HIS 392 • Environmental History
4:00 PM-7:00 PM
This one-semester introduction to environmental history will examine some of the recent literature of environmental history. It will survey various theories and methodologies currently being used to write environmental history as well as those used in the past. We will assess how the field has evolved and attempt to determine where it might be headed in the future. As with the field itself , this course will focus on human interaction with the natural world, chart how nature has influenced the development of human life and technologies, and discuss the various political, intellectual, cultural, economic, and social meanings that people have attached to the environment at different moments in history. This course will be based on weekly meetings to discuss readings that will be organized topically. Students will be required to write brief reviews of each week's reading and also on a larger historiographic paper on a sub-topic of their own devising.
Among the questions explored: - What is the concept of "nature?" - What role has science played in our understanding of the environment? - How has environmental history been organized around different narratives? - What is the relationship between environmental history and social and cultural history?
Readings will likely include the following: William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis Karl Jacoby, Crimes Against Nature Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Waste Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities: Class, Race, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana Shepard Krech, The Ecological Indian: Myth and History Virginia Scharff, ed. Seeing Nature Through Gender