Instructor Meena Khandelwal working with students during class.
Technology, Culture, and Social Justice: This is a course about ‘big questions’ related to environment and culture: How is my life connected to that of a village woman in India who spends hours cutting fuel wood to cook the family dinner? How is my life linked to global environmental change?  How should we live with the earth? 

A team of five faculty will guide you through the process of addressing urgent, real world problems by focusing on the causes of environmental degradation in Rajasthan, India, in comparison with Iowa, in order to find possible solutions. We will explore how people, ideas and things cross borders - ‘globalization’- through issues of technology, social justice and environment by bringing together anthropology, gender studies, geography, energy science and development. 

 This course will promote critical thinking by prioritizing active learning via classroom activities, discussion and team work (facilitated by round tables in a TILE classroom), supplemented with short lectures.  Our emphasis will be on applying key concepts and models from both natural and social science to our case studies of India and the United States, a task that is both challenging and exciting.  Assignments will include weekly quizzes, exams, short essays, and a final research project.

MAUI (Course Catalog)

An Honors Rhetoric course was developed in tandem with this course and has served as the model for a comparable Honors Rhetoric section for People and the Environment. Future courses may also have Honors Rhetoric sections available. Course numbers: ANTH:1046/GEOG:1046/GWSS:1046

Semester Hours and GE Status

  • 3 s.h., approved for International/Global Issues GE

Faculty Co-Instructors

  • Meena Khandelwal (Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies and Anthropology)
  • Matthew Hill (Anthropology)
  • Marc Linderman (Geography and Sustainability Sciences)
  • H.S. Udaykumar (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jerry Anthony (Urban and Regional Planning).


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Big Ideas Courses
Big Ideas (BI) Courses are general education courses centered on themes rather than individual disciplines. These courses are team-taught across an array of disciplines, departments, and even colleges.