All Courses

  • Canvas Intro Course

    This course is intended for Instructors, Course Designers and Teaching Assistants to further develop course content.

  • Environmental Archaeology

    The relationship between humans and the environment is a pervasive concern among politicians, activists, academics, and the public as a whole. Typically, this interaction is considered in light of the future: are humans over-exploiting the earth’s resources and leading human societies to a global collapse? Yet perhaps the answer to this question can be uncovered (or at least clarified) through the study of human prehistory. Our species, Homo sapiens, has inhabited this planet for as many as 200,000 years, all of which has been characterized by an intimate relationship with a diverse array of environments. Indeed, one of the most salient features of humanity is our adaptive flexibility in the types of environments we can inhabit as well as the types of foods we can eat. One of the strengths that archaeology possesses over other disciplines is the ability to survey the effects of environmental change on human societies over the course of thousands of years. Memory, oral history, and written history simply cannot catalogue environmental change in such a manner, giving archaeologists the opportunity to extend our gaze for how we shape the world around us. Archaeologists, climate scientists, geologists, chemists, botanists, zoologists, and geographers have all collaborated to reconstruct ancient environments and understand how 1) humans have transformed these environments and how 2) these environments have in turn altered human societies. In this course, we will examine these two processes, and dissect how the environment has influenced human societies in prehistory. We will first consider the methods that archaeologists and other scientists use to reconstruct ancient environments. Such methods range from analogies derived from contemporary hunting-gathering groups, to understanding geomorphological processes, to reconstructing ancient plant lifeways. After having reviewed these methods, we will critically examine how archaeologists have applied these types of data to understanding human/environment interaction in the past. Topics will include the effects of natural disaster on settlement location, the extinction of megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene, and the health consequences of the adoption of agriculture across much of the world. Finally, we will undertake a brief survey of several of the theories archaeologists have employed in their attempts to understand human/environment interaction. One of these theories focuses on the social and demographic collapse of societies in prehistory, which has been made popular by the ornithologist Jared Diamond in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. We will examine Diamond’s arguments, and will explore counter-arguments and theories such as resilience theory, panarchy theory, and historical ecology. The debate on the nature of collapse and the resilience and adaptability of human societies will be utilized to frame and contextualize more contemporary debates on human over-exploitation of environments.

  • 01-Fa16-Homeland Security Challenge

    The purpose of this course to examine: 1) the still-evolving discipline of homeland security in its effort to identify and neutralize the terrorist threat and 2) the incorporation of this threat to the all hazards response and recovery planning and actions of emergency managers. Terrorist events in 2001 dictated that federal, state, and local government organizations seek better ways to improve the security and safety of our nation and its people. These events led to the most comprehensive reorganization of the federal government with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The nation is going through an evolution in national security, addressing the issue of terrorism as it has never been in our history. Accordingly, homeland security is a relatively new, evolving discipline, subject to the actions of all branches of federal, state, and local governments. The evolution of homeland security as a concept, a legal framework, and the direction of national policies is described. The political, economic, and practical issues associated with homeland security are examined. The horrible events of September 11th have provided a great opportunity for improving the social and economic sustainability of our communities from all disasters and threats, not just terrorism. As vividly illustrated during Hurricane Katrina, an all hazards approach to both natural and man-made calamities is required by public safety officials and emergency managers. The identification and neutralization of the terrorist threat by homeland security must be wed to a robust response and recovery strategy to all hazards by emergency managers. An overview of the history of natural and technological threats and U.S. responses, such as national security strategies, homeland security decision directives, the National Response Framework, and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is provided. In addition to reviewing the evolution of homeland security and the numerous terrorist related hazards, the primary concepts of emergency management will be closely examined.