- History of Bard
- Learning at Bard
- Academic Calendar
- Division of the Arts
- Division of Languages and Literature
- Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing
- Division of Social Studies
- Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations
- The Bard College Conservatory of Music
- Bard Abroad
- Additional Study Opportunities and Affiliated Institutes
- Civic Engagement
- Campus Life and Facilities
- Graduate Programs
- Educational Outreach
- Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
- The Bard Center
- Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes
- Honorary Degrees and Bard College Awards
- Boards and Administration of Bard College
- Bard Campus Map and Travel Directions
- Bard College Contact Information
Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
Environmental and Urban Studies
M. Elias Dueker (director), Myra Young Armstead, Alex Benson*, Daniel Berthold, Katherine M. Boivin, Jon Bowermaster, Kenneth Buhler, Adriane Colburn, Cathy D. Collins, Robert J. Culp, Matthew Deady, Sanjaya DeSilva, Michèle D. Dominy, Ellen Driscoll, Gidon Eshel, Kris Feder, Felicia Keesing*, Arseny Khakalin, Peter Klein, Cecile E. Kuznitz*, Peter L’Official, Susan Merriam*, Gabriel Perron, Jennifer Phillips (BCEP), Bruce Robertson, Susan Fox Rogers, Julia Rosenbaum, Lisa Sanditz, Monique Segarra (BCEP), Gautam Sethi (BCEP), Robyn L. Smyth, Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins, Yuka Suzuki, Olga Touloumi, Susan Winchell-Sweeney (BCEP)
Archaeologist in Residence: Christopher R. Lindner
* Member of steering committee
Environmental and Urban Studies (EUS) is an interdisciplinary program that examines the interdependence of human societies and the physical environment. The program strives to ensure that students have a substantial background in the physical and social sciences, humanities, economics, and policy, while enhancing their understanding of the relationship between built and natural environments.
The program calls for students to engage both intellectually and empirically with urban and environmental issues. EUS students gain theoretical and scientific grounding in the field as well as valuable experience through practicums and internships. Students complete a series of core courses, as well as courses that engage interdisciplinary methods; pursue an internship in the area of their interest; and complete the practicum. To balance transdisciplinary breadth with depth in a particular discipline, students also select intermediate and advanced courses in their chosen focus area. Expertise developed through problem-driven focus area studies prepares the student for the Senior Project.
The scope of EUS is regional, national, and global. EUS takes advantage of its immediate surroundings, using the campus and the region as a laboratory for natural and social science research and interpretation through language and the arts. The Hudson River estuary, with its wetlands and watershed, is framed by the Catskill Mountains to the west; its valley communities offer a variety of historical and natural resources. On campus, the Bard Water Lab, Bard Archaeology, the Bard College Farm, Bard Arboretum, and the unique landscape, architecture, and history of Montgomery Place offer academic and cocurricular activities. The Bard College Field Station is home to Hudsonia, an independent environmental institute; and the Saw Kill Watershed Community brings campus and community members together for science, stewardship, and education. Other place-based partners include the American Eel Research Project in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Students can also explore international affiliations and institutions through a rich variety of internship and study abroad programs, and take courses with leading practitioners at the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City.
EUS majors with a strong foundation in science, policy, and/or economics may apply to the 4+1 program with the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, earning in five years a BA and a master of science in environmental policy or in climate science and policy or an MEd in environmental education.
The following focus areas suggest the breadth of possibilities for advanced study within EUS: Environmental Science; Global Perspectives on Environment, Society, and Culture; Urban and Regional Studies; Environmental Humanities and the Arts; Agriculture and Food Systems; and Economics, Policy, and Development.
RequirementsBy the sophomore year, an EUS major should have an academic adviser who is an EUS core faculty member. To moderate into the program, a student must have successfully completed the core courses EUS 101 (Introduction to Environmental and Urban Studies) and 102 (Introduction to Environmental and Urban Science), as well as one 200-level EUS course in one of the following areas: economics, social/historical analysis (other than economics), and laboratory science (environmental science, biology, chemistry/biochemistry, or physics). In addition, the student needs to prepare in advance and provide the Moderation board with three documents:
• A reflective paper reviewing the first two years of academic study.
