World Environmental History, 1500-Present [CRN 31315]

Discipline: History
Instructor: Duffy
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1400
End: 1520
Field Work: Day 1 | March 30, 2019 | Ghana
Prerequisites: Completion of no fewer than 45 credits, including a minimum of three (3) history credits Download Syllabus

Environmental history examines human relations with the environment in the past. This relatively new field offers fresh and valuable perspective on historical developments and on contemporary environmental issues. HIST 470 introduces students to the methods, sources, development, content, and contributions of world environmental history. More broadly, it familiarizes students with historiography and the practice of history. Course materials provide a thematic approach to the field, examining key points of inquiry such as ideas of nature, environmentalism, cities and the built environment, climate change, natural resources, imperialism, and environmental justice and injustice. As we travel around the world, this course will highlight subjects and stories that resonate with specific points along our voyage. Through assignments, discussions, and other activities, we will place these subjects in a global framework, highlighting patterns and connections across space and time. This course aims to expose the critical roles that the environment plays in human affairs. In the process, it will deepen your awareness of and appreciation for the wider world.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 1
Date: March 30, 2019

This field class will expose students to environmental conservation in a non-Western context. We will tour Kakum National Park and meet with park officials. We will use the experience to investigate local conceptions of nature, environmental impact, environmental exploitation, and environmental preservation in the past and present. Kakum National Park represents human views of and appreciation for the environment, natural beauty, and conservation. It also has the distinction of having been established by local initiative, rather than top-down implementation. The class will also have the opportunity to visit the International Stingless Bee Center near Kakum National Park. These experiences will allow students to experience the interplay of politics and nature that characterizes environmental history.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify human impact on landscapes and ‘natural’ spaces
  • Distinguish between ‘built’ and ‘natural’ environments
  • Deconstruct and distinguish global perceptions of nature
  • Understand the role of imperialism in the history of environmental exploitation and environmental conservation