IAH 206: Self, Society, Technology
Extinctions, Choices, and Consequences
Dr. Joel Geffen
Morrill Hall, 117E
or by email/appointment
T/R 3-4:20pm, Wells Hall, B102
Species around the world are becoming extinct at a high rate.
Not since the
ended has anything like this occurred.
We will talk about this
Our focus, as the course title suggests, is not limited to those
We will also seriously consider what this current, mass extinction might mean
As a humanities course, IAH 206 emphasizes questions of meaning.
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.
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."
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
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.
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