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Global Environments and World History (376-0-20)


Helen Louise Tilley
Harris Hall - Room 335

Meeting Info

University Hall 121: Tues, Thurs 2:00PM - 3:20PM

Overview of class

Environmental problems have become part and parcel of popular consciousness: resources are being depleted at a record pace, human population levels have crossed the eight billion threshold, extreme poverty defines the majority of people's daily lives, toxic contaminants affect all ecosystems, increasing numbers of species face extinction, consumerism and the commodification of nature show no signs of abating, climate change wreaks havoc in different places every year, and weapons and energy systems continue to proliferate that risk the planet's viability.

This introductory lecture course is designed to help you understand the relatively recent origins of many of these problems, focusing especially on the last one hundred and fifty years. You will have an opportunity to learn about the environmental effects of urbanization, industrialization, population growth, market economies, empire-building, intercontinental warfare, energy extraction, and new technologies. You will also explore different environmental philosophies and analytic frameworks that help us make sense of historical change, including political ecology, environmental history, science studies, and global history. The course will examine a range of transnational organizations, social movements, and state policies that have attempted to address and resolve environmental problems.

Learning Objectives

1. Develop your historical reasoning skills based on a close analysis of secondary sources for nine environmental topics dissected carefully in sections each week.

2. Analyze the social, economic, cultural, and political systems in different parts of the world that have contributed to environmental problems.

3. Assess how unequal power dynamics and expert systems, including technologies and infrastructures, have helped generate and/or resolve environmental problems. Construct historical arguments of your own using secondary sources with the goal of exploring the origins and/or root causes of key environmental problems.

Evaluation Method

Essays 60% Lecture & Discussion Exercises 30% Rewrites 10%

Class Attributes

Advanced Expression
Historical Studies Foundational Discipline
Social and Behavioral Science Foundational Discipl
Historical Studies Distro Area
Global Perspectives on Power, Justice, and Equity
Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
SDG Sustnble Cities&Commnities
SDG Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG Innovation & Infrastructure

Associated Classes

DIS - Harris Hall L05: Fri 10:00AM - 10:50AM

DIS - University Hall 318: Fri 11:00AM - 11:50AM

DIS - Harris Hall L04: Fri 12:00PM - 12:50PM