Mar 01, 2021  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENV 495-01 - Senior Seminar on Tropical America

4 credits (Spring)
The course explores the geography, natural history, human ecology, colonial environmental history and contemporary environmental issues of tropical America (Central America, South America and the West Indies). We’ll begin with Amazônia (the most complex biome ever to have existed in the 3.5 billion year history of life on Earth): various theories regarding the evolution, maintenance and patterns of Amazonian biodiversity; the biological exploration of the Amazon River Valley; environmentally benign development (such as extractive reserves and the search for medicinal plants) vs. malignant development (the TransAmazônica, cattle ranching and gold extraction). Other regions to be discussed are: the Andean Cordillera, the coastal deserts, savanna (pampas/llanos) and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. We will examine the relationship between El Niño and famine in northeastern Brazil vs. floods and erosion in northwestern South America; demography over the past 1,500 years (including the effects of the European contact); the condition of indigenous tribes; women’s rights and reproductive self-determination (with emphasis in Catholic countries). Readings are from contemporary literature. Two lectures per week.

Prerequisite: Senior status or permission of instructor.
Instructor: Campbell