• A reflective paper that sets out a plan for successful completion of the degree requirements, while also defining the student’s focus area. The focus area plan should clearly articulate a particular research agenda with suitable advanced courses in preparation for the Senior Project.
• An assigned essay set by the EUS faculty that addresses a contemporary issue from the perspective of EUS-related coursework and a set of assigned articles.
Graduation requirements include one 200-level EUS course in economics; one 200-level EUS course in social/historical analysis (other than economics); one 200-level EUS course in laboratory science; EUS 305, EUS Practicum, which includes fieldwork (some study abroad programs may satisfy the practicum requirement); one EUS internship or service project (0 credits); 14 additional credits in a well-defined focus area, with at least two courses at the 300 level and an additional methods course relevant to the focus area (e.g., GIS, biostatistics, econometrics, qualitative or quantitative methods); and the Senior Project. See the EUS website for additional details on program requirements.
Recent Senior Projects in Environmental and Urban Studies
- “Drowning in Plenty: Bulk, Waste, and Countercultural Revival in the Anthropocene”
- “49 Years after the Harvest: Population Recovery of the Tivoli Bays Snapping Turtles”
- “Shanghai-Made: The Tradeoff between Global Transformation and Social Equity in a Chinese City”
EUS offers a wide variety of courses in each focus area every semester. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, EUS courses are offered in the program and as cross-listed courses in other programs across the four divisions of the College. EUS students can also take graduate-level courses at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. A full list of the offerings can be found on the EUS website.
Introduction to Environmental and Urban Studies
Environmental Studies 101
While disentangling and analyzing the terms used to describe aspects of the environment—nature/culture, human/nonhuman, wilderness, urbanism, countryside, and the city—this interdisciplinary course considers issues such as environmental justice, biodiversity preservation, protected natural areas, infrastructure, agricultural and food sustainability, ecotourism, climate change, and development. The course is organized around four ways that humans relate to their environments: observing, organizing and classifying, collecting and distributing, and conserving.
Introduction to Environmental and Urban Science
Environmental Studies 102
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
The course provides a systems-oriented approach to biological, chemical, physical, and geological processes that affect earth, air, water, and life. Students gain a solid understanding of the fundamental scientific principles governing environmental systems, including the cycling of matter and the flow of energy, and develop their ability to predict potential outcomes of complex environmental issues.
Geographic Information Systems
Environmental Studies 203
In this project-based course, students explore the various spatial analysis methods used by scientists, planners, and public policy makers to improve the understanding and management of our world. They learn the fundamentals of modeling, data analysis, and mapping using geospatial technologies, and then apply these skills to a team-based research project of their own design.
Planetary Consequences of Food Production
Environmental Studies 205
Can one produce local organic food with relative environmental impunity? Life-cycle analyses repeatedly show that, on a national average, transportation is relatively unimportant in food production’s overall environmental footprint. While this appears to cast doubts on the “local food” notion, the picture may change dramatically with organic food production because of the absence of environmentally adverse agrochemicals. The course makes use of an innovative campus greenhouse.
Food Systems: Human Health and Environmental Health
Environmental Studies 215
An examination of the association between human health and environmental health, with a focus on the links between the “diseases of civilization” and industrial agriculture. The class reviews what nutrition science has discovered about the role of diet in human health and disease; how agriculture has impacted human health and environmental quality; appropriate technologies for reforming our food systems toward less destructive and more sustainable methods of production; and the political and policy obstacles that stand in the way of reform.
Environmental Studies 218, 318
A look at the fundamentals of land-atmosphere interactions, with a focus on agricultural and built environment perturbations. The course is offered at the 200 or 300 level, with a more intense lab at the 300 level.
