HUM 380

Environmental Humanities

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective May 6, 2020 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This rich, interdisciplinary course studies how popular and classical artistic genres (such as painting, sculpture, installations, music, literature, dance, film, digital media, photography, happenings, cartoons, criticism, theories, etc.) shape our understanding of and discussions about environmental issues. We examine how artists have sought to use, recreate, idealize, manipulate, mar, intervene in, and affect the environment and public attitudes toward the environment. Key critical theories informing environmental art will be covered (e.g., ecocriticism, environmental racism, indigenous activism, animal rights, radical plant studies, ecofeminism, green screen, the Anthropocene, apocalypse, poverty, religion, etc.). This course has a community engagement element.

Prerequisites

Learning outcomes

General

  • Articulate underlying assumptions about human relationships with the environment across various artistic genres.
  • Apply a number of critical theories or frameworks informing an artwork (e.g., ecocriticism, environmental racism, indigenous activisms, animal rights, ecofeminism, green screen, radical plant studies, etc.).
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Analyze a given artwork for its connections of the bio-physical environment to socio-cultural systems (e.g., political, economic, religious, or other social values).
  • Develop original and significant interpretations of artworks and their environmental rhetoric.
  • Evaluate research material (e.g., the difference between primary and secondary sources, scholarly vs general sources, what peer-reviewed means, how to recognize risky sources and propaganda).
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Create independent arguments in well-crafted academic essays articulating and defending actions they would take on various environmental problems.
  • Engage with the local community for the completion of an environmental or environmental-art project.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 10: People and the Environment

  • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.