HC301H - Hazardous Waste

Professor: Michael Moffitt

4.00 credits

  • CRN 12443: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00-5:20pm @ CHA 301

In this course we will engage in a liberal-arts-inspired exploration of hazardous waste. Pollution and waste have been around for a long time. (Animal excrement has fouled water supplies, for example, since prehistory.) But some more recently created forms of waste can be exceptionally harmful to humans. (Think, for example, of heavy metals, industrial byproducts, batteries, paints, and electronics.) We will be focusing on some of the worst of the worst of these substances. Motivating questions will include those from …

•    the natural sciences. (For example: How do these substances come into existence? How long do they remain toxic, reactive, or corrosive? Why are they harmful to humans? Can they be made less harmful?) 
•    the arts and humanities. (For example: How have people made meaning of these substances? What do literature, film, and music tell us about how people experience them?) 
•    the social sciences. (For example: What political conditions and economic incentives have led to the current situation? Are there alternatives?) 
•    the professions. (For example: In what ways might lawyers, businesspeople, educators, planners, and designers make things better or worse?)

Students will engage in multiple research projects aimed at enhancing not only their understanding of hazardous waste, but also the methods of inquiry that form the building blocks of research within the liberal arts.