Course Overview

This course explores the social aspects of global environmental phenomena while connecting local-scale issues with regional-, national-, and global-scale processes. Incorporating intersectional lenses into every topic, this course will be divided into three modules. The first one will address conceptual aspects that are essential to understanding nature-society relations in depth. That is, we will unpack the notions of nature, environmental justice, environmental policy, governance, and resource extraction. In the second module, we will examine how these complex processes are intertwined at multiple scales, looking at particular environment-society phenomena with which we interrelate in our everyday lives. In the last module, we will explore the possible solutions for environmental change from different stances while paying particular attention to what can be envisioned as a future ‘otherwise’ (the way forward). A key element of this course is the opportunity to learn from Indigenous women’s voices. We will have as a guest speaker the Amazonian Indigenous leader Mariluz Canaquiri Murayari. Also, students will have the chance to learn from my direct experience in the field after 18 months of ethnographic work in the Amazon.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Improve critical thinking skills while enhancing students’ environmental knowledge.
  • Engage with contemporary environmental issues, emphasizing resource extraction and climate change, while exploring specific case studies.
  • Recognize and examine environmental issues’ political, economic, and social dimensions that intertwine with gender, race, and class.
  • Be able to embark on analytical writing activities related to current nature-society processes.
  • Understand socio-environmental phenomena through gender and Indigenous lenses.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: GEO 103

Format: Online

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school junior or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate – and have interest in learning about the environmental issues that are urgent in current times.

Credit: 3 credits

Grading: A-F

Cost: $3,075

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – Online: Explore college life before stepping foot on campus! High school students can enroll in a college-level course, pursue their academic interests, and meet likeminded students in daily virtual events and activities.

Syracuse University Summer College precollege student

“For me, Syracuse Summer College – Online provided me an unforgettable opportunity to grow as a student and as a person while following my passion. In all, I could not have imagined such a memorable and special experience”

—Ben K., Summer College – Online Student, 2020

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College -Online3-Week Online Session I:
Monday, July 8 –
Friday, July 26, 2024
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
3 creditsClosed

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

A laptop required to take this course.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Each class is set for 2:30 hours. They will be divided in 3 blocks of 45 minutes each. 2 breaks, one of 10 minutes, and the other of 5 minutes.

First block: instructor’s presentation (includes theoretical provisions, unpacking notions with practical examples/case studies, audiovisuals and testimonies).

Second block: group activities (using jamboard, google slides & docs, interactive activities, among others).

Third block: work in-practice (individual achievements through writing and field assignments – those in campus will be instructed accordingly).

Faculty Bios

Mirella Pretell Gomero

Mirella Pretell Gomero, Ph.D. candidate in Geography and the Environment and CAS in Women and Gender Studies from Syracuse University. Currently pursuing the final phase of my doctorate after 18 months of fieldwork in the Amazon. I specialize in Political Ecology, Feminist Geography, and Indigenous & Postcolonial Geographies. My research focuses on gender, indigenous movements, resource extraction, and environmental justice. Peruvian-born with Quechua Indigenous heritage. I possess 15 years of experience working with environmental-related matters and in-ground expertise in the Amazon with a solid commitment to environmental justice and a long-standing engagement with Indigenous peoples. I served as Director of the Loreto Regional Office of Peru’s Environmental Protection Agency. I worked for UNDP supporting the implementation of the Joint Declaration of Intent between the Governments of Peru, Norway, and Germany to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, among other Amazon-related posts. I have carried out ethnographic and participatory methods throughout my professional and academic experience in the field. Degrees: Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science & Latin American Studies from Stockholm University (Sweden) and Master of Science in Environment & Sustainable Development from University College London – UCL (UK). Regarding my teaching experience, I have offered the Environment & Society course first in Peru and lately this past summer at SU in a 6-weeks online format, in addition to serving as a TA in a range of geography courses.