Catalog: Fall 2007 - Spring 2008

2007-08 Catalog: E

A-Z Index    ||    Browse catalog by letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Ecological Agriculture

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Steve Scheuerell (organic agriculture), Mike Paros (veterinary medicine).

Major areas of study include agro ecology, soil science, crop and livestock management, animal science, history of agriculture, sustainable agriculture and agricultural policy. Upper-division credit will be awarded for upper-division work.

Class Standing: Sophomores and above; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: For WINTER quarter admission, students must have completed 1 quarter each of botany, biology and chemistry.

Faculty Signature: Students who wish to enter this program spring quarter should meet with the instructor at the Academic Fair, March 5, 2008, to discuss their qualifications for entry and to obtain a signature. For more information, contact Steve Scheuerell or Mike Paros. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

This program provides a broad, interdisciplinary study of agriculture from a critical perspective of social and ecological sustainability. Field trips to small and large-scale crop and livestock farms will provide the necessary context for practical and theoretical learning. A major aspect of the program will be to address current controversial agricultural topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. Example topics are biofuels, food safety and the integration of livestock and vegetable production, CAFOs, farm subsidies, genetically modified organisms, environmental effects of agrochemicals, and human health concerns. Students will also partner with local farms to assess the ecological sustainability of different farming systems in relation to energy efficiency, nutrient cycling, soil health, and biodiversity protection.

We will emphasize hands-on activities-field trips, labs and field experiments-as well as systems thinking, expository and scientific report writing, library research and quantitative reasoning skills. Weekly book seminars and potlucks will focus on the social, economic, historical and political aspects of farming and food systems. Labs and workshops will provide a hands-on introduction to microscopy, soil science, soil biology, crop and livestock biology, and quantitative interpretation of soil and fertilizer test reports. Field experiments will focus on topics such as biodiversity and cropping systems for winter production.

Each academic quarter we will build foundational knowledge of agricultural systems. In fall quarter, we will examine traditional and current farming practices, the rise of certified organic production and eco-labels, and ecological principles applied to agro-ecosystems. We will start winter quarter by attending the Ecofarm conference in California and visiting large-scale industrial and organic farms that produce winter crops. We will examine soil health and soil science in-depth. We will also consider how crop and livestock management and farm policy influence farming systems, as well as consider alternatives and possible futures of agriculture. In spring quarter, students will apply their accumulated knowledge by completing their year-long assessment of local farms and perform applied or theoretical research on agricultural and food system problems.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Enrollment: 50

Internship Possibilities: Spring quarter with faculty approval.

Special Expenses: $75 each quarter for field trips; $400 in winter for EcoFarm conference.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in sustainable agriculture, environmental studies and community studies.

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2009–10.

Program Updates
This program is now accepting sophomores and above, as well as transfer students, with the appropriate prerequisites. Mike Paros has joined the teaching team for this program. The narrative has changed to reflect Mike's expertise.
05.08.2007: The list of major areas of study is updated to include animal science.
11.06.2007: Prerequisites and signature requirements for entry into the program winter quarter were added.
02.19.2008: The faculty signature requirements have been changed to assist students who wish to enter the program spring quarter.

Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms

Spring quarter

Faculty: Gerardo Chin-Leo (biological oceanography)

Major areas of study include marine ecology, marine phycology and oceanography. Upper-division credit will be awarded for upper-division work.

Class Standing: Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology and one quarter of general chemistry.

Micro algae account for most of the plant biomass and production in aquatic systems. Recently, coastal waters worldwide have experienced an apparent increase in the occurrence of large concentrations (blooms) of harmful algal species. Blooms of toxic algal species (e. g. red tides) can cause direct mortality of fish and shellfish. Other organisms, including humans, can be indirectly affected through the consumption of contaminated seafood. Large blooms of non-toxic species can also have negative impacts on aquatic habitats by shading benthic plants and by interfering with the activities of other organisms. Furthermore, if these algal blooms are not grazed or diluted, their decomposition can deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water, causing the mortality of plants and animals. This program will examine these interactions.

We will study the taxonomy and ecology of harmful algal species, the environmental factors controlling the abundance and productivity of aquatic algae and the possible role of human activities in causing the increase of harmful algal blooms. In addition, we will examine the efforts of scientists and government agencies to monitor harmful algal blooms and to control their impact on fisheries and public health. The material will be presented through lectures, seminar discussion of books and scientific articles and student research projects. There will be labs to learn methods in phycology, microscopy and seawater analysis as well as field trips to local estuaries.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 25

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in marine sciences, environmental studies, biology and ecology.

This program is also listed under Environmental Studies.


The End of Prosperity


Winter quarter

Faculty: Alan Nasser (political economy, foreign policy)

Major areas of study include economics, politics, public policy, American studies, social history.

