University of Colorado at Boulder


Dept Theme

Environment-Society Relations

Human dimensions of environmental change; natural resources; conservation behavior

From its earliest development as an academic field, geography has been concerned with the manifold relations between societies and their natural and built environments. Societies adapt and transform the environments they inhabit. They depend upon the use of resources and reduction of hazards for their survival and material well-being. They also assign meanings to the environment that vary over place and time, but that help define their identity and values within the world. Geographers tend to study these phenomena under the broad headings of resource use, natural hazards, sustainable development, landscape studies, cultural ecology, and environmental conservation. The University of Colorado has special strength in land and water resource issues in the American West, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Students concentrating on environment-society relations are advised to take the introductory courses in human and physical geography and then, depending upon their academic interests and aims, to concentrate on specific topics and regions in the environment- society area.

Faculty teaching and/or performing research in environment-society relations

Political Ecology;  Science and Technology Studies;  indigenous knowledge;  Nature-Society Relations Human
Climate change and human health; Environmental and social epidemiology; Spatial exposure assessment Human
Natural hazards, risk, climate change, decision-making Human
Nature/society geography; political ecology; cultural politics; development; Tibet; China Human

Graduate Students in environment-society relations

14 students total. TIP: To sort by more than one column, hold down the shift key while clicking an additional column header.

Name Degree     Specialties Advisor
Buzzard, Brendan Ph.D. Natural resources, conservation, identity and place Goldman
Clifford, Katherine Ph.D. American West; decision making and uncertainty; climate change; land and water resources Travis
DiCarlo, Jessica Ph.D. Development, political ecology, feminist political geography, China and the Himalaya Yeh
Frydenlund, Shae Ph.D. political ecology; nature-society in Tibet/Nepal Yeh
Gladfelter, Sierra M.A. Conservation and development Yeh
Harkavy, Melissa M.A. climate change adaptation; natural resources; utilization; gender Goldman
Longenecker, H.E. Ph.D. Climatology; Climate Change; Hazard/Risk Vulnerability Travis
Lovell, Eric Ph.D. Political Ecology; (Non)Human Mobilities; GIScience; Critical Conservation Studies Goldman
Naficy, Cameron Ph.D. Disturbance ecology; tree ecophysiology; climate variability; restoration; remote sensing Veblen
Reiff, Eric Ph.D. Urban backyard farming as a subversive performance, Social Construction of Nature, STS, Pol Ecology Goldman
Smith, Samuel Ph.D. Historic/Urban Geog-links between historic mining settlements & current tourist areas Foote
Wang, Xi Ph.D. Energy transitions; electricity systems; China; electricity planning Yeh
Wharton, Elizabeth Ph.D. China's development role in the Horn of Africa Yeh
Williams, Travis M.A. Human and Environmental Relationships Travis

GEOG courses related to environment-society relations.

Caution: These lists are incomplete.

Spring 2017

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
1962 Geographies of Global Change 3 O'Loughlin
3412 Conservation Practice/Resource Management 3 Lander
3422 Political Ecology 3 Goldman
3812 Mexico, Central American and the Carribean Bryan
4501 5501 Wtr Resources/Mgmt in the US West 3 Lander
4762 Geographies of Political Islam 3 Jan


Fall 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
3862 Geography of Africa 3 Goldman
3930 5930 Internship 3 Blanken
4173 Research Seminar 3 Speilman
5152 History and Theory of Geography 3 Fluri
6402 Seminar: Political Ecology 3 Yeh


Spring 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
1972 Environment-Society Geography 3 Travis
3412 Conservation Practice/Resource Management 3 Lander
3422 Political Ecology 3 Goldman
3812 Mexico, Central American and the Carribean Bryan
4501 5501 Wtr Resources/Mgmt in the US West 3 Lander
4762 001 Geographies of Political Islam 3 Jan
6402 Seminar Political Ecology: Politics of Environmental Knowledge 3 Goldman


Undergrad Courses Applicable to a Concentration in Environment-Society Relations

GEOG 1001  Environmental Systems 1: Climate & Vegetation** 
GEOG 1011  Environmental Systems 2: Landscapes & Water** 

Two of the following four courses are prerequisites to all (human geography) upper-division courses listed further below.

GEOG 1962  Geographies of Global Change (formerly GEOG 2002)
GEOG 1972  Environment-Society Geographies (formerly GEOG2412)
GEOG 1982  World Regional Geography
GEOG 1992  Human Geographies

Upper Division Courses.  Additional prerequisites may be listed. 

