HIST 2581 Environmental History (HB) (HA-AS)
Tuesday and Thursday: 11:15-12:05
Professor Aaron Sachs
Is this tourist thinking about the Native Americans who were violently removed from Yosemite before it became a “protected” area?
This course serves as an introduction to the historical study of humanity’s interrelationship with the natural world. Though we will be very careful not to judge the people of the past according to 21st-century ecological standards, we will certainly spend a lot of time drawing connections between past events and present-day environmental concerns. This is an interdisciplinary course, incorporating approaches not only from history but also from ecology, public policy, law, economics, geography, anthropology, literary studies, philosophy, and art history.
Ultimately, how is it that America’s national identity became so wrapped up in both the exploitation of nature and the protection of nature? How is it that the United States is a worldwide leader in wilderness preservation and a leading shirker in climate change action?
NOTE: THIS COURSE’S PEDAGOGICAL FLEXIBILITY MAKES IT APPROPRIATE FOR ALL STUDENTS, FROM UNDECLARED FRESHMEN TO SENIOR HISTORY MAJORS.