Class Standing: Junior/Senior

Faculty Signature: Students should submit copies of their most recent faculty evaluations and samples of their most recent nonfiction writing to Alan Nasser at the Academic Fair, November 28, 2007. Transfer students should bring unofficial transcripts and writing samples to the fair. If this is not possible, send them to Alan Nasser, The Evergreen State College, Sem II A2117, Olympia, WA 98505. Priority will be given to applications received by November 28, 2007. For more information contact Alan, (360) 867-6759. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

American history has seen, from its beginnings, a steady rise in most people's standards of living and economic security, and (with the exception of the 1930s Great Depression) robust economic growth. But since 1973 this has changed: the median wage has actually declined since then, economic inequality has skyrocketed, working people and students find themselves saddled with unparalleled debt, job security has never been lower since the Great Depression, students are no longer confident that they will find stimulating and well paid jobs, and economic growth has slowed remarkably. And unfortunately, many experts fear that America will never again experience the prosperity it enjoyed during what is called the "Golden Age", the years 1947-1973. What happened? And are the pessimists right about our future?

We will examine the course of U.S. economic, political and social history since the very end of the nineteenth century. This will require us to examine the nature of the economic, political and social structures that comprise U.S. capitalism. We will view these structures as dynamic in nature, always subject to development, transformation and possible degeneration.

Among the main developments we will study are the changes in the economic and social structures at the turn of the twentieth century, the emergence of large multinational conglomerate corporations in the early twentieth century, the U.S. response to the Soviet Revolution, the "roaring twenties", the Great Depression, the effects of World War II on the economy, the historically unprecedented prosperity of the Golden Age and the creation of the so-called "middle class", the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the long period of austerity that continues to this day, and the heightened aggression of U.S. foreign policy that began with the Carter presidency and coincides with the beginning of the Age of Austerity. At the same time we will read at least one major social and political history of this period.

This is a demanding, advanced, bookish class devoted to close and careful analysis of our readings. Good analytical skills are presupposed.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 25

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in social sciences, teaching, public policy, social services and politics.

A similar program is expected to be offered in : 2008/09

This program is also listed under: Society, Politics, Behavior and Change

Program Updates:
04.16.2007: This is a new offering, not printed in the catalog. It replaces the program: U.S. Foreign Policy Since Woodrow Wilson: Before and After 9/11.



Energy Systems

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: E. J. Zita (physics, astronomy)

Major areas of study include energy, physics, environmental studies, mathematics. Upper-division science credit will be awarded for upper-division work.

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: For WINTER quarter admission, students must have completed calculus, one year of college science and demonstrate strong writing skills.

Faculty Signature: For admission into the program winter quarter, students should contact EJ Zita or meet with program faculty at the Academic Fair, November 28, 2007. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

How is energy created and harvested, stored and transformed, used and abused? Energy Systems is a mathematical and applied study of the ways energy is produced and changed by nature and humans. We will study issues of energy generation and use in society and in the natural world, using intermediate physics and mathematics. One goal is to gain a deeper understanding of issues involved in achieving a sustainable energy society. Another goal is to study interactions between the Earth and Sun, from an energy perspective. We will examine energy science and technology, and related topics such as energy policy and environmental concerns, climate change and global warming. We typically study alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and bio-fuels as well as conventional sources of energy such as hydro, nuclear, gas, and coal. This is a good program for students interested in environmental science and energy physics. We start with skill building and background study, and finish with research projects related to energy. Classes meet full-time in fall and winter. Students may continue their research projects in spring as an independent learning contract, if they choose.

While calculus is not a prerequisite for Energy Systems, students who know calculus may use it in their coursework or research projects. Students who have not yet learned calculus can do so through a separate coordinated module. A primary goal of this program is to illustrate the power and beauty of physics and mathematics in the context of energy systems. In the seminar component of Energy Systems, we will explore social, political, and/or economic aspects of energy production and use. Topics may include global warming, environmental concerns, the effects of the Sun on Earth's climate, energy needs of developing countries, the possibilities and requirements for a "hydrogen economy," or similar topics.

Student research projects are a major part of Energy Systems. Students will choose a research question that particularly interests them, and, usually in small teams, design and carry out their research investigations. Research projects involve quantitative analysis as well as hands-on investigations. For example, research could include field work, energy analysis of an existing system (natural or constructed), or design of a new small-scale energy system, possibly with community applications. Past projects have included solar systems for homes, energy generation from waste products, water purification for boats or farm composters, analysis of efficiency of campus buildings, and generation of auroral infrasound from solar magnetic storms.

Students should be willing to work in teams and to use computer-based learning tools, including the Internet. We may have some online seminars using chat-room software. The Energy Systems program will coordinate with students in environmental studies programs who want to learn more about energy.

Look for program details and updates on the Academic Program Web page, linked to the professor's homepage.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Enrollment: 25

Special Expenses: $15 equipment fee.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in energy and the environment, natural science, physics, engineering and education.

This program is also listed under Environmental Studies.

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2009-10.

Academic program Web page: Energy Systems

Program Updates:
11.06.2007: Prerequisites and signature requirements for entry into the program winter quarter were added.


Evolution in America: Innovations, Idiosyncrasies and Blind Spots


Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Bret Weinstein (biology), Nancy Koppelman (American studies)

Major areas of study include biology, history of technology, American studies and philosophy of science.

