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Theme Semester Course Offerings

Fall 2021: Climates

Select a course below to learn more about how it relates to this semester's theme of Climates.

** Denotes Theme Semester Course Development Grant Recipients

Instructor: Deena Isom, Assistant Professor
This course explores American racial climates through an investigation of whiteness. Critical studies of whiteness aim to understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy.Studies of whiteness consider how race is experienced by white people. It explores how they consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism and how this not only devastates communities of Color but also perpetuates the oppression of most white people along the lines of class and gender.

Instructor: Drucilla Barker, Professor
This course interrogates the relationships between globalization, colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization. They are all interrelated causes of climate change. The wellbeing of women, understood from an intersectional perspective,  is a central theme of the course. Women are at the center of climate change, both as victims and as resisters.

Instructor: Anna House, Assistant Professor, Art History
This course examines art in northern Europe c. 1400-1600, a period in which artists turned a curious eye to their rapidly changing world: from the dramatic cooling of the """"Little Ice Age,"""" to the shifting seasons immortalized in the miniatures of a nobleman's Book of Hours, to the sprawling forests and cloud formations that inspired the first independent landscape paintings.

Instructor: Joshua Stone, Assistant Professor
In Principles of Ecology we examine the underlying drivers of ecological diversity and population dynamics. Climate and climate change are some of the largest drivers of those changes, and throughout this course we will be examining how climate has and will continue to shape Earth's ecosystems.

Instructor: Carol Boggs, Professor
Climate, defined as long-term environmental temperature and moisture, is one determinant of the distribution and abundance of organisms. Altered climates, either through changing land use or atmospheric conditions, are a major driver of species and population endangerment. Policy climate also plays a large role in constraining or encouraging specific solutions to such endangerment. This course addresses the causes of and solutions to species and population endangerment, in the context of climates.

Instructor: Andrew Greytak, Associate Professor
Chem 542L fits into the Climates theme as we do several experiments - measurement of mid-IR absorption of HCl and CO2 gases in the lab, and near-IR absorption of O2 in the atmosphere - that are relevant to the physical climate on earth (and other planets). Recitations provide an opportunity to discuss relationships between spectroscopy and climate, to discuss individuals who made pertinent discoveries (including women and underrepresented minorities), and to draw connections to other theme semester courses.

Instructor: John Ferry, Professor
Material covered in this course includes the chemistry that drives the modern makeup of the atmosphere and oceans, as well as the environmental fate of anthropogenic chemicals.

Instructor: Deena Isom, Assistant Professor
This course explores inequitable climates through the lens of justice. 

Instructor: John Purfield
The composition process is indivisible from and coproductive with the material conditions of our environment and our climate. This course will investigate current climatological exigencies on local and global scales while practicing writing as a mode of ecological understanding and intervention. Students will develop their own understanding of the Anthropocene and their place within an era defined by anthropogenic damage at nearly every level of the earth's environmental spheres. Students will compose in various genres to study, understand, and ultimately intervene in a climatological issue of their choosing.

Greg Forter, Professor
This course asks what literatures from across the globe can teach us about the causes, effects, and potential solutions to global climate change. We’ll discuss a series of novels in which the disasters of such change are explored with great complexity and power. These are mostly works of speculative/science fiction, often referred to as “cli-fi.” Their liberation from conventional “realism” permits them to raise a number of urgent questions:

  • How does one tell a story about climate that can grasp the interplay between global transformations and the always intimate (local) experience of such change?
  • Which effects of global warming (drought, flood, “climate migration,” etc.) are most central to a given work, and why?
  • How are these devastations unevenly distributed across both human and non-human populations?
  • What, finally, does this literature’s emphasis on dystopian futures reveal about the task of imagining alternatives to our current order?

Possible texts: M. Hamid, Exit West; K. Walker, The Dreamers; N. Okorafor, Who Fears Death; N. Booth, Sealed; L. Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God; A. Ghosh, The Hungry Tide; L. Ma, Severance.

