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ENV 274 - Environmental Politics

Course Stats

Instructor(s): Erika Weinthal

Units: 3

Semester Offered: Spring

Description

http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/programs/courses/environ274.html

Focused on international environmental politics, this course gives introductory exposure to the relationship between major environmental issues and governemnts worldwide.

Skills and Career Applications

(Insert comments on the intent and career applications of this class. Comments/Quotes from Nicholas Alumni are especially valued.)

  • Good exposure to global issues.
  • Concepts covered include:
    • Resource curse
    • Civil society drivers
    • Focusing events
    • Importance of media
    • Environmental justice
    • Informal institutions

Registration Advice

(Insert comments here on how prospective students should approach registration for this class, e.g. hard to get into; sign up early; permission numbers; don't take if you already have heavy load)

  • Required for EEPs.  I took this course in the Fall of my first year, and was glad to have the flexibility that that opened up in my last semester.  I also thought it was good to take it in the first year because the topics of the class are broad in scope, and may help guide your interests for subsequent course choices.
  • Ditto the top comment.  It may help you pick an MP direction you hadn't thought of before, especially if you are interested in international conservation or development.  No textbooks in this class!!!  A $$ saver.  Workload is moderate if you are a decent writer, but heavier if writing doesn't come naturally.  A huge bonus is that you can schedule your own due dates for half the assignments, which are very writing and research intensive.  There are a lot of readings, but they are essential to class discussion. 

Student Opinions

(This space is intended to compile general comments from past students on the course. It will be judiciously moderated for extreme and unprofessional comments, but otherwise, it is open to a broad range of student feedback.)

  • Dr. Weinthal has a wealth of professional and personal experience relating to international politics and the environment.  Some students make an effort to not take this class at Duke, but I would recommend going to the first class to check it out.  I found the course topics to be very interesting because of the international focus, and enjoyed class more if I had done all of the readings.
  • This is one of those classes that is better if you pay more attention to it and speak up in class, sort of a positive feedback loop between prof and students.  Dr. Weinthal is one of the most passionate teachers in the Nic School, but she feeds greatly off of student interaction and the best classes in this course are the big discussions where everyone dives in and takes a swipe at the topic at hand.  If no one pipes up, a class quickly tanks and everyone gets bored; the poor reputation this class sometimes gets stems from this, IMHO.  Dr. Weinthal is very responsive to student comments and evaluations, and should be praised for even making mid-course changes to improve the class, based on feedback.  She also designs each year's class to follow current events: the 2009 class had to hold a mock Copenhagen UN FCCC convention.  While the project was complicated and a bit crazy, it was quite educational on the complexity of the issues at hand.  Finally, kudos on guest speaker selection, which even included a Skype teleconference once.

The Instructor's Take...

(This space is exclusively for the instructor to broadly comment on his or her course, and respond to commonly received feedback, explain methods and approaches, and encourage student registration. Instructors: Please limit to 300 words, or link to a wiki page of your own creation to explain in detail.)