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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Fall 2003

HIS 350L • Topic 4 Envir History of North America-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36672 M
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
CAL 323
Carey

Course Description

Americans have a peculiar relationship to the world around them. Many of us work, play, shape, use, and invest in our environment; while at the same time we draw, photograph, and write about “nature.” But every time a person steps foot out of their front door, they understand the outside world and all those activities in it, in unique and individual ways. The timber company executive has a different view of nature than the loggers who cut the trees; the advertising firm that prints the REI catalogue thinks about wilderness differently than the people who hike, bike, and camp in it. Those are just the easy ones. Think about how Midwestern farmers, New York apartment dwellers, Texas cattle ranchers, and Jackson Hole ski bums feel about nature, and pretty soon you will begin to understand the wide variety of responses we Americans have to the world around us.

In this course, we will look at three major themes in Environmental History. First, what are natural spaces, so called wilderness areas? What does it mean to go camping in the wilderness? Where does civilization end and wilderness begin? What makes a natural space? How have Americans thought about and portrayed wilderness? Second, we will look at what we understand to be “civilized places” such as cities, suburbs, and other supposedly human environments. In this section, we will examine how Americans have created human landscapes, and how those places have played a role in American history over time. Finally, we will read and talk about the living world. How and why have humans manipulated plants and animals over time? What role have these same organisms played in our own history; how have they manipulated us?

Grading Policy

Weekly Comments 20% Class Participation 15% Review Essay (5-7 pages) 30% Personal Environmental History (12-15 pages) 35%

Texts

Cronon, William (1991). NATURE’S METROPOLIS: CHICAGO AND THE GREAT WEST. Crosby, Alfred (1972). COLUMBIAN EXCHANGE: BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL CONSEQUENCES OF 1492. Gottlieb, Robert (1993). FORCING THE SPRING: THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT. Jackson, Kenneth (1985). CRABGRASS FRONTIER: THE SUBURBANIZATION OF THE UNITED STATES. Jacoby, Karl (2001). CRIMES AGAINST NATURE: SQUATTERS, POACHERS, THIEVES, AND THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICAN CONSERVATION. Langston, Nancy (1995). FOREST DREAMS, FOREST NIGHTMARES: THE PARADOX OF OLD GROWTH IN THE INLAND WEST. McEvoy, Arthur (1986).THE FISHERMAN’S PROBLEM: ECOLOGY AND THE LAW IN THE CALIFORNIA FISHERIES, 1850-1980. Mintz, Sidney (1985). SWEETNESS AND POWER: THE PLACE OF SUGAR IN MODERN HISTORY. Novak, Barbara (1980). NATURE AND CULTURE: AMERICAN LANDSCAPE PAINTING, 1825-1875. Pollan, Michael (2001). THE BOTANY OF DESIRE: A PLANT’S EYE VIEW OF THE WORLD. Tomes, Nancy (1998). THE GOSPEL OF GERMS: MEN, WOMEN, AND THE MICROBE IN AMERICAN LIFE. White, Richard (1995). THE ORGANIC MACHINE: THE REMAKING OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER. Worster, Donald (1979). DUST BOWL: THE SOUTHERN PLAINS IN THE 1930S.

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