Environment and History (HIST*2250) | College of Arts

Environment and History (HIST*2250)

Code and section: HIST*2250*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Andrew Moore


Instructor's email: amoore33@uoguelph.ca

Method of delivery: 

In person

Course Synopsis:

This course introduces students to the field of environmental history, including its major themes and uses. It demonstrates how interdisciplinary studies frame the historical interaction of culture and nature, and how they helps us to understand more fully the ecological history of our planet. Students will be introduced to the way that historians seek increasingly to integrate established concepts and traditions with cutting-edge scientific methods, including genetics, pollen studies, dendrochronology, climatology, and more. This course surveys the environmental history of the world on a global level, though focused at times on Europe and the Americas, with as much chronological breadth as possible. 

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Describe a broad view of global environmental history
  • Understand the importance of geography and environment for historical and cultural studies
  • Acquire an introductory understanding of the importance of primary historical sources and scientific proxy data and how to engage them
  • Acquire an introductory understanding of how and why environmental historians construct the past
  • Explain changes over time with respect to human interaction with the planet, as well as human perceptions and depictions of that interaction, including various important themes and concepts. 
  • Conduct research on an environmental history topic using the library’s print and electronic resources, structure an argument, and write an essay communicating clearly that argument

Evaluation and Weights:

Participation: 10% 
Essay Outline and Annotated Bibliography: 15%
Midterm: 20%
Final Essay: 25%
Final Exam: 30%

Texts Required:

  • Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. 10th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 
  • John McNeill, Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-century World. Penguin, 2000. 
  • John L. Brooke, Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 

*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 is distributed in the first class of the semester.