The Anthropocene

Geologists measure time in epochs--the Paleocene, the Cretaceous, the Holocene. Today many scholars argue that we have entered into a new epoch: the Anthropocene; the human epoch. They argue that human industrial and agricultural activity has been so impactful as to leave a permanent mark in Earth's geological record, and will be permanently visible for millennia to come. Courses in this cluster will examine issues of society, climate change, and humankind's changing relationship with what we call "nature" or the "natural world".

Course Descriptions

CC100: Environmental Crisis & the Anthropocene in Global and World Literature

Instructor: Ammar Naji
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 12498
Block: 1

"In wildness is the preservation of the world," Henry David Thoreau once wrote. In this class, we'll explore wildness and wilderness through a range of literary texts to consider how a particular construction of the 'natural' world has come to dominate the U.S. environmental imagination. From the howling wilderness of Puritan writers like William Bradford and Mary Rowlandson to the sacred solitude of the Transcendentalist tradition, from the 1964 Wilderness Act to the #wilderness of Instagram's environmental representation, we'll consider how the meaning of wilderness has taken shape through a range of literary and cultural texts. Additionally, we'll gain familiarity with the field of ecocriticism (environmental literary studies), and we'll ask how we draw the lines between nature and culture, the human and the non-human, and how such constructions intersect with identity categories such as race, gender/sexuality, class, dis/ability, and nation. In addition, we'll explore the material landscapes of our own region and bioregion through field trips and site visits to further consider the relationship between the written word and the written world in the U.S. Southwest, as it engages and resists more conventional notions of wilderness. As a CC100 course, we'll also discuss the broader implications of approaching these questions through the lens of literary and cultural studies.

CC120: Literature and Psychoanalysis: Journey to the Dark Side of the Psyche

Instructor: William Davis
CRN# 12521
Block: 2

This course helps you develop your own voice as we explore different approaches to the concept of the "Wild." Alongside questions of what and who defines the "Wild," we think through larger questions about authority and representation: "How have others established their perspective?, "How do I establish my own perspective?," and "How do I empower myself to write within an established scholarly conversation?" Thinking about writing as a process and a practice, your work will culminate in a research-driven project that brings together different writing assignments that are creative, reflective, and critical.


CC100: Mathematical Modeling of Diseases

Instructor: David Brown
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Formal Reasoning & Logic
CRN# 12501
Block: 1

Mathematical models have been used to explain, predict, and control the dynamics of infectious diseases for nearly a century. Beginning with early attempts to explain cholera outbreaks, mathematical epidemiology grew rapidly during the global spread of HIV in the 1980s. In 2020, the spread of novel coronavirus made phrases like "basic
reproductive number" and "SIR modeling" part of our everyday discourse. This class will explore the construction, analysis, and application of mathematical models of infectious diseases. We will study the relationships between model assumptions and conclusions and learn about what mathematical models can and cannot tell us about epidemics.

CC120: Detective Fiction

Instructor: Barry Sarchett
CRN# 12557
Block: 4

A study of the social, political, aesthetic, and philosophical implications of detective fiction since its beginnings in the 19th Century with Edgar Allen Poe. Includes
examination of various subgenres, such as the formal puzzle mystery, the English “cozy” mystery, and finally the American hard-boiled private eye mystery, which has become a popular vehicle through which women and marginalized groups have interrogated American culture. Authors may include Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Walter Mosley, and Sara Paretsky. Intensive practice in writing, proofreading, and revision will be a major component of the course.


CC100: This Land is Your Land: A Critical Exploration of Environmentalism(s), Past and Present

Instructor: Juan Miguel Arias
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Historical Perspectives
CRN# 12502
Block: 1

This course will explore environmentalism and environmental movements from a critical historical perspective. From Thoreau to Carson, Bullard, Thomas, Kimmerer, and Thunberg, we will cover the most prominent (and silenced) voices encouraging collective action for the earth and its people. We will mostly focus on mainstream and marginalized environmentalism in the United States but will also explore international movements, foreshadowing the global, place-based contexts of the Fall Semester Abroad. As the first course in the Shaping the Landscape FSA series, we will introduce questions addressed from many epistemological perspectives throughout the semester. How have local and global landscapes impacted students’ lives and the lives of others throughout history? How will they, as students and young adults, shape the landscapes of their futures? Following David Orr’s words that “all education is environmental education,” students will explore how “the environment” and the ways we think about it influence their academic and personal lives. As a place-based CC100 experience, the course will encourage new undergraduates to reflect on their sense of place as CC students, new (or continuing) Colorado residents, and young adults in this inevitably climate-focused 21st century.

