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<York Calendars<Undergraduate Calendar 2001-2002<Faculty of Environmental Studies

Theme Areas

The BES program offers four theme areas that reflect the Faculty's broad understanding of environmental studies. Students in the program use these theme areas to help them begin to define their own theme concentration within the Program Plan. In their second year, each student will take at least two "foundation courses" based on the theme areas, in order to focus on their areas of interest.

Nature, Technology and Society

This theme area encourages students to think critically and creatively about contemporary issues between human beings, "natures" and social techniques and technologies. Students examine cultural assumptions about nature and the ways in which technologies and economic forces mediate relationships between humans, other species and ecosystems. The curriculum stresses the complex interdependence of all life. Recognizing this we focus on theories and actions that build socially just and environmentally conscious communities. Topics include:

  • biological conservation and biodiversity;
  • environmental thought and ethics;
  • applied environmental sciences;
  • environmental writing;
  • biotechnology and society;
  • natural and environmental history;
  • media, popular culture and nature;
  • environmental education;
  • ecological restoration, bioregionalism.

Environmental Policy and Action

This theme area explores how environmental and related social policy are developed and carried out, and how they may be influenced by social movements and advocacy groups as well as by established interests. Topics include:

  • environmental planning and impact studies;
  • environmental policy and law;
  • environmental politics and organizations;
  • social movements and advocacy;
  • gender and socio-political change;
  • communications and attitude change.

Global Development, Peace and Justice

This theme area focuses on global issues through an analysis of such areas as global-socio-economic development, environmental sustainability, peace and social justice. Topics include:

  • globalization;
  • international development;
  • sustainable development;
  • gender and development;
  • human rights and refugee studies;
  • social/environmental movements;
  • global environmental politics;
  • international political economy/ecology;
  • development alternatives.

Human Settlements

Students in this theme area study the evolution of human settlements in Canada and around the globe. Central to this theme area is an understanding of the relationships of humans to natural environments. Students can study the sustainability of human habitats, urban landscapes and other settlements, as well as the diverse paths of urbanization. Lectures focus on governance, regulation and power in urban areas, and present urban environmentalism and urban ecology as distinct political practices of human settlements at the onset of the 21st century. Topics include:

  • migration and settlement;
  • urbanization and the urban process;
  • environmental design/landscape design;
  • urban sustainability;
  • urban governance and regulation;
  • global cities and global urbanization;
  • urban social and environmental movements;
  • urban and regional planning;
  • healthy and sustainable community development;
  • urban social relations (class, race, gender);
  • native/Canadian relations.

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