Fall 2017


History 232: Changing Landscapes - Introduction to Terrestrial Environmental History

Environmental history asks four main questions: what was the environment like in the past, how did it affect people, how did people affect it, and what did people think about it? This course will consider the answers to these questions by introducing major themes in environmental history. We will be looking at the ways that various landscapes around the world have shaped human history, and also how people have shaped these landscapes to better suit their needs and desires. Topics include the history and impact of agriculture, fire regimes, water use, urbanization, population growth, pollution, and energy regimes. We will also discuss the importance of changing perspectives of the terrestrial environment and the rise of environmentalism. Class will be conducted in a combined lecture/discussion format.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, MWF 9:00-9:50am

-Fulfills the department's Comparisons and Encounters requirement.


History 307: Beastly Modernity - Animals in the Nineteenth Century

Many people think that history has to be focused on humans. Furthermore, the modern era can seem like a period of minimal cohabitation with animals. But many of the dramatic changes in the nineteenth-century world in the transition to modernity were irrevocably linked to the ways that humans interacted with, used, and thought about other animals. By investigating human history around the globe with an eye to the nonhuman actors within it, you will learn more about the different ways that humans relate to other animals and the importance of other living beings in human lives in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. This course considers the factors that shaped some of the most important trends in modern history, including: more extensive and faster transportation networks, modern urban design, scientific research, how nature is used as a resource, and the global increase in mass extinctions and invasive species. Class will be discussion-based, including in-class debates and a presentation of your final research paper. May be elected as Environmental Studies 307, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 307 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, TTh 11:30am-12:50pm

-Fulfills the department's Comparisons and Encounters requirement.


Spring 2018


History 155: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral - Natural Resources in Global Environmental History

This course will focus on the ways in which the search for and use of natural resources has profoundly affected human history. We will examine the work of environmental historians along with primary sources relating to the history of conflicts over access to resources, resource extraction and transportation, and the resulting pollution (organic, chemical, and radioactive). Using these sources, we will discuss how historians ask and answer questions about the ways that resource availability has shaped human societies and cultures worldwide, as well as how particular societies have had dramatic impacts on the distributions of water, forests and other ecosystems, minerals, and plant and animal populations. While there will be some brief lectures, this course is primarily focused on reading, writing, and discussion. Assignments include analysis of primary sources, short papers, and a final paper project with presentation to the class. This course may be applied to the social sciences area foundation requirement for Environmental Studies majors.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am