CC120: Chaucer's and Shakespeare's Forests

Instructor: Regula Evitt
CRN# 12524
Block: 2

Chaucer’s key “forest tales" often provide a record of what Laura Howes refers to as “the lived experience of land use as a significant factor in poetic representation” (Chaucer Review 49 (2014): 122-33). In addition to management practices, these tales reflect contemporary uses of the forest both for escape through pleasure and for reinscription of social hierarchies in the wake of changing love mores (The Book of the Duchess) and far-reaching class conflict (The Knight’s Tale) as well as global pandemic (The Pardoner’s Tale). Shakespeare extends Chaucer’s triad, reshaping it to reflect the political challenges and explicit environmental crises of his day. His forest and woodland locations provide a view into the challenges of his time: population growth in London that upsets the relationship between resources and consumption; deforestation to feed the demand for timber that would fuel new industries to support growing military and colonizing enterprises; the ethics of conservation. Forests in Shakespeare’s plays serve not only as sites of escape for gender play, culturally unsanctioned love, sanctuary and relief from contemporary social ordering and hierarchic political power signatures (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). They also serve as geo-locations that articulate exploration of opposing cultural tensions while revealing the roots of our current anxieties about the continuing impacts of colonization and climate change (The Tempest). These plays encourage contemporary audiences to consider how and to what ends the theatre might have staged and still stages forests (Aimé Césaire's A Tempest)—how the theatrical and lived experiences of the forest might mutually inform each other to articulate contemporary social justice concerns.


CC100: Welcome to Colorful Colorado: Problems and Promises in the Great Outdoors

Instructor: Drew Cavin
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies & Human Behavior
CRN# 12509
Block: 1

Colorado is one of the United States’ most popular outdoor playgrounds. With towering mountains and crystal-clear rivers, opportunities for recreation and play abound. But do those opportunities exist equally for everyone? Are outdoor spaces welcoming for all people? What do you think of when you think of Wilderness? Who do you imagine when you think of an “outdoorsy” person? And why would anyone want to spend the night in a tent or paddle down a whitewater river anyways? Can outdoor recreation be a mode of
resistance to dominant narratives and a place of restoration? We will dive deep into these questions and the historical, social, and racial issues around outdoor recreation
activities, and look at why they can provide positive experiences. We will also unpack the history of outdoor tourism and recreation and critically analyze how white, European
notions of nature and systemic racism have shaped the ways that we conceive of and recreate in natural places. Along with field experiences in the “Great Outdoors”, this experiential education course will develop your college level qualitative analysis, reading, writing, and discussion skills.

CC120: An Introduction to Higher Education in the United States

Instructor: Donna Drucker
CRN# 12527
Block: 2

This course will introduce students to the study of higher education in the United States and offer opportunities for students to develop as readers and writers of academic prose. The course centers on the following question: How does the history of higher education in the US shape higher education in the present? Students will consider different facets of that history, including campus architecture, student life, instructional design (including CC's Block Plan), academic freedom, and leadership. They will reflect on the legacy of universities being built with enslaved labor and on unceded Native American land. The course concludes with an original research paper on an aspect of US higher education history.


CC100: Beginnings of the Anthropocene

Instructor: Sarah Schanz
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Scientific Analysis
CRN# 12556
Block: 1

Geologists mark geologic time with ‘golden spikes’ – shifts in the rock record so profound as to justify a new period of time. Typically, new geologic epochs are purely motivated by geologic observations; yet in the case of the Anthropocene, we see shifts in earth systems that include geologic, political, social, and racial human systems. In this class, we’ll explore the guiding geologic observations behind new time periods and the Anthropocene, and delve into the cultural biases in the scientific markers – biased by who is allowed to study and publish, and the colonization of geologic knowledge. Finally, we’ll consider the cultural, political, and racial changes that provide other arguments for the start of the Anthropocene – does the movement of human bodies constitute a new epoch in the same manner that movement of soil does? Is the Anthropocene a geologic observation, or is it a social movement? We ultimately will consider the question: What is the ‘golden spike’ for this human-centered epoch?

CC120: Writing About Writing

Instructor: Tracy Santa
Block: 2

CC120: Writing About Writing will be grounded in Wardle and Downs’s Writing About Writing: A College Reader, 3rd ed. (2017), which has been used extensively over the past decade in first-year seminar and composition courses in American post-secondary education. We will focus on reading and writing as a conversation and central site of inquiry in academic work and address the role of argumentation and response as the process by which new knowledge is forged, meaning is negotiated, and understanding achieved in academic work and beyond.  Readings will focus on three primary issues: literacy and how prior experience bears on writing, the individual and discourse communities and how writing gets things done, and rhetoric, or how meaning is constructed in a particular context.  A second required text, Harris’s Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts (2017), will guide students through the process of engaging with outside sources in fashioning their own positions.  A third required text, Hacker and Sommers’s A Brief Style Manual (2017) will offer models and advice on issues of mechanics, grammar, and citation in drafting and revising writing.  Students will share and discuss reading response logs to all new readings (10 of 18 class days), compose three formal essays which receive instructor response in conference and peer response in small groups prior to submission, and will revise their initial essay as a fourth and final submission.


Report an issue - Last updated: 08/17/2021