sustainability arts + sciences

Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication

The humanities and social sciences are essential for an in-depth understanding of sustainability.  Courses in the HSSC department help students investigate the historical and philosophical underpinnings of contemporary interest in this topic.  Our courses address a variety of questions, including:

  • How have human attitudes toward the environment evolved over time? 
  • What are the social and cultural factors that shape our individual perceptions of and engagement with the natural world? 
  • What does sustainability really mean, and why are we interested in it? 

Students who take humanities and social science courses acquire the tools they need to explore these questions, whether they are discussing the commodification of nature in Development of the American Experience, learning about the seeds of the modern environmental movement in Romantic poetry, or considering the relationship between sustainability and property rights.  We offer courses in literature, history, philosophy, and economics that engage questions of sustainability directly, as well as communications courses that help students develop the skills they need to craft compelling arguments and think critically about this (and every) concept.  In some of the courses listed below, sustainability represents the primary focus, but virtually every course we offer provides opportunities to analyze the relationship between humans and their environment-a key component of sustainability.  We thus give students the chance to consider the theories behind sustainability, allowing them to put it into practice in a more thoughtful, well-informed manner.

 

Department of Natural Sciences

The natural sciences are essential for an in-depth understanding of sustainability. Courses in the NS department help students investigate the fundamental scientific principles used to understand the world around us. Our courses address a variety of questions, including:

  • How human activities interacts with the ecosystems we live in?
  • How energy is produced and consumed?
  • Why natural sciences are critical in maintaining societal needs while developing long-term solutions to ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity.
  • What does sustainability really mean, and why science plays a very important role?

Students who take natural science courses acquire the tools they need to answer such questions, and become aware of the scientific principles involved in maintaining a sustainable world.