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Environmental History


Description: This course examines environmental problems from a historical perspective. We will begin with the dawn of agriculture, but most of the course focuses on our two centuries-long experiment with industrial civilization. The first two-thirds of the course sketches out the broad historical patterns in the ways that people have used natural resources. The last third of the course looks at the history of pollution generated by industry and considers important historical features of the American environmental movement, in particular the way that the movement has changed in response to changes in environmental problems. Throughout the course we will consider the following question: to what extent are individuals, households, and local communities contributing to our, as yet largely unsuccessful, collective efforts to control and stabilize the global environment? This question will lead us into an historical examination of sustainable development in both developed and developing countries.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None

Course Syllabus

Historic Course Instructors: