Graduate Spring 2019



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 888 01 (23164)

Food in Literature, Culture, and Science

Wai Chee Dimock

Th 1.30-3.20

From the global histories of sugar and salt to the latest research on chicken and antibiotics, this course explores some key texts—by Gabriel García Márquez, Sinclair Lewis, Ruth Ozeki, Monique Truong, Jonathan Safran Foer, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood—both as works of luminous imagination and as entry points to deeper scientific knowledge, encouraging cross-pollination among disciplines. 

ANTH 575 01 (20457) /EAST 575

Hubs, Mobilities, and Global Cities

Helen Siu

T 1.30-3.20

Analysis of urban life in historical and contemporary societies. Topics include capitalist and postmodern transformations, class, gender, ethnicity, migration, and global landscapes of power and citizenship.

ANTH 773 01 (20868) /ARCG 773/NELC 588

Abrupt Climate Change and Societal Collapse

Harvey Weiss

Th 3.30-5.20

Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, “barbarian” incursions, or class conflict.

ANTH 779 01 (22373) /ARCG 779

Anthropology of Mobile Societies

William Honeychurch

F 9.25-11.15

The social and cultural significance of the ways that hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, maritime traders, and members of our own society traverse space. The impact of mobility and transport technologies on subsistence, trade, interaction, and warfare from the first horse riders of five thousand years ago to jet-propulsion tourists of today.

ARCG 692 01 (21773) /ANTH 692/NELC 537

Imaging Ancient Worlds

Roderick McIntosh

John Darnell

Agnete Lassen

W 9.25-11.15

The interpretation of epigraphic and archaeological material within the broader context of landscape, by means of creating a virtual model to reconstruct the sensory experiences of the ancient peoples who created the sites. Use of new technologies in computer graphics, including 3-D imaging, to support current research in archaeology and anthropology.

ENGL 853 01 (20848) /AMST 848

Inventing the Environment in the Anthropocene

Michael Warner

M 9.25-11.15

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.

F&ES 614 01 (23277)

Justice, Nature, and Reflective Environmental Practice Seminar

Michael Mendez

W 1.00-3.50

Nature, identity, and politics intersect in interesting ways in environmental governance. Through an interdisciplinary approach to public health, and urban and environmental studies, we examine intersectionality and the changing relationship between social systems, urbanization, biodiversity conservation, and environmental justice. Particular attention is focused on institutional values, reflective environmental practice, and how race, class, gender, and sexuality impact environmental participation and justice in the distribution of natural resources and the equitable development of cities. Students examine social theories of “nature,” as well as a range of policy responses to address environmental inequities. In the seminar, we define reflective practice as the ability to reflect on one’s professional experiences, actions, and positionality, so as to engage in a process of continuous learning. Students focus on “reflective practice” exercises to engage in the practical and theoretical methods used in the field of environmental policy and planning to address the immediate and long-term sustainability challenges posed by global and local environmental change. Urban and sociological theories are complemented by real-world environmental controversies that require group collaboration to produce in-class presentations, role-playing negotiation case simulations, and the completion of a final research paper.

F&ES 643 01 (23282)

Nature and Society

Benjamin Cashore

MW 2.30-3.50

F&ES 760 01 (23305)

Conservation in Practice: An International Perspective

Amy Vedder

Albert Weber

TTh 5.30-6.50

This seminar focuses on the practice of wildlife and wildlands conservation, examining key topics from the dual perspectives of academic literature and actual field experiences; bringing together interdisciplinary thinking; and drawing on examples from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. The thematic outline of the seminar is organized around three fundamental questions in nature conservation: What are we trying to save—and why? How is this being done—and how has it changed over time? What lessons are we learning—and what overarching issues remain problematic? Specific topics include how different players define and value wildness; selection and prioritization of conservation targets; comparisons of various species and landscape conservation approaches; and governance and decision-making in conservation, including ties between conservation and development and community-based conservation. During the course of the term, six to eight guest conservation practitioners join the seminar, bringing tangible examples of current practice into the classroom via presentations and discussions. Student participation and leadership are key, as the seminar is discussion-based, centers on the sharing of ideas and experiences, demands challenging thinking, and is frequently led by students. Limited enrollment. Evaluation is based on participation, comments on assigned readings, and a final paper.

