Apr 14, 2024  
2013-2014 Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENV 495-01 - Senior Seminar:Africa

4 credits (Spring)
All humans are Africans. More than any other continent, our natal continent faces a troubling and uncertain future in the 21st Century. For example, it is the only continent where per capita food production has dropped in recent decades; it is ravaged by parasitic disease (500,000 children die every year from malaria alone in subSaharan Africa); by viral disease (the populations of some districts in southern Africa are declining because of HIV); by the lingering ravages of colonialism and slavery; by debilitating wars over scarce resources; by international debt; and by droughts, famines and floods that are more extreme than in any other place on Earth. On the other hand, Africa is place of resplendent cultural diversity, a proud (and underappreciated) pre-colonial history, and transcendent natural beauty. The seminar will discuss the geography, natural history and historical ecology of Africa and Madagascar. Topics include the biogeography of Guineo-Congolean tropical forest and East African montane forest islands; fish speciation in the Rift Valley Lakes; desertification and famine; the challenges of survival and development in forest, savanna and desert; savanna ecology, including the inverse relationship between fire and tsetse flies: cattle vs. game ranching; demographics, including the effects of slavery and disease on current population sizes; women’s rights and reproductive self-determination; patterns and evolution of epidemic and chronic disease (including zo”noses such as nagama, sleeping sickness, and rinderpest), among many others.

Prerequisite: Senior status, regardless of major, and permission of the instructor.
Instructor: Campbell