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Fall 2024

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 1-2:20pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism, Social Science, Individual & Society, Global Cultures & Languages, and/or Studying the Past distribution, as well as SAMES and Environmental Studies electives.

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

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 10-11:20am

-Fulfills Social Science distribution, as well as Global Studies and Environmental Studies electives.

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

Spring 2025

"Energy" is a complex category with a deep and complex history, including fuels and technologies, uses and values, choices and implications. How did people of the past think about light, heat, transportation, forces of production? What kind of work produced cordwood, kerosene, coal, copper wire? When does this look like a national story, and when a tale of private "enterprise"? Does a long history of energy help us situate questions of our own times? Focusing on the U.S. from the late 18th century to the early 21st, we will explore such themes as "nature" and "resources"; options, choices, and whose choices; geographies of transmission; commodification, cost, and whose cost; networks of use, purpose, and power.

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

-Fulfills Social Science distribution, as well as Environmental Studies elective.

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

This interdisciplinary and interdivisional course will provide an integrative exploration into the environmental history and ethnobiology of peoples along various branches of the trading routes across Asia known as the silk roads, with an emphasis on China prior to 1400. Topics focus on how local environments shaped how people lived, including: how, where and why people moved; what goods and technologies were traded; how trade impacted agricultural, social and religious practices; what key biological features underlay the movement along the silk road of items such as foods, beverages, fibers, animals, and diseases. May be elected as Environmental Studies 321, but must be elected as Environmental Studies 321 to satisfy the interdisciplinary course requirement in environmental studies.

Prof.s Dott and Dobson, 4 credits, MWF 10-10:50am, Th 9-9:50am

-Fulfills Social Science, Global Cultures & Languages, or Studying the Past distribution, as well as SAMES, and Global Studies electives.

-History major: pre-modern; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity

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