Peter F. Cannavò is the author of The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place.
Working closely with distinguished professors in biology, geosciences, government, economics, English and other disciplines, you will investigate environmental issues and attitudes with rigor and imagination — and emerge ready to make a difference. Research will be an essential part of your work, and you will find a broad range of research opportunities.
About the Major
Students in environmental studies develop a variety of tools and perspectives by doing coursework in several disciplines. After completing a series of foundation courses, majors select a more specific track to follow: humanities, social sciences or natural sciences.
As an academic field, environmental studies is only a few decades old, but the concept is ancient. We interact continuously with our surroundings, and we benefit deeply from understanding that interaction. But while the environment has always shaped human life and culture, we also shape the environment — and never more so than today, in an era of rapid technological change and population growth.
I loved that Hamilton's Environmental Studies Program was so interdisciplinary, meaning that it allowed me to take a lot of environmental humanities courses in the history or philosophy departments, for instance. Moreover, without the program's flexibility, I wouldn't have been able to choose art as my environmental studies focus and create a documentary for my senior project.
Eunice Lee ’16 — environmental studies and French major
Careers After Hamilton
- Corps Member, Teach for America
- Chair, Department of Rheumatology, Cleveland Clinic
- Trip Leader, Naturalists At Large
- Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
- Policy Coordinator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Clinical Research Coordinator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Program Assistant, Natural Resources Defense Council
Climate Change 212
This course investigates the scientific, social, economic and political dimensions of anthropogenic climate change, including our scientific understanding of its causes, its local and planetary human and ecological impacts, and the potential for technological, social and policy solutions. Throughout the course, we critically examine the roles of public policy and international negotiations in developing equitable mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat the totalizing problem of our times.View All Courses
Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park 220
Study of America's largest inhabited wilderness. Survey of natural and cultural histories of the park and examination of ecological, political and social issues. Study of literary, scientific, historical and political texts. Exploration of environmental issues such as acid rain, development and land-use, predator re-introduction and population controls.View All Courses
Thought for Food: The Culture and Politics of Food 236
A multi-disciplinary approach to study of the food system. Examination of the origins of culinary traditions, contemporary politics of the food movement, the GMO debate, food sovereignty, hunger and food security, and Slow Food. Laboratory sessions include activities in the Community Farm, tastings, and cooking instruction with the college.View All Courses
Introduction to Environmental Politics 285
An overview of environmental politics, domestic and global. Topics include the environmental movement and its history and values, anti-environmentalism, environmental policy analysis, the relation between environmental science and politics, the domestic and international environmental policy processes, the North-South debate, globalization, race and environmental justice, and the implications of environmental politics for liberal democracy.View All Courses
Seminar on Climate Risk and Resilience 305F
An exploration of our scientific understanding of the risks of climate change. Focused on the primary scientific literature, this course covers risk and vulnerability assessments, climate modeling and scenario development, remote sensing and observational data interpretation, critical thinking about scientific articles, and use of scientific evidence to understand the risks of extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other manifestations of anthropogenic climate change. Discussions will emphasize how climate science informs how we can make society more resilient to climate risks. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning. Proseminar.View All Courses
The History of American Exploration and Outdoor Adventure 354
This research course examines how the history and culture of the United States is bound up with that of the discovery and exploration of the New World. A focus on the meaning of that legacy for Americans from the 19th century on. Topics covered will include military exploration and surveys of the west, the development of a wilderness and a conservation ethic, and the growth of mountaineering and similar outdoor endeavors. (same as Environmental Studies 354.)View All Courses
Difference-Makers in Sustainability