Nature and History (3) A broad introduction to the history of human relationships with nature throughout the world.
HIST 110 Nature and History (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
The human relationship with the natural environment-the world of plants, animals, and microbes, of air, water, and land-is an important historical subject. History 110 provides a broad, thematic description and analysis of major global trends and shifts, with an emphasis on contemporary issues and problem solving. The most important goal of the course is to provide students with the historical context necessary to construct a thoughtful appreciation of the environmental dilemmas of our time.
History 110 encourages students to break down the barriers that often divide the humanities and the sciences. This course utilizes environmental science to demonstrate and explain specific human tendencies. Finally, this course-as is any in world history-is structured to at least diminish students' American-centered view of both the past and environmental concerns. Particularly in relation to contemporary environmental issues, we hope History 110 will make clear that many environmental problems are local in neither their construction nor impact.
Ecology has contributed a great deal to historical understanding in terms of specific examples or case studies; however, it has also begun to reconstruct the overall structure of the history that we teach. History 110 seeks to exploit this new paradigm by following a topical organization that is structured around human modes of interaction with the environment. In Unit 1 the course borrows its structure from geography and the natