Fall 2020


History 231: Oceans Past and Future


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, MW 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Social Science distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: Cultures & Ideas; Social Justice; Before Modernity


History 263: From Fark 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, TTh 11:30am-12:50pm

-Fulfills Social Science distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Social Justice


Spring 2021


History 155: Animal, Vegetable, & Mineral

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

-Fulfills Social Science distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism; Revolution, War, & Politics


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 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Social Science distribution and Environmental Studies requirements.

-History major: Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism; Before Modernity