Across disciplines, Barnard's coursework incorporates the natural world and climate change into its teaching and research. These courses allow students to explore and grapple with our human interactions with the natural world from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the hard sciences to the fine arts. Browse our full list of spring 2021 courses related to environment and sustainability. Here are a few highlights:
Climate History: Intersecting Science, Environment, and Society, taught by Angelo Caglioti in the History department.This class surveys the role of climate as an historical actor of global history, rather than as the backdrop of political, social, and economic events. (offered Spring 2021)
Urban Ecosystems, taught by Elizabeth Cook in the Environmental Science department will cover scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand complex systems and the natural and social-ecological relationships at work in cities. You will learn the basics of ecological process and patterns of ecosystems especially applied in cities, understand how humans interact with and impact ecological processes and patterns in cities, and explore approaches for dealing with current and future urban challenges. (offered Spring 2021)
- Climate Change / Global Migration / Human Rights, taught by JC Salyer in the Anthropology department, considers the phenomena of anthropogenic climate change as it relates to migration. (offered Spring 2021)
In 2017, the Environmental Science department created a new major, Environment and Sustainability, to engage with the interdisciplinary work of maintaining a sustainable environment. Two non-science departments offer an environmental concentration: an Urban Studies specialization in Environment & Sustainability and a minor in Environmental History.
In the spring of 2020, the Center for Engaged Pedagogy hosted a workshop series on the development of new coursework and support for existing coursework centered on the environment, sustainability, and/or climate change. These workshops were attended by 13 faculty members across 10 academic departments, including Biology, History, English, and Environmental Science. In order to support student engagement with this kind of coursework across the curriculum.
New for Fall 2020
This fall, the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS) will offer a new interdisciplinary minor and concentration in the Environmental Humanities (EHMC). Participating students will gain a critical interdisciplinary perspective on our most pressing environmental questions. EHMC will bring together students in both the humanities and STEM to collectively focus on the ways in which issues surrounding environmentalism, global warming, land- and water-rights activism, and non-human rights intersect with race, ethnicity, gender, and class. EHMC is open to all Barnard students. Please email Professor Severin Fowles with questions.
Also starting this fall, Barnard’s Anthropology Department is now offering a specialized major track in Political Ecology. This track follows a similar format to the existing one in Medical Anthropology, designed to enable students who wish to pursue specialized studies in their coursework and senior theses projects in fields relevant to environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability. The major track is grounded in strong theoretical and methodological training in sociocultural anthropology.
Barnard's faculty research crosses similar disciplinary boundaries, engaging with scientific and cultural concepts of nature and the environment within a wide range of fields. Here are some highlights:
- Professor of Environmental Science, Martin Stute, focuses his research on water resources, carbon sequestration, and the social and economic impacts of climate change. He is currently involved in a project determining the greenhouse gas footprint of NYC.
- Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture, Kadambari Baxi, uses architectural visualizations to examine toxic emission flows and climate justice. She is displaying these multimedia projects in a variety of exhibitions.
- Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures, Orlando Bentancor, teaches on the emergence of capitalism in sixteenth century Latin America, specifically looking at the relationship between the commodification of nature and the transformation of indigenous peoples into workers. His book, The Matter of Empire, examines conceptions of metal resources in early colonial mining.
- Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Jonathan Snow, researches the cellular stress responses of honeybees, a species crucial to our agricultural systems.
- Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Theatre, Sandra Goldmark, teaches design, and focuses her research on circular economy solutions to overconsumption and waste. She is the founder of the social enterprise, Fixup, which employs local technicians to repair household items, re-envisioning repair as a part of a sustainable circular economy. She also serves as Barnard's first Director of Sustainability and Climate Action.
Through the Provosts Office, faculty have access to external funding opportunities to support and develop their research. Learn more about the research being done at Barnard, as well as opportunities for student research.
Alumnae, Careers, and Internship Opportunities
Barnard's engagement with climate action does not end at the borders of our campus. Barnard alumnae move on to internships and careers in these fields. Our career development office, Beyond Barnard, helps direct students towards opportunities, build their resumes, and prepare for interviews. Here are a couple of alumnae who have found success in this field:
- Annie Leonard, Barnard '86, is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and creator of the book/animated film, The Story of Stuff.
- Rhea Suh, Barnard '92, is the former president of the National Resources Defense Council.
- Sue Chiang, Barnard '93, works as Pollution Prevention Director at the Center for Environmental Health, where she leads work on market incentives for companies to manufacture products safe for public health.