F&ES 798E 01 (23311)

China’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability Challenge

Angel Hsu

T 6.00-8.00

Developing solutions for global energy and climate challenges necessitates an understanding of China. This course examines China’s economic rise in the context of its energy and environment, as they relate both within China and abroad. Issues of security, the long-term sustainability of current resource consumption and growth, and the need for innovative technology and policy are all challenges China’s energy system faces. At the same time, as the world’s largest consumer of energy and emitter of greenhouse gases, China has the ability to singlehandedly shape the course of the global climate system. The environmental consequences of China’s energy consumption and growth are also critical considerations, particularly as China’s air and water pollution have become transboundary in nature. This is the first joint course offered with students at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

F&ES 820 01 (23318)

Land Use Law and Environmental Planning

Marjorie Shansky

MW 4.00-5.20

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, in a practical way, how the environment can be protected through effective regulation at the local level. It introduces students to federal, state, regional, and local laws and programs that affect 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 particularly as they relate to controlling development in and around watershed areas as well as regulatory response to sea-level rise and climate change. Students engage in empirical research working to identify, catalog, and evaluate innovative local laws that successfully protect environmental functions and natural resources, and the manner in which towns, particularly on the coast, 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 regulations and regulations designed to promote sustainable development in a climate-changing world. The course includes examination of the state and local response to climate change, sea-level rise, growth management, alternatives to Euclidean zoning, low-impact development, brownfields redevelopment, energy conservation, and innovative land use strategies.

F&ES 857 01 (22412) /REL 906H

Environmental History and Values

John Grim

Mary Tucker

W 4.00-5.30

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.

F&ES 869 01 (23325)

Disaster, Degradation, Dystopia: Social Science Approaches to Environmental Perturbation and Change

Michael Dove

Th 1.00-3.50

This is an advanced seminar on the long tradition of social science scholarship on environmental perturbation and natural disasters, the relevance of which has been heightened by the current global attention to climate change. The course is divided into three main sections. The first consists of central questions and debates in the field: social dimensions of natural disasters; the discursive dimensions of environmental degradation, focusing on deforestation; and the current debate about the relationship between resource wealth and political conflict, focusing on the “green war” thesis. The second focuses on anthropological and interdisciplinary approaches to climate change and related topics, encompassing canonical anthropological work on flood and drought; cyclones, El Niño, and interannual cycles; ethno-ecology; and risk. Additional lectures focus on interdisciplinary work. The final section consists of the classroom presentation of work by the students.

Prerequisite: F&ES 520 or F&ES 839.

F&ES 876 01 (22411) /REL 918H

Indigenous Traditions and the Environment

John Grim

Mary Tucker

T 4.00-5.30

Exploration of how particular indigenous peoples relate to local bioregions and biodiversity. Differences between and within indigenous societies, especially in cultural relationships to place. Ways in which values associated with physical places are articulated in symbols, myths, rituals, and other embodied practices.

F&ES 877 01 (23359)

Anthropology of the Global Economy for Conservation and Development

Carol Carpenter

Th 9.30-12.20

This seminar explores topics in the anthropology of the global economy that are relevant to conservation and development policy and practice. Anthropologists are often assumed to focus on micro- or local-level research, and thus to have limited usefulness in the contemporary, global world of conservation and development policy. In fact, however, they have been examining global topics since at least the 1980s, and little current anthropological research is limited to the village level. More importantly, the anthropological perspective on the global economy is unique and important. This course examines the topics that make up this perspective, including using a single commodity to study the global economy, theorizing the transition to capitalism, the moral relation between economy and society, models for thinking about power in the global economy, articulations between rural households and the global economy, rural-urban relations in the global economy; the process of becoming a commodity, the commons debate, credit and debt, contracting and flexible accumulation, globalization and scale, and theorizing REDD. Readings for the course come from the subfields of environmental anthropology, economic anthropology, the anthropology of development, and the anthropology of conservation. This class is a prerequisite for F&ES 965. Though designed for master’s and doctoral students, it is open to advanced undergraduates. Three hours lecture/seminar.

