This course provides an introduction to the subject of environmental change in American history, covering topics on human-nature interactions from the colonial period to the recent past. Students engage environmental history from four different angles. First, they consider how humans have depended on, interacted with, and been shaped by the natural world over time. Second, they study how Americans have perceived and assigned meaning to the natural world around them. Third, they learn how human attitudes and actions have altered or reshaped the American landscape. Fourth, they become sensitive to the gendered, class, and racial aspects of environmental change. Topics covered in this course include food and agriculture, industrial technologies and transportation, energy production and consumption, urbanization and sprawl, public lands and public works, environmental politics and law, toxic pollution and health, natural disasters, and climate change. Instruction in this course is divided between lecture, discussion, and small-group and/or individual activities. Students work with a variety of readings, documents, and multi-media materials.
Photo: Phelps Lake, Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming