Environmental history is a relatively new field that studies how humans have interacted with nature. In the U.S., it is well integrated with the national story east-west expansion, but this course reaches outside the familiar terrain of American history to include Canada and Mexico. The comparisons feel straightforward in the colonial period. But the legacies of empire, geography and environment continue to shape current conditions in each part of North America. We will ask how nature shapes patterns of change in different regions of the continent (British, French, Spanish and American empires) and how human attitudes toward nature shape cultural, material and political life.
From colonial times to the present, each has faced the question of sustainability in different ways, and each has developed different approaches to conservation and environmental protection. The class does not assume prior knowledge of American, Canadian or Mexican history. Some familiarity with one or more is helpful. Class will meet each week to discuss assigned readings. The readings are entirely electronic and consist of electronic books, journal articles and or chapters from larger works that are posted on the course Ctools site.
Every week students should prepare one or more discussion question on the week’s readings and post it on the class CTools site prior to Monday morning. The questions you post are a record of how you have engaged the material and I will use them and some of my own to guide the discussion each week.
You will also prepare three very short review papers (6-8 pages) that critique and compare the perspectives in the assigned readings. Because you are dealing with three different national literatures, there will be unfamiliar viewpoints at work. Your paper needs to offer an argument about which interpretation is most convincing. Because this is a seminar, discussion is the other major component of the grade. Attendance and participation are essential.
No data submitted