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2014 Seminar - Curricular Projects

In the 2014-15 academic year following the on-site portion of the Contested Spaces seminar, participants drew from the seminar content and structure to develop innovative, multidisciplinary courses, sequences, modules, exercises, or lesson plans.

Curricular materials presented using the SAIL project submission form, which includes such information as a project description, learning goals, teaching materials, assessment, and resources.

Following are some of the projects submitted by seminar participants; additional projects will be posted here soon.


Beloit College

This is junior/senior level course for English or environmental studies designed to help students think creatively and critically about what it means to be a Midwesterner.

Using the Lessons of Integral Ecology in the Creation and Implementation of a Student Final Project Assignment

This is a final project assignment for a course titled Contemporary Art in an Age of Global Warming. The assignment asks students to work in teams to develop and present proposals for future environmental art initiatives for a 34-acre site, which city of Beloit planners hope eventually to turn into a "destination, nature-based, public open space."

Ecological Worldviews Module

Global Political Ecology is an elective for international relations, political science and environmental studies majors. This new module introduces the students to ways of inquiry grounded in the arts and the humanities to facilitate a reflection on ways of knowing the environment and our personal relationship with it.

Carleton College

This introductory-level, five-week studio art course is intended to provide students a crash-course in the pragmatics and politics of architectural design, using the Carleton campus as a case study. To propose a solution to a persistent design problem on Carleton’s campus, students will work collaboratively in one of four dedicated research groups.

The course will directly address our future vulnerability to abrupt climate change through case studies of past human civilizations. Includes a term-long multi-media team project, with an academic civic engagement component, at the intersection of abrupt climate change and an issue of human concern.

Coe College

Module for junior/senior-level course CHM 575: Protein Biochemistry

This three-week module will take the place of normal lecture material that would cover the life cycle and explanation of different kinds of viruses. It will combine lecture with seminar-style discussions and will also approach the spread of Ebola, and hopefully its containment and prevention, from several viewpoints. The module will have a capstone paper and presentation component.

Module: Environmental Crisis

This three-week course module on environmental “public problems” is designed to centralize the rhetorical, political, and scientific obstacles that complicate the recognition of global warming as a crisis.

Module 1 of a two-module course

This module brings to bear competing interests in and perspectives on the Arctic, including different disciplinary, stakeholder, and theoretical perspectives. In the first rendition of this module (Spring 2015), it covered three class periods and included two central parts: visits from Coe professors Maria Dean and Theresa Donofrio, and a two-day simulation.

Module 2 of a 2-module course

This module is designed, in part, to push students to engage in reflective judgment on the Amazon as a contested space (i.e., think critically about this complex matter; describe, analyze, and respond to it). Last fall (Fall 2014) this learning module was included in Latin American Politics, a mid-level comparative politics course that focuses primarily on democratization in the region. Similar modules might be developed to explore issues surrounding copper mining or coffee growing in Latin America, for example.

Colorado College

  • Sound Art - Jonathon Scott Lee (philosophy)

This new course focuses on experiments in the emergent field of sound art, which explores a new, non-visually centered sphere of expression. Sound art is an interdisciplinary artistic genre that traverses music, installation art, dance, performance art, theatre, film, and new media: it is, thus, a perfect example of a "contested space" in the aesthetic domain.

St. Olaf College

Environmental Psychology at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is a St. Olaf College off-campus, January-term course that focuses on understanding the psychological significance of the natural world and examines human relationships with the rest of the natural world. This curricular project focused on increasing the extent to which the course explicitly incorporates interdisciplinary perspectives, particularly to have students use all four quadrants of the Integral Ecology model (Esbjörn-Hargens & Zimmerman, 2009).

Module: Integral Ecology Approaches to the Minnesota River

The course studied the nearby Minnesota River, examining aspects of the river from all the integral ecology perspectives. In this module, students were expected to construct their own particular project that would require them to take up a contested issue that crosses lines of all four quadrants of integral ecology (exterior singular, exterior plural, interior plural, interior singular).

  • Integral Ecology - Matt Rohn (art history; environmental and American studies)

Deepen Environmental Studies Students' Understanding of Interdisciplinarity

Modules for introducing students to integral ecology as a tool in environmentally related courses. This project examines modules in three courses: ENVST 202: The Culture of Nature; ENVST 381: Contested Spaces, Rivers (advanced seminar with Mark Allister); PSYCH 277: Environmental Psychology (with Donna McMillan).