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Johnson, Merrill

Deserts are among the most hostile environments on earth for the survival of humans, yet their allure has resulted in profound impacts on civilizations. Religions view deserts paradoxically as places of isolation and of deep spiritual connection. Artists and writers exploit these sparse landscapes of seemingly infinite vistas to highlight the singular aesthetics of this (allegedly) empty wilderness.  Geologists have long asserted that deserts are so unique that they require their own set of processes to explain the landforms. Climatologists realize that deserts are not local phenomena, but rather are globally forced features based on worldwide circulation and heating patterns.  In this transdisciplinary and team-taught course, students will learn about deserts from multiple perspectives and through approaches both humanistic and scientific. 


Satisfies depth or breadth course requirement in Natural Science or Humanities track of the Environmental Studies major and interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.