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COURSE NUMBER: HIST 359
COURSE TITLE: Environmental History of the Americas
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. William Van Arragon
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to the field of environmental history with general attention to the Americas. We will look at Indigenous views and uses of land and nature prior to colonialism, the impact of European settlers on nature and landscapes after 1492, and the contemporary manifestations of the environmental movement and the climate crisis. The course will explore these themes through specific historical case studies.

Prerequisites: HIST 204
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Charles Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus (2005)
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Review of Mann's 1491 (1500 words)20%
Research Essay (2500 words) 30%
Book Response Essay (1000 words) 15%
Final Exam 25%
Attendance and Participation10%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:After taking this course, students will: 
  • have been introduced to the main features of the field of Environmental History and to various interpretations of that history 
  • improved their skills in written and oral communication and in critical and analytical thinking; been introduced to some of the methods which historians use to reconstruct the past 
  • engaged in a reflection on the nature of history, the historical discipline and the relationship of Christianity to the study of environmental history. 
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Week 1-2: What is Environmental History? 
  • Week 3-5: The Americas before 1492 
  • Week 6-9: The Americas after the Encounter, 1500-1800s 
  • Week 10-14: North America, 1800-present


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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