Environment and History (HIST*2250)
Code and section: HIST*2250*DE01
Term: Fall 2021
Instructor: Susan Nance
Method of Delivery:
Online: this course is offered in distance education format. There are no synchronous meetings.
An introduction to the field of environmental history - its nature and uses. This course provides a historical perspective to environmental issues. It examines the causes and impact of human-induced modification of the natural world in selected areas of the globe, the evolution of attitudes and ideas about the natural world over time and the growth of conservation/environmental issues and movements. Using North America as a case study, this course provides an introduction to the field of environmental history, and a historical perspective to human existence in and interaction with the natural world. It examines the ways the physical environment, weather patterns, nonhuman animals and plant life have shaped human life, as well as the causes and effects of human-induced modification of the natural world. It also asks students to consider the evolution of attitudes about and depiction of non-human life and the environment, as well as the evolving arguments of conservation/environmental advocates and their opponnets over time.
Course Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Describe a broad view of North American environmental history;
- Explain thematic interpretations of that history by way of various concepts and the tension between them, including: anthropocene, agency, power, nature and wilderness, progress and improvement, agrarian myth, pollution, exponential growth theory, environmental justice, and eco-terrorism;
- Communicate research findings and syntheses of assigned reading to peers;
- Write short pieces on topics relevant to you;
- Conduct secondary and primary source research using online archives and libraries;
- Explain the power and limits of human agency with respect to the environment and the forces of nature;
- Explain changes over time with respect to human interaction with the planet, as well as the human perceptions of and depictions of that interaction; and
- Observe and analyze contemporary events and questions about human interaction with the planet and nonhuman species.
Method of Evaluation & Weights:
Week 1 Introduction & Webquest - 5%
Online Discussions (2) - 30%
Short Essay - 20%
Primary Source Presentation - 15%
Final Exam (Take-home) - 30%
James Murton, Canadians and their Natural Environment, 1st ed. (Oxford University PRess, 2021).
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, As Long as the Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (Beason Press, 2020).
PLUS a selection of chapters, articles, videos, and other assigned materials available through our Courselink site.
**Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**