The Dust Bowl: Lessons on How Not to Prepare for and Respond to Natural Perturbations
Environmental Studies 220
CROSS-LISTED: HISTORICAL STUDIES
The Dust Bowl—the prolonged, sustained, and widespread drought that ravaged the southern Great Plains throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, and the blowing sand and soil that accompanied it—is arguably the single most devastating environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. It is also a nearly perfect example of how a natural, entirely expected phenomenon can be turned into an unmitigated regional catastrophe by ill-conceived human action. Students review the physical elements of the Dust Bowl and place them in historic/economic context.
Environmental Studies 221
This course explores the earth’s hydrosphere and its interactions with the biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. Topics include origins of the hydrosphere, origins of life, the global hydrologic cycle, anthropogenic influences on that cycle, and pressing environmental issues such as climate change, protection of drinking water resources, ecosystem degradation, and wastewater treatment.
Environmental Studies 222
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
Topics covered in this course include origins of the atmosphere, origins of life, anthropogenic influences on the atmosphere, and connections and exchanges with the hydrologic cycle. Pressing global environmental issues associated with the atmosphere are also discussed, including climate change, air pollution, acid rain, and depletion of the ozone layer. Prerequisite: EUS 102, Biology 202, or permission of the instructor.
Air Quality Research
Environmental Studies 223
Harmful algal blooms in the ocean, freshwater lakes, streams, and rivers are increasing across the United States, threatening drinking water supplies, aquatic ecology, and human health. While we know that these blooms can be toxic to animals and humans if ingested or through skin contact, we know very little about exposure to these toxins through the air. Using cutting-edge equipment, students conduct research focused on characterizing and quantifying connections between water quality and air quality regionally. Prerequisite: EUS 102 or another 100-level lab course.
Environmental Studies 226
This course exposes students to a variety of modeling techniques used in environmental decision making. For example, how rapidly should the switch to renewable energy generation be made? Other policy issues discussed include developing simple predator-prey models to predict changes in populations of keystone species and modeling the sustainability of fisheries under various regulations of regional U.S. fisheries councils. Students are expected to have some basic knowledge of regression analysis and be proficient in calculus. Prerequisite: Mathematics 141.
Environmental Studies 228
CROSS-LISTED: POLITICAL STUDIES
Environmental politics intersects with debates over economic development, the value of conservation, and concerns regarding the impact of industrial and agricultural practices on human health and the environment. This course introduces the political forces that influence environmental policy formation and outcomes, and covers such topics as risk, sustainability, regulation, conservation, and environmental justice, within the United States and through comparative analysis of countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and China.
Environmental Studies 305
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
The Environmental and Urban Studies Practicum connects theory with practice through a combination of theoretical and site-specific learning. The course extends beyond the classroom to local communities and ecosystems, and challenges students to complete field-based projects. The practicum provides students in an interdisciplinary major such as EUS with a range of academic and professional possibilities by illustrating potential internships, Senior Project questions, or careers. The EUS Practicum addresses a new topic each semester, recently including rethinking the Bard campus, climate change, urban ecology, food systems, urban planning, and green architecture.
Culture through Nature: Landscape, Environment, and Design into the 21st Century
Environmental Studies 308
With a focus on Montgomery Place, this interdisciplinary course addresses the way we make sense of sites—questioning conventional conceptions, methods, and processes that can distance the actor from the landscape—and considers ways of organizing the landscape that disregard artificial boundaries between art, ecology, and design.
Climate and Agroecology
Environmental Studies 311
This graduate-level course, offered to a limited number of undergraduates, examines the linkages between agroecosystems and the climate system, beginning with projections for climate change impacts on crop production. The class looks at expectations for the influence of elevated CO2 on yield; the role that agriculture can play in climate change mitigation, given the large greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming systems; soil carbon management; and various strategies regarding climate change adaptation, including the role of genetically modified crops, biodiversity, and system resilience.
