2013 - Swarthmore College
Weds. 1.15-4.00 PM


ENVS 091

Environmental Studies Capstone: The Extractive
Industries, Planetary Peril, and the Promise of the Liberal Arts


Professor Mark Wallace

Office: 216 Pearson Hall

Office ph.
Office hrs: Tues./Thurs. 2.30-3.30 PM






This course will be a student-centered, workshop-style study
of the threat the fossil fuels industry poses to planetary well being – and the
range of reactions to this threat inside and outside the academy. Questions will be asked about the history
and role of the extractive industries in climate change; the moral leadership
institutions of higher learning must demonstrate in addressing this change;
the importance of bioregional study of impacted places for developing
adequate responses to this change; and the power of land-based spiritualities
(with special reference to Amerindian worldviews) for engendering a living
passion for the health and welfare of human societies and the wider natural


The course objective is to understand the relationship
between the extractive industries and global warming; and as a response, to interrogate
sustainable models for robust stewardship of bioregional communities through
problems-based, case-study analysis and scholarship.


1 -- Weekly one page papers: class members write analyses of and
statements about readings each week

2 -- Student class leadership: class members lead initial discussion
of readings during a particular class period

3 -- End-of-term project: class members’ projects that combine public
dissemination of projects and individual research and writing for the projects. In sum

· Class presentations of projects in class

· Wordpress summaries of projects for public dissemination

· Public poster sessions about projects

· Individual research papers


Required Texts

Alley: Earth: The
Operators’ Manual

Coll: Private Empire:
ExxonMobil and American Power

Wilber: Under the Surface:
Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale

Silko: Ceremony

Black Elk/Neihardt: Black Elk Speaks

Note: Extra weekly
readings will be periodically added by student discussion leaders





1 – Jan. 23  Introduction and Organization


2 – Jan. 30 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 1-2

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 1-3

 Abram, Spell of the Sensuous, pps 1-29


3 – Feb. 6  Black Elk Speaks, chaps 3-5

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 4-7

 Krech III, Ecological Indian, pps 1-40


4 – Feb. 13 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 7-10

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 8, 11

 Private Empire, chap 1

 Peterson, “Talking the Walk,” in Ecospirit,
ed. Kearns and Keller, pps 45-62


5 – Feb. 20 Black Elk Speaks, chap 11

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 12, 14

 Private Empire, chap 2-3


6 – Feb. 27 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 12-13

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 15-16

 Private Empire, chap 4


7 – March 6 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 17-19

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 17-18

 Private Empire, chap 5


Spring Break


8 – March 20 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 20-21

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 19-20

 Private Empire, chaps 6-7


9 – March 27 Black Elk Speaks, chaps 24-26

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 21-22

 Under the Surface, chaps 1-2


10 – April 3 Ceremony, pps xi-57

 Earth: Operators’ Manual, chaps 23-24

 Private Empire, chaps 8-9

 Under the Surface, chap 3


11 – April 10 Ceremony, pps 58-120

 Private Empire, chaps 13, 15, 18

 Under the Surface, chap 4


12 – April 17 Ceremony, pps 121-186

 Private Empire, chap 20

 Under the Surface, chaps 5-6


13 – April 24 Ceremony, pps 187-243

 Private Empire, chaps 27-28

 Under the Surface, chap 7


14 – May 1 Conclusion, Presentations, Planning