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Center for Environmental Studies

Academics

The Environmental Studies program provides students with tools, ideas, and opportunities to engage constructively with the environmental and social issues brought about by changes in population, economic activity, and values. Environmental studies is interdisciplinary and broad. It includes the conditions of inner-city poverty as well as the ecology of wildlands; it encompasses the view of planet earth from near space as well as the rich nuance of the cultural anthropologist’s studies of pre-industrial society. Environmental controversies typically call upon citizens and organizations to grasp complex, uncertain science, contending human values, and ethical choices; in short, to deal with matters for which the liberal arts are a necessary, if not sufficient, preparation. Environmental studies accordingly includes courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts in order to equip students with the broad educational background needed to analyze complex environmental matters and to fashion pragmatic, feasible solutions.

CES faculty come from numerous departments throughout the College, including Anthropology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English, Geology, History, History of Science, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, and Religion. The program in environmental studies allows students to focus some of their elective courses in an integrated, interdisciplinary study of the environment. The program provides students with tools and ideas needed to engage constructively with the environmental and social issues brought about by changes in population, economic activity, and values.

The Program in Environmental Studies encompasses more than academics. CES plans an extensive series of activities each year, ranging from lectures to social events, festivals to brown bag lunches. We provide a forum for students and faculty to present the results of their research, office space for student organizations to meet and plan their activities, and an inviting space for students to study and to relax. We invite all members of the Williams College community to visit the Center for Environmental Studies, and to make use of our resources.