Class Standing: This Core program is designed for freshmen.

Faculty Signature: For admission into the program winter quarter, students should contact Nancy Koppelman or at (360) 867-6383 or Bret Weinstein at (360) 867-5608 or meet with faculty at the Academic Fair, November 28, 2007. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

The theory of evolution is the central organizing principle of all modern biology. Since the publication of Charles Darwin's masterwork, The Origin of Species (1859), this theory has come to affect explanations in a wide range of cultural arenas, from the technological to the social. Cultures certainly change; are we correct to say that they "evolve"?

This program will look simultaneously at the nature of biological evolution, and at patterns of technological, social and cultural change that have unfolded over three centuries of American history. We will learn Darwin's theory and study its influence. We will ask how evolutionary processes and explanations have shaped how people live, work, engage in politics, understand history and social change, address social problems, think creatively, grapple with human limitations, and incorporate new inventions and technologies into everyday life. We will study theories of change from competing epistemological approaches, consider their sources of authority, and learn how to evaluate them.

With modernizing and contemporary life in the United States as our context, we will examine ideas about colonialism, race, inheritance, wealth, poverty and gender, for example, in an effort to see how evolutionary theory interacts with other ways of explaining change over time. We will study the development of certain technologies, forms of social organization, and cultural meanings as 'model systems.' We will try to understand how the American social and economic environment has shaped their trajectory. For example, the invention of the automobile, the abolition of slavery, and the extension of equal rights to women can be seen as outcomes of evolutionary processes. But are they? What difference does it make how we explain these important historical developments?

We will be especially interested in understanding abiding American "blind spots," such as our historically inadequate efforts to protect the environment, the development of an unsustainable scale of consumerism, and the pervasiveness of a market mentality. We will think about the strengths and weaknesses of the human mind to comprehend the meaning of what people do, such as inventing new technologies and using natural resources. We'll consider the possibility that people have cultural predispositions to recognize certain opportunities and to overlook particular hazards. We will ponder the particular idiosyncrasies of Americans-a people with an abiding belief in progress and the value of an ever-rising standard of living-as we have created our history, and now anticipate our future. Authors may include Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Chandler Burr, Mary Shelley, Jared Diamond and Richard White. Student writing will focus on analyzing and evaluating theoretical, expository, scientific and literary texts, and learning how to make persuasive and interesting arguments for informed and thoughtful points of view. This program is an excellent choice for students who have a desire to learn about and understand the making of modern American society.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Enrollment: 46

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the social sciences, the sciences, and the humanities.

This program is also listed under Society, Politics, Behavior and Change, Scientific Inquiry, Programs for Freshmen.

Program Updates:
04.23.2007: This is a new program for freshmen, not printed in the catalog.
11.06.2007: Signature requirements for entry into the program winter quarter were added.


Evolving Communication: The Ways Humans and Animals Interact

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Susan Fiksdal (linguistics), Heather Heying (biology)

Major areas of study include biology, linguistics and communications.

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Faculty Signature: No new students will be accepted winter quarter.

The search for the origins and evolution of communication is a necessarily interdisciplinary exercise. Where did language come from? How is communication among primates similar to human communication? What do other animals communicate about, and how do they do so? What is the role of communication in evolution? What do we know about interspecies communication? Are there universal expressions? In this program, we will study a wide variety of systems of communication to learn how they work and how they function to maintain life.

Fall quarter our focus will be on the role of verbal and nonverbal communication, and an introduction to the study of non-human communication from a biological perspective. We will study the structure of language from a linguistic point of view including a study of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and discourse. The ways in which we negotiate meaning will be central to this work and we will consider deception and miscommunication as part of this negotiation. In our studies of biology, we will examine evolutionary approaches to communication, including types of signals (e. g. auditory, visual, chemical, tactile); generation and degradation of signals in complex physical and social environments; within-species communication (e. g. territorial and mating calls); and between-species communication (e. g. mutualisms between plants and animals). Winter quarter we will focus on symbolic behavior and expressive signals indicating cooperation, conflict, interaction, emotion, play and ritual. The linguistic study will focus on sociolinguistics or the ways we use language in everyday life. Our biological investigations will support this work with a focus on game theory and the evolution of cooperation. We will also look for parallels in the ways primates communicate and then turn to the ways primates and humans communicate. For example, one link we will examine is the role of vocal imitation in the communication of songbirds, whales, primates, elephants and humans. Sound labs will allow us to analyze bird song and other local animals' calls.

Throughout the two quarters, we will consider whether humans are truly unique because of our use of language. Students can expect to discuss methodologies in biology and linguistics used in researching communication and to write and present research projects each quarter.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Enrollment: 50

Special Expenses: Approximately $30 for research and field trips each quarter.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in evolutionary biology, zoology, linguistics, education and communications.

This program is also listed under Culture, Text and Language and Environmental Studies.

Program Updates:
11.08.2007: Faculty signature requirements for winter admission added.