This is a mixed undergrad/grad class that examines the ways our lives, places and environments are organized by policies and law, and the underlying economic, cultural and political reasons we have shaped policies and laws in the ways we have. We examine the structures and background history of law and policy often taken for granted, from the role of private property in American development to national forest "sustained yield" policies to the politics of waste and recycling, and we trace forward their tangible impacts on human communities and the environmental landscape. The main focus of the course is the United States. A key goal is to uncover different ways geography, policy and environment have been organized differently or might have been, how and why they changed or might still change, and the consequences for the environment and for people. In the process, we will open up a wider range of options for human-environment relations than normally imagined and think through some of their possibilities
A final required all-day student-led field trip will examine the historical co-development of place, land use, policy and environment in a range of places of your interest in the Pioneer Valley. Grad students will dive into some of the deeper theoretical ideas behind the concepts in a separate once/week reading group.
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.