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American Environmental History (309-0-20)


Keith Mako Woodhouse
Harris Hall 215

Meeting Info

Locy Hall 111: Tues, Thurs 2:00PM - 3:20PM

Overview of class

This course will survey American history from the Colonial Era to the present with two premises in mind: that the natural world is not simply a passive background to human history but rather an active participant in historical change, and that human attitudes toward nature are both shaped by and in turn shape social, political, and economic behavior. The course will cover formal schools of thought about the natural world—from Transcendentalism to the conservation and environmental movements—but also discuss the many informal intersections of human activity and natural systems, from European colonialism to property regimes, migration and transportation, industry, consumer practices, war, technological innovation, political ideology, and food production.

Learning Objectives

How human and nonhuman history are bound together.
How the nonhuman world has shaped American history.
How to better analyze texts and construct arguments.

Evaluation Method

Three papers and participation in discussion sections.

Class Materials (Required)

Course reading materials will be articles, excerpts, and documents posted to Canvas.

Class Notes

History Area of Concentration: Americas

Class Attributes

Advanced Expression
Historical Studies Foundational Discipline
Historical Studies Distro Area
U.S. Perspectives on Power, Justice, and Equity
SDG Sustnble Cities&Commnities
SDG Responsible Consumption
SDG Climate Action
SDG Affordable and Clean Energy

Associated Classes

DIS - University Hall 312: Fri 10:00AM - 10:50AM

DIS - University Hall 218: Fri 11:00AM - 11:50AM

DIS - Kresge Centennial Hall 3-410: Fri 1:00PM - 1:50PM