Were you a Sooner in the 80's?
March 23, 2012 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Calling all SOONERS: I'm looking for the name of a University of Oklahoma professor, a woman, who taught GEOG 3253 in the Spring of 1985. My memory is that the class was called "Geography of Natural Resources", though my 2012 copy of my transcript says it was "Environmental Conservation". Story inside...

All the way through the class, she taught the Malthusian view of the world and the Cornucopian view in a balanced way. Malthusians believe that geometric growth of populations must outstrip the linear growth of food supplies, leading to disaster. Cornucopians believe that man is able to conserve and develp alternatives through ingenuity, so that over time the necessities of life become more abundant.

On the final exam, there was an extra credit short essay question: "I believe Dr. (name) is (Malthusian or Cornucopian - pick one) because..."

I've always been curious which was the right answer. If the professor is still around, I'd enjoy contacting her to ask. If you know her name, or know someone who might know, I'd love to hear from you.
posted by takenRoad to Education (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Send a polite email to a current senior faculty member. This is the kind of question most academics will be happy to answer if they can.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:15 PM on March 23, 2012

Yes, contact someone who's at the department now. Ask if they know who it was, or if they know someone at the University who would be able to help you find out.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:16 PM on March 23, 2012

I can almost guarantee you that the university archives have copies of each semester's course catalogs, and could look up the professor's name given the information you have. They'd also have info about whether the professor was still teaching, retired, or no longer living. At my university library, it would be the kind of question archives staff could answer easily over the phone or via email. I'd suggest calling or emailing on Monday. Archives at OU are in the Western History Collections.
posted by donnagirl at 8:19 PM on March 23, 2012

As noted, try a polite note to a senior faculty member. Or scan the professor emeritus roster and see if a name rings a bell. You could also see if Google reveals any grad students from that time and try them.

Also, my bet is on Cornucopian.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:28 PM on March 23, 2012

My bet is that Dr. Nostrand will know exactly who that was -- he's still around, though no longer teaching. (Which is a damned shame for OU's current undergrads, as his human & economic geography classes were some of the most interesting ones I took there.)
posted by ThatSomething at 9:09 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good suggestions, all. Thank you. I just sent off a note to an emeritus professor in the Geography department who what teaching there at the time. If I haven't heard from him by mid next week, I'll contact the archives.

Chaussette... - your bet matches my hunch from 1985. Good on ya.
posted by takenRoad at 9:10 PM on March 23, 2012

takenRoad, please do update (us, me) if you find out. I am curious.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 4:57 PM on March 24, 2012

Will do.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in the ongoing debate between Malthusians and Cornucopians, check out these two TED talks, given at the same conference recently:
Paul Gilding: the Earth is full
Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future.
posted by takenRoad at 2:21 PM on March 25, 2012

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