyze the cultural and political transformations that characterized Egypt after the third millennium BCE. Data from settlements, temples, and mortuary evidence in addition to artistic innovations and the acquisition of raw materials are included. The seminar has two main learning objectives: to acquire in-depth knowledge of Middle Kingdom archaeology and to learn how to evaluate and contextualize archaeological evidence and the evolution of material culture critically within the framework of this complex society. How can we analyze social and cultural transformations with the help of archaeological sources? Students pursue guided research on specific topics that they present and discuss in class. Readings in German or French are assigned when necessary.
HIST 465J (24143) / HSHM 458
Scientific Instruments & The History of Science
Areas: HU, WR
What do scientific instruments from the past tell us about science and its history? This seminar foregrounds historical instruments and technological devices to explore how experimental cultures have changed over time. Each week students focus on a specific instrument from the History of Science and Technology Division of the Peabody Museum: magic lantern, telescope, telegraph, astrolabe, sundial, and more!
CSTC 360 (24130)
The History, Ethics, & Aesthetics of Cocktails
Jessica Spector, John Clark-Ginnetti
Food and drink are central to human experience. Alcohol was integral to the rise of agriculture and formation of many civilizations. The cocktail is a conspicuously late entrant on that stage, and supposedly an American one: by definition, it is said to have been invented in the USA in the 19th century. Over the past 150 years, the cocktail has emerged as a reflection of American material culture—right up through the pandemic of 2020. In this cross-disciplinary course, we examine what the cocktail has meant in different times and places, and how drink culture itself is bound up with colonialism, imperialism, the rise of science, and the commodification of art. No prerequisites—the more diverse the knowledge and interests among seminar participants, the better. In this class we pay attention to the present as well as the past, since they are always in conversation.
EVST 304 (20033) / AMST 348 / ER&M 381
Space, Place, and Landscape
Survey of core concepts in cultural geography and spatial theory. Ways in which the organization, use, and representation of physical spaces produce power dynamics related to colonialism, race, gender, class, and migrant status. Multiple meanings of home; the politics of place names; effects of tourism; the aesthetics and politics of map making; spatial strategies of conquest. Includes field projects in New Haven.
ARCH 414 (21821) / URBN 314
History of Landscape in Western Europe and the United States: Antiquity to 1950
This course is designed as an introductory survey of the history of landscape architecture and the wider, cultivated landscape in Western Europe and the United States from the Ancient Roman period to mid-twentieth century America. Included in the lectures, presented chronologically, are the gardens of Ancient Rome, medieval Europe, the early and late Italian Renaissance, 17th century France, 18th century Britain, 19th century Britain and America with its public and national parks, and mid-twentieth century America. The course focuses each week on one of these periods, analyzes in detail iconic gardens of the period, and places them within their historical and theoretical context.
ITAL 204 (23723)
The Making of Italian Urban Landscape: From the ‘borgo medievale’ to the ‘città ideale’
Areas: HU, Language (L5)
What is a city? What a city can tell us about human life? How can we position ourselves in a city? How can cities bridge social, political, cultural differences to become more inclusive? How our perception of the urban landscape has changed during the centuries? This course explores the changing of Italian urban landscape from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective, from art to economics, from literature to urban design. We go through some discourses and representations of the city; maps, views, travel and narrative literature, tourist guides, films. These sources provide different ways to tell of the experience of the Italian urban environment, the evolutions of Italian towns, the changes in size and organization, the emergence of new spaces and new functions, as well as of new challenges (public health, demographic crisis, destructions, sacks, etc.). By considering the city as both a physical and conceptual space, we eventually relate the material covered in class with the world outside: What is an ideal city? What is an invisible city? What is our relationship with real cities?
ANTH 318 (23903) / SAST 308
Peril and Possibility in the South Asian City
For the first time in human history, at some point in the last decade a majority of humankind became city dwellers. A fifth of these city-dwelling masses inhabit the massive and massifying megacities of the Indian sub-continent. Karachi, Dhaka, and Bombay frequently threaten to be the most populous urban centers on earth, and it may only be faith in the accuracy of government census data that defers this dubious honor. For while these cities are plugged into the global flows of people, ideas, things, and capital; such developments also bring with them anomie, alienation, dispossession, and depredations. Historical social conflicts born of a century of European colonialism and millennia of caste society have in some cases been mitigated, in others intensified in ways both insidious and invidious. Much ink has been spilt on contouring both the perils and possibilities attending the urbanization of the sub-continent. This course explores a ground-up view of the many ways in which the urban denizens of these bustling cities where pasts and futures collide, experience this collision. While this course draws on interdisciplinary scholarly examinations engaging the urban emergent, it focuses on the realm of experience, desire and affect germinating in the city. Students sample ethnography, art, speculative fiction, and film to map out the textures of this complex and mutating fabric. In doing so we chart the emergence and application of new ideas and cultures, practices and constraints, identities and conflicts in the contemporary urban landscapes.
ANTH 391 (21872) / ARCG 391
Paleoclimate and Human Response
The recursive interaction of climate change with human perception and manipulation of the landscape. Mechanisms and measures of climate change; three case studies of historical response to change at different scales.
ENV 782 (21339) / ARCH 341 / GLBL 253 / LAST 318 / URBN 341
Infrastructure space as a primary medium of change in global polity. Networks of trade, energy, communication, transportation, spatial products, finance, management, and labor, as well as new strains of political opportunity that reside within their spatial disposition. Case studies include free zones and automated ports around the world, satellite urbanism in South Asia, high-speed rail in Japan and the Middle East, agripoles in southern Spain, fiber optic submarine cable in East Africa, spatial products of tourism in North Korea, and management platforms of the International Organization for Standardization.
CSDC 360 (24023)
Manasvi Menon, Matthew Triebner
This course addresses the forces that shape contemporary urban life to help us understand and contextualize the future of cities. We explore different elements of city life, from resiliency to retail, using case studies from Brooklyn to Barcelona. Analyzing cities through these multiple “probes” provides insights into how a city functions as well as the values, needs, and priorities of the people who inhabit them.