Instructor: Robert Dean Hardy, Assistant Professor
Coastal regions are among the most populated and developed places globally. They are imbued with the historical geographies of current and past societies and deeply affected by contemporary social, political, and cultural values. In this course, students will examine how changing social, political economic, and environmental climates have shaped (and continue shaping) uneven coastal development globally. Key topics will include climate change and climate justice.

Instructor: Mark Cooper, Professor of Film and Media Studies 
Team-taught by a geographer and film historian, this course invites investigation of the science and cinematic fiction of a wide range of disasters. Through lectures, reading, viewing of popular film examples, and group research projects students will compare the climate-describing and shaping powers of scientific and cinematic work.

Instructor: Jory Fleming, Research Associate (Climate Solutions Specialist) & Adjunct Instructor
The Digital Earth is a blend of introductory geography, geographic data, and critical thinking skills regarding numeracy, graphicacy, and digital literacy. The introduction of core geographic themes like space, place and environment infuse the course. ""Climates"" encompasses many of the diverse social, ecological, and earth science domains that are used to integrate these themes into the Carolina Core learning objectives.  

Instructor: Greg Carbone, Professor
It is an introductory meteorology/climatology class.

Instructor: Meredith DeBoom, Assistant Professor
This course analyzes the contemporary and historical geopolitical, economic, and social climates that have shaped debates over human rights (how are such rights defined? who is responsible for providing them, and where? etc.) since World War II. Special attention is given to the roles of nationalism, (post)colonialism, governments, and activists in (re)shaping human rights norms and practices across space and time. The course also considers the social, political, and economic climates that tend to facilitate the violation of human rights.

Instructor: Greg Carbone, Professor
This course examines climate variability and change in the instrumental record as well as projections for the 21st century.

Instructor: Meredith DeBoom, Assistant Professor
The theme of this semester's Political Geography graduate seminar is ""Climates of Violence."" Students will explore theories of political, social, and economic violence from across the social sciences and humanities, including structural violence, slow violence, totalitarian violence, the banality of violence, and racial capitalism. The goal of the course is to enhance students' understanding of the social, political, and economic climates that facilitate both violence itself and its justification/legitimation.

Instructor: Dave Barbeau, Associate Professor
The vast majority of the records of prehistoric climates comes from sediments and sedimentary rocks. As part of this course, we will examine the record of paleoclimate change as preserved in the stratigraphy and isotope geochemistry of sedimentary rocks. 

Instructor: Lara  Ducate, Professor of German and Applied Linguistics
This course explores the origins of Germany's culture of environmentalism, current views on climate and nature, and goals regarding renewable energies. We explore Germany's rich history and culture to better understand the roots of sustainability in Germany as well as current green practices in Germany, the US, and other countries. We also reflect on social and personal values about nature and sustainability as they manifest in communities and individual lives and engage in several field trips to experience sustainability in action within our own community.

Green Technology in Germany (GERM/ENVR 295) and Into the Wild: Conservation since 1800 (HIST 360) will be taught side-by-side to facilitate occasional collaboration between the two classes. Each course focuses on both the natural and cultural Climates that have shaped sustainable practices inside and outside the US. Taken together, they offer students a unique interdisciplinary opportunity to engage sustainability topics through humanistic perspectives.

Instructor: Thomas Lekan, Professor 
This course examines the history of nature conservation using case studies from the US, East Africa, the Galapagos, and Germany. Students use integrative essays, blogposts, and group presentations to link environmental history to site interpretation and policy.

Green Technology in Germany (GERM/ENVR 295) and Into the Wild: Conservation since 1800 (HIST 360) will be taught side-by-side to facilitate occasional collaboration between the two classes. Each course focuses on both the natural and cultural Climates that have shaped sustainable practices inside and outside the US. Taken together, they offer students a unique interdisciplinary opportunity to engage sustainability topics through humanistic perspectives.

Instructor: Pia Bertucci, Senior Instructor
The study of Italian food culture provides a lens through which we can better understand the history and culture of Italy as well as the global implications of climate change in food systems. Specifically, the issues of food insecurity, food waste, and the preservation of food cultures will be considered.||

Section: 1
Instructor: Archie Crowley, Instructor
This course explores the relationship between language, gender, and sexuality and how language use mediates the social constructions of gender and sexuality. We will explore these questions through the lens of current political and cultural climates around the understanding of gender and sexuality. Students will be encouraged to explore the complex role language plays in producing, sustaining, and perpetuating gender and sexual divisions in society, as well as the potential to challenge and transform them.

