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Haverford College

2012-13 Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Environmental Studies, 2012-13



Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges offer an interdisciplinary Tri-College Environmental Studies (ES) Minor, involving departments and faculty from the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, the humanities and the arts on all three campuses. The Tri-Co ES Minor aims to bring students and faculty together to explore interactions among earth systems, human societies, and local and global environments. Students may complete a minor in ES in conjunction with any major at Haverford, Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore pending approval of the student’s coursework plan by the home department and the home-campus ES director.

The Tri-Co ES Minor aims to cultivate in students the capacity to identify and confront key environmental issues through a blend of multiple disciplines, encompassing historical, cultural, economic, political, scientific and ethical modes of inquiry. Acknowledging the reciprocal dimensions of materiality and culture in the historical formations of environments, this program is broadly framed by a series of interlocking dialogues: between the "natural" and the "built"; between the local and the global; and between the human and the nonhuman.

The minor consists of six courses, including an introductory course and capstone course, and the courses may be completed at any of the three campuses (or any combination thereof). To declare the minor, students should contact the ES director at their home campus.

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Jonathan Wilson, Biology, Environmental Studies Director*
Nikhil Anand, Anthropology (on leave 2012-2013)
Kimberly Benston, English*
Craig Borowiak, Political Science
Tapoja Chaudhuri, Anthropology
Kaye Edwards, Independent College Programs
C. Steve Finley, English
Andrew Friedman, History (on leave 2012-2013)
Megan Heckert, Tri-Co Visiting Assistant Professor of GIS
Karl Johnson, Biology
Danielle Lalonde, Classics
Iruka Okeke, Biology
Judy Owen, Biology
Robert Scarrow, Chemistry
Helen White, Chemistry (on leave 2012-2013)

Ellen Stroud, Growth and Structure of Cities, Environmental Studies Director*
Don Barber, Geology
Peter Briggs, English
David Consiglio, Instructor of Geographic Information Systems
Rick Davis, Anthropology
Victor Donnay, Mathematics
Jonas Goldsmith, Chemistry
Karen Greif, Biology
Carol Hager, Political Science
Michael Rock, Economics
David Ross Economics
Bethany Schneider, English
Nathan Wright, Sociology

Peter Collings, Physics and Astronomy, Environmental Studies Director*
Elizabeth Bolton, English Literature
Timothy Burke, History
Erich Everbach, Engineering
Megan Heckert, Visiting Assistant Professor
Alison Holliday, Chemistry
Eric Jensen, Physics and Astronomy
José-Luis Machado, Biology
Arthur McGarity, Engineering*
Rachel Merz, Biology
Carol Nackenoff, Political Science (on leave 2011-12)
Hans Oberdiek, Philosophy
Christine Schuetze, Sociology and Anthropology*
Mark Wallace, Religion

* member of Tri-College Environmental Studies Steering Committee

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The Environmental Studies Interdisciplinary Minor consists of six courses, as follows:

  1. A required introductory course to be taken prior to the senior year. This may be ENVS 101 at Bryn Mawr or Haverford or the parallel course at Swarthmore (ENVS 001). Any one of these courses will satisfy the requirement, and students may take no more than one such course for credit toward the minor.
  2. Four elective course credits from approved lists of core and cognate courses, including two credits in each of the following two categories (A and B). No more than one cognate course credit may be used for each category (see the ES website for course lists and more information about core and cognate courses). For Haverford students, no more than one of these four course credits may be in the student’s major.
    1. a. Environmental Science, Engineering and Mathematics: courses that build understanding and knowledge of scientific methods and theories, and that explore how these can be applied in identifying and addressing environmental challenges. At least one of the courses in this category must have a laboratory component.
    2. b. Environmental Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts: courses that build understanding and knowledge of social and political structures as well as ethical considerations, and how these inform our individual and collective responses to environmental challenges.
  3. A senior seminar (case-based), with culminating work that reflects tangible research design and inquiry, but which might materialize in any number of project forms. Bryn Mawr’s ENVS 397 (Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, co-taught by faculty members from Bryn Mawr and Haverford in 2012-2013) and Swarthmore’s ENVS 091 (Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar) satisfy the requirement.

Haverford students interested in the Environmental Studies minor should plan their course schedule with the Haverford Director of Environmental Studies in consultation with their major advisor. In choosing electives, students are encouraged to reach beyond their major and to include mostly intermediate or advanced courses. Additional information about the minor, including an updated list of affiliated faculty and approved electives, are available on the Environmental Studies website.


Courses listed here are taught at Haverford or are co-taught by Haverford faculty members. Other options are available at Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore.

ENVS 101 Case Studies in Environmental Issues

A cross-disciplinary introduction to environmental studies. Tracing an arc from historical analysis to practical engagement, distinctive approaches to key categories of environmental inquiry are presented: political ecology, earth science, energy, economics, public health, ecological design, sustainability, policy and environmental ethics. Basic concepts such as thermodynamics, biodiversity, cost-benefit analysis, scale, modernization, enclosure and the common and situational ethics are variously defined and employed within specific explorations of environmental challenges in the modern world. Limited to 40 students, with preference given to juniors who are declared ES minors, then to sophomores, then first year students (with a minimum of five spots reserved for first year students).

ENVS 397 (Bryn Mawr College): Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

This capstone ES course is designed to allow ES seniors to actively engage in environmental problem solving by bringing the perspectives and skills gained from their majors and applying them to collaborative interdisciplinary projects. Prerequisite: Open only to ES students who have completed all introductory work for the minor.

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The ES Minor Steering Committee determines the list of courses approved to meet the minor requirements and classifies the courses in two categories: core and cognate courses.

  • Core courses are those within the Tri-Co community that are centrally organized around environmental themes and devote at least 50% of the class time to studying environmental issues.
  • Cognate courses are those that have less focus on the environment compared to core courses, but nevertheless build understanding and knowledge of areas of inquiry that are highly valuable to the study and solution of environmental problems. While the focus on the environment typically occupies less than half of the class time in cognate courses, there is some mention of how the main focus of the course can inform understanding of environmental issues.

The approved lists are subject to revision, and the list published on the website immediately prior to each semester will govern which courses may be used to satisfy the elective requirements.

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