Fall 2018


History 205: East Asian Environmental History


This course will examine human-environment interaction within the large, diverse area known as East Asia (approximately covering modern China, Korea and Japan). We will begin with pre-agricultural history and then focus on environmental topics within three broad time periods. The first period will cover from approximately 1000 BCE to 1300 CE, the period in which intensive rice cultivation spread through East Asia; the second period covers the early modern era, broadly defined as ~1300 CE to the mid-1800s, a period of imperial expansion outside and within East Asia; the final period covers the modern industrial era and its particular impacts on the environment. This course assumes no familiarity with East Asian history. If you are familiar with some East Asian history, the focus on the environment should provide you with a new perspective on what you know. Class will be conducted in a combined lecture/discussion format.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50pm

-Fulfills the College's Cultural Pluralism requirement.


History 231: Intro to Marine Environmental History

Even though oceans cover approximately 70% of the earth's surface, environmental historians have focused most strongly on the terrestrial environment. The maritime environment influences human life in many ways, from regulating the global climate to changing or eroding the land we live on; from offering connections between far-flung areas to providing a source of food and entertainment. By examining the history of the marine environment, and the political, economic, and cultural influence of the sea, we can better understand environmental problems covering the entire globe. The course is a mixture of discussion and lecture.

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



History 263: From Farm to Fork - Slow Food, Fast Food

Over the last two centuries food production moved from peasant subsistence level to our contemporary factory farms and mass production of food. How and why did this happen? What role did urbanization, expanding markets, and globalization play? How important was the US in shaping European agriculture norms? This course explores the shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy and its impact on food, farms, and national food cultures. Concentrating on France and Great Britain, we'll look at the relationship between factory farms and artisanal production. We'll parse the powers of technology, the state, producers, and consumers. From agricultural science to back to the land movements to European Union regulations and how these shape farmers' choices, we'll explore how modern developments changed farming, eating, and the land. Based in the reading and discussion of primary and secondary sources, this seminar requires class presentations, short papers, and a final short research project. May be taken for credit toward the social science credit toward Environmental Studies major or Environmental Studies-History major.

Prof. Sharp, 4 credits, MWF 11:00am-11:50am


History 355: Pacific Whaling History

From aboriginal shore-based hunts to modern factory ship whaling, the pursuit of whales has drawn people together and set them at odds with each other, particularly since the rise of the environmental movement. This seminar will look at the history of whaling throughout the Pacific Basin, from the west coast of the Americas to Japan and Australia, and all the waters in between. Using a mixture of primary and secondary sources, we will consider in particular the environmental impact of whaling in different areas of the Pacific, as well as the role of environmentalism in changing attitudes towards whaling in the twentieth century. This course is discussion-based, with paper and presentation assignments.

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


Spring 2019


History 206: European Environmental History to 1800

This course explores how Europeans interacted with and thought about the natural world between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Industrial Age. We will trace this interaction from the early medieval migration period through the changing demographic patterns of the central and later Middle Ages, and conclude with the industrialization of the late eighteenth century. Archaeological evidence, along with primary and secondary sources will allow us to discuss climactic shifts, the active changes humans made to the landscape (such as reclamation and deforestation), and changing cultural attitudes toward nature. We will continually consider how this history can inform contemporary debates about the environment and its degradation. May be taken for credit toward the social sciences foundation of the Environmental Studies major.

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50pm