Section: 2
Instructor: Lesley Smith, Instructor 
This course explores ethical issues related to teaching global languages like English. Throughout the class, we will address how ethically informed pedagogy benefits the classroom climate, or, immediate learning environment. We will also explore how ethical teaching practices can lead to more objective language assessment and inclusive language policies within the broader climate of international education.

Instructor: Erin Meyer-Gutbrod, Assistant Professor
The class examines the biological role of organisms in the marine environment, including adaptations, food web interactions, and abiotic influences on organism growth and reproduction. Using both textbook and modern studies published in the primary literature, students learn how organisms are involved in the cycling of materials and energy through marine food webs. Throughout the course, connections are made between foundational marine biology and major environmental concerns and the ocean's role in global climate change.

Instructor: Lori Ziolkowski, Associate Professor 
Climate change is happening whether we accept it or not. Therefore, we need to understand why it is happening, what the impacts of it will be, and how we can stop it? This course will use examples of science fiction – or climate fiction - to discuss the physical basis of climate change, the impacts on society, and how we can cool a future planet. Thus, this class will use literary works from the late 19th through today to explore scenarios of extreme global warming and cooling, widespread drought, and flooding due to projected sea level rise. 

Instructor: Howie Scher, Associate Professor
Students will perform sampling trips to multiple points along the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers as they flow through the Columbia Metropolitan Area. 

Instructor: Xuefeng Peng, Assistant Professor
The earth's climate is directly affected by biogeochemical cycles in marine environments, which is the subject of this course.

Instructor: Matt Kisner, Professor
This course investigates how the city of Columbia is responding and should respond to climate change, focusing on ethical issues. The course is interdisciplinary, experiential and student led.

Instructor: Alex Ogden, Associate Professor 
This course surveys Russian literature from the late romantics (Pushkin, Lermontov), through the great novelists (Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy), to short story writers and dramatists (Gogol, Pavlova, Chekhov). The course asks students to gain familiarity with the perspectives, preoccupations, literary models, and styles of Russian writers, and they learn critical reading skills through close consideration and discussion of the readings. Assignments will focus on the many passages in which the country’s climate is mapped onto the mental, moral, and emotional life of its citizens.

Instructor: Scott Dunn
In this course, we will investigate climate and mathematics, both from a current and historical points of view, with special attention paid to climate change. Various climate models will be studied as well as the meteorologists, scientists, and mathematicians that developed them.

Instructor: Andrew Rajca, Associate Professor
This is a topics course focused on ecological cultural studies in Latin America. Exploring varied approaches in the fields of ecocriticism, ecocultural studies, and the environmental humanities, students will examine the relationships between the environment and culture through film, literature, visual arts, the social sciences, and philosophy from Latin America. 

Congratulations to our 2021 Theme Semester Course Development Awardees

Please join us in congratulating the following faculty awardees, who will receive support to develop a new course or course materials for Theme Semester 2021: Climates.  We are excited about these innovative new courses and the diverse methods and disciplinary approaches they will employ to engage students with issues of Climates:
Course Faculty Name Affiliation(s)
ITAL 330 / 398
Adaptability and Sustainability in Italian Food Systems
Pia Bertucci, Senior Instructor Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
GERM 295 / ENVR 295
Green Technology in Germany
Lara Ducate, Professor
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
HIST 360
Into the Wild: Conservation since 1800
Thomas Lekan, Professor
ENGL 439
World Literature and Global Climate Change
Greg Forter, Professor English Language and Culture
MSCI 311
The Biology of Marine Organisms
Erin Meyer-Gutbrod, Assistant Professor Earth, Ocean and Environment
RUSS 319
19th Century Russian Literature in Translation
Alex Ogden, Associate Professor Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
MSCI 599
The Science of Climate Fiction
Lori Ziolkowski, Associate Professor Earth, Ocean and Environment


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