Environment and Climate Policy
Environmental Studies 315
This course focuses on the legal, political, cultural, and ethical dimensions of the climate policy–making process. Students evaluate climate change responses, including incentive-based regulatory approaches (e.g., carbon taxes and cap-and-trade and cap-and-dividend systems with offsets); command-and-control approaches; direct promotion of clean technology through regulation and subsidy; and voluntary agreements. They also examine critical issues of monitoring and enforcement as well as the relationships among local, state, federal, and international policy. This is a graduate course offered to a limited number of undergraduates.
Environmental Studies 316
The class takes a close look at the long-term implications of our standard approaches to handling human waste as well as innovations in waste treatment. Students learn the science behind current waste treatment technology (water, air, land-based) and are exposed to new alternative approaches (water reclamation, living machines). Field-based labs introduce the bacteria and biogeochemical processes we rely on for most current and cutting-edge waste-treatment approaches. Prerequisites: EUS 221 and Biology 202, or permission of the instructor.
Reimagined Farms in Reimagined Spaces
Environmental Studies 317
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
This course examines the role farms and gardens play within institutions, and the interplay of race, gender, class and power within these spaces. Working closely with a local farmer and through lectures and site visits, students consider issues surrounding land use, equity, and social capital. As a final project, they develop a mission statement and reimagined direction for Bard’s agricultural initiatives. Prerequisite: Moderation or permission of the professor.
Hudson Valley Cities and Environmental (In)Justice
Environmental Studies 319 / Sociology 319
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
How do urban processes of growth, decline, and revitalization affect different groups, particularly along dimensions of race, class, and gender? This research seminar examines the historical, political, and social landscape of Hudson and Kingston, using these nearby communities as case studies to explore theories on urban transformation as well as the contemporary challenges that face small urban centers.
The Politics of Solutions
Environmental Studies 322
Despite the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, innovative solutions to mitigating and adapting to climate change are emerging at a rapid pace, from both the private and public sectors. The course examines a range of climate solutions—e.g., renewable energy technologies, urban planning, changing individual and social behaviors— whose viability is shaped by ideas, interests, and institutions that facilitate or impede their moving onto policy agendas or to large-scale adoption. Cases are drawn from the United States, China, South Korea, and Latin America.
Environmental Policy I, II
Environmental Studies 405, 407
This graduate-level course analyzes the complex legal, political, cultural, and ethical factors that influence policy making. Students examine state and social responses to new and ongoing environmental problems, taking into account the nature of state-federal relationships in developing and applying environmental law; the evolving role of technology; tensions between private and public interests; and equity considerations. In addition to U.S. environmental policy, the course explores international environmental regime development. Prerequisite: Upper College status.
Environmental Law for Policy
Environmental Studies 409
An introduction to the core concepts of environmental law in the context of interdisciplinary policy making. Students examine responses and solutions to environmental problems that rely on legal and regulatory instruments, judicial decisions, and voluntary agreements, while exploring the interaction between environmental law and policy. They also consider the nature of international, federal, state, and local relationships in developing and applying the law; the role of technology and science; and tensions between private and public interests.
Climate Change and Water Resources
Environmental Studies 410
Climate change is altering the global hydrologic cycle and impacting aquatic ecosystems and water resources available for human use. This course draws upon the physical science of hydrology, the biological science of ecosystem ecology, and the social science of water resource management to build interdisciplinary understanding of complex climate-ecological-social systems related to water.
Environmental Studies 413
While the practice of releasing raw sewage into public waterways has been occurring on a global scale for centuries, environmental scientists, environmental engineers, and municipal decision makers are still struggling to end the practice. Using the Hudson River as a case study, the class takes a deep dive into the science of sewage and its relation to human health. Prerequisite: a 200-level lab sciences course.
The colloquium is an invited speaker series that meets once weekly and addresses key contemporary questions of environmental and urban studies. Speakers address such questions from multiple disciplinary perspectives. EUS majors must enroll in EUS COL at least once and may enroll twice for credit. Space permitting, all members of the community are welcome to attend lectures.