F&ES 888 01 (23327)

Ecological Urban Design

Alexander Felson

This course lays the groundwork for students from the School of Architecture and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies to collaboratively explore and define ecologically driven urban design. The goal is to work as an interdisciplinary group to cultivate a perspective on the developing field of urban ecology and approaches to implementing urban ecological design. The transformation of urban ecology from a role in studying a system to studying and shaping urban ecosystems is a primary focus for the course, which concentrates on the following questions: How do we define urban ecosystems? How do we combine science, design, and planning to shape and manage urban ecosystems? How do we implement effective and adaptable experimental and monitoring methods specific to urban sites and human subjects in order to conduct viable urban ecological research? The course uses the Earth Stewardship Initiative, a large land-planning project developed for the Ecological Society of America in Sacramento, Calif., to create a real-world project where interdisciplinary teams can work to combine ecological applications and design with the goal of shaping urban systems to improve the ecological, social, and infrastructural function of city components. Limited enrollment.

FILM 710 01 (23133) /AFAM 537

Contemporary Art, Race, and the Philosophy of Media

Rizvana Bradley


This course draws from a diverse range of writing in philosophy (especially the philosophy of media), contemporary critical theory (phenomenology, new materialism), contemporary feminist thought, queer theory, and black studies in order to question underlying assumptions about the body and embodied spaces in contemporary art and culture. Drawing from film, literature, performance, and contemporary art, students think about a range of philosophical and critical themes, including the role of the body, the virtual construction of time and space, questions of affect, and sensation, all of which inform concerns over representation, embodiment, and materiality.

GMAN 654 01 (23103) /CPLT 562

Living Form: Organicism in Society and Aesthetics

Kirk Wetters

W 1.30-3.20

Starting with Kant, the organic is defined as a processual relation of the part and the whole, thereby providing a new model of the individual as a self-contained totality. We explore the implications of this conception in Goethe’s writings on morphology (The Metamorphosis of Plants, “Orphic Primal Words”), the Romantics’ Athenaeum, Hanslick’s On the Beautiful in Music, Oswald Spengler’s cultural morphology, the concept of autopoiesis in Maturana and Varela, Luhmann’s systems theory, and Canguilhem’s critique of the analogy of organic life and society.

HSAR 564 01 (22180) /ANTH 531/CLSS 815/ARCG 531/EALL 773/HIST 502/JDST 653/NELC 533/RLST 803

Sensory Experiences in Ancient Ritual

Carolyn Laferriere

Andrew Turner

Th 9.25-11.15

A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.

HSHM 710 01 (21132) /HIST 921

Problems in Science Studies

Lisa Messeri

T 1.30-3.20

Exploration of the methods and debates in the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. This course covers the history of the field and its current intellectual, social, and political positioning. It provides critical tools—including feminist, postcolonial, and new materialist perspectives—to address the relationships among science, technology, medicine, and society.

HSHM 761 01 (23382) /AFAM 752

Medicine and Empire

Carolyn Roberts

M 1.30-3.20

A reading course that explores medicine in the context of early modern empires with a focus on Africa, India, and the Americas. Topics include race, gender, and the body; medicine and the environment; itineraries of scientific knowledge; enslaved, indigenous, and creole medical and botanical knowledge and practice; colonial contests over medical authority and power; indigenous and enslaved epistemologies of the natural world; medicine and religion.

REL 640 01 (22243)

Body and Land

Willie Jennings

W 1.30-3.30


Areas DI (2)

Diversity DI

This course considers the relationship between the body and land, between bodily awareness and awareness of place, space, geography, and animals. The questions it seeks to answer are: What is the status of the geographic in the Christian imaginary? How do land and animal figure into contours of consciousness, theological vision, and life? How do ideas of private property, land enclosure, and spatial and racial segregation inform theories and theologies of the built environment? Our goal is to construct a cognitive map that integrates a theology of connectivity of body and land to a theology of relationality of peoples to each other, to the material world, and to God. Such a map might enable the formation of a moral geography that informs the creation of more just, inclusive, and nondestructive living spaces. Area II.