Spring 2024

Environmental Wars

Listed in: Colloquia, as COLQ-264


Eleonora Mattiacci (Section 01)


Just like other primates, humans fight most wars to control territory. But humans seem to be the only primates that intentionally destroy their enemy’s territory as a war strategy. So what brings humans to destroy the very territory over which they started a war? To answer this question, this research seminar will leverage insights from a diverse set of disciplines across several fields of study. It will draw from theories of primates’ territorial control in biology, but also theories of emotions and short versus long-term biases in psychology, as well as insights from history on the memorialization of conflict, international law understandings of environmental destruction, and theories of the causes and consequences of wars from political science and economics. The seminar will explore empirical and theoretical research in the social sciences: identifying a question, composing a literature review, collecting data, and testing hypotheses. For this seminar, students will each develop a prospectus for a research project on the topic of environmental destruction.

This course is part of a model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research with faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Open to sophomores and juniors interested in research. Limited to 6 students. Spring semester. Professor Mattiacci.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to sophomores and juniors interested in continuing research over the summer

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, group work

COLQ 264 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM CONV 308
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM CONV 308