IAH_206revised3 - IAH 206: Self, Society, Technology...

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IAH 206: Self, Society, Technology Extinctions, Choices, and Consequences SYLLABUS Professor: Dr. Joel Geffen Office: Morrill Hall, 117E Office Hours: 9-10 T/R or by email/appointment Phone: (517) 432-3453 Email: geffen@msu.edu Class: T/R 3-4:20pm, Wells Hall, B102 Teaching Assistant: Michael Leeds, leedsmic@msu.edu Teaching Assistant: Sophie Vick, vicksoph@msu.edu Course Description Species around the world are becoming extinct at a high rate. Not since the Age of Dinosaurs ended has anything like this occurred. We will talk about this contemporary extinction. Our focus, as the course title suggests, is not limited to those species. We will also seriously consider what this current, mass extinction might mean for humans. As a humanities course, IAH 206 emphasizes questions of meaning. It highlights the ways that people interpret situations (give them meaning), express those interpretations, and even act upon those interpretations. Humans have developed and applied technological solutions to environmental challenges for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. Some of these solutions worked extremely well. Others were disastrous. Most probably fell in the gray zone between these two, being more or less successful, and being more or less damaging to species and habitats. In this course we will examine current interactions between ecological crisis, technology, and choice. I am referring here to the choices made by societies, organizations, and individuals concerning how to deal (or not to deal) with actual and impending environmental crisis. Choices have consequences. This is unavoidable. In this course we consider potential psychological impacts affecting people as a result of species loss, habitat degradation and destruction, and, increasing alienation from direct interaction with those things we loosely group together and call "nature." **Note : As originally designed a year ago, this course was to be linked to ISS 310 and entitled "A Just and Sustainable World." Due to subsequent changes in response to initial student interest in the course, the class was developed independently from ISS 310. Today, then, the two are not linked . Once it was unlinked, the title was changed. However, in places the course content remains what it was a year ago. Issues of sustainability are primary. Justice, particularly as it applies to Native American communities, is also a major topic of discussion. Goals of Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities at MSU seeks to assist students to become more familiar with ways of knowing in the arts and humanities and to be more IAH 206/Geffen/ 1
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knowledgeable and capable in a range of intellectual and expressive abilities. IAH courses encourage students to engage critically with their own society, history, and culture(s); they also encourage students to learn more about the history and culture of other societies. They focus on key ideas and issues in human experience; encourage
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course IAH 206 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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IAH_206revised3 - IAH 206: Self, Society, Technology...

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