Holly M. Barker
Explores specific topics in environmental policy in an interdisciplinary context, combining considerations of politics, policy, economics, and science. Emphasizes quantitative analysis and scientific method.
This course considers the political uses of science in the development of U.S. nuclear policies. Students will read case studies related to the mining, testing, energy use and storage of radiation with in-depth examinations of nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, and plutonium processing in Hanford, WA. We will also think critically about current events, with special emphasis on the post-tsunami radiation challenges in Japan, and the Obama Administrationís interest in developing nuclear power (so students can develop and articulate well-informed opinions). Class discussions will consider how nuclear policies simultaneously benefit some populations while creating high risk for other groups.
Student learning goals
- the history and culture of the nuclear era;
- the political, social, and scientific construction of nuclear knowledge, including the evolution of radiation standards;
- the impacts of radiation exposure on indigenous communities;
- the discourse of current U.S. political discussions regarding nuclear energy and safety;
- the role of popular culture in challenging or accepting nuclear energy and nuclear weapons;
- the unique challenges we face in Washington State because of the Hanford facility.
General method of instruction
Discussion based with active student participation.
Class assignments and grading