GEOG 3251  Mountain Geography 
GEOG 3301  Analysis of Climate and Weather Observations**  
GEOG 3351  Biogeography 
GEOG 3402  Natural Hazards 
GEOG 3412  Conservation Practice and Resource Management 
GEOG 3422  Conservation Thought 
GEOG 3511  Introduction to Hydrology** 
GEOG 3601  Principles of Climate**
GEOG 3612  Geography of American Cities
GEOG 3682  Geography of International Development
GEOG 3692  Introduction to Global Public Health
GEOG 3812  Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean 
GEOG 3822  Geography of China**  
GEOG 3862  Geography of Africa 
GEOG 4401  Soils Geography  (Prereq: GEOG 1011; Recommended Prereq: inorganic chemistry) 
GEOG 4430  Seminar: Conservation Trends** 
GEOG 4501  Water Resources and Water Management in the Western US 
GEOG 4742  Environments and Peoples** 
GEOG 4632  Development Geography 
GEOG 4812  Environment and Development in South America** 
GEOG 4822  Environment and Development in China** 
GEOG 4852  Health and Medical Geography** 

**core curriculum course 


Undergrad Courses in other Departments Related to Environment-Society Relations

Caution: These courses do not count as hours in the Geography Major.
Check with the appropriate department for the prerequisites for these courses. 

CHEM  1011  Environmental Chemistry 1*
CHEM  1031  Environmental Chemistry 2**  
ECON  2010  Principles of Microeconomics** 
ECON  2020  Principles of Macroeconomics** 
ECON  3535  Natural Resource Economics** 
ECON  3545  Environmental Economics**  
EBIO  1210  General Biology 1** 
EBIO  1220  General Biology 2** 
EBIO  2040  Principles of Ecology** 
EBIO  3040  Conservation Biology 
EBIO  3180  Global Ecology** 
GEOL  3040  Global Change: The Recent Geological Record** 
GEOL  3520  Environmental Issues in Geosciences** 
PHIL  3140  Environmental Ethics**  
PHYS  3070  Energy and the Environment** 
PSCI  3201  The Environment and Public Policy

**core curriculum course 

Selected Publications by Faculty and Graduate Students associated with environment-society relations


 Maxwell Boykoff

 Mara Goldman

Goldman, M. J. and J. S. Little. (2015). Innovative Grassroots NGOS and the Complex Processes of Women’s Empowerment: An empirical investigation from Northern Tanzania. World Development 66 (2015):762-777.

Goldman, M., J. R. Dephinho, and J. Perry. (2013). Beyond Ritual and Economics: Maasai Lion Hunting and Conservation Politics. Oryx. Published online: 14 May 2013: 1-11. doi:10.1017/S0030605312000907

Goldman, M., and Riosmena, F. (2013). Adaptive Capacity and Vulnerability to Drought in Tanzanian Maasailand: Changing strategies to navigate across fragmented landscapes. Global Environmental Change 23 (2013) 588–597.

Goldman, M.J., P. Nadasdy, and M.D. Turner, eds. (2011). Knowing Nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Chicago: University of Chicago University Press .

Goldman, M. (2009). Constructing Connectivity? Conservation corridors and conservation politics in East African rangelands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 99 (2):335-359 .

 Colleen Reid

Reid CE, Brauer M, Johnston F, Jerrett M, Balmes JR, Elliott CT. (2016). Critical Review of Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives . DOI:10.1289/ehp.1409277

Reid CE, Jerrett M, Tager IB, Petersen ML, Mann JK, Balmes JR. (2016). Differential respiratory health effects from the 2008 northern California wildfires: a spatiotemporal approach. Environmental Research . doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.012

Reid CE, Jerrett M, Petersen ML, Pfister GG, Morefield P, Tager IB, Raffuse SM, Balmes JR. (2015). Spatiotemporal prediction of fine particulate matter during the 2008 northern California wildfires using machine learning. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(6):3887-96.

Reid CE, Mann JK, Alfasso R, English PB, King GC, Lincoln RA, Margolis HG, Rubado DJ, Sabato JE, West NL, Woods B, Navarro K, Balmes JR. (2012). Evaluation of a Heat Vulnerability Index on Abnormally Hot Days: an Environmental Public Health Tracking study. . Environmental Health Perspectives 120(5):715-20.

Reid CE, O’Neill MS, Gronlund C, Brines SJ, Brown DG, Diez-Roux AV, Schwartz J. (2009). Mapping Community Determinants of Heat Vulnerability. Environmental Health Perspectives 117(11): 1730-1736.

 Tania Schoennagel

 William Travis

McCurdy, A. and W. Travis . (2017). Simulated climate adaptation in stormwater systems: Evaluating the efficiency of adaptation pathways. Environment Systems and Decisions.

Dilling, L., M.E. Daly, W.R. Travis, O.V. Wilhelmi, and R.A. KleinWiley . (2015). The dynamics of vulnerability: why adapting to climate variability will not always prepare us for climate change. Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 6, 413-425. doi:10.1002/wcc.341

 Emily Yeh

Yeh, Emily T. and Chris Coggins, editors. (2014). Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landcapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. University of Washington Press. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Blazing pelts and burning passions: Nationalism, cultural politics and spectacular decommodification in Tibet. Journal of Asian Studies. 72(2): 319-334. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Cornell University Press.

Yeh, Emily T. and Kunga T. Lama. (2013). Following the caterpillar fungus: Nature,commodity chains and the place of Tibet in China's uneven geographies. Social & Cultural Geography 14(3):318-340.

Yeh, Emily T. (2012). Transnational environmentalism and entanglements of sovereignty: The tiger campaign across the Himalayas. Political Geography 31:418-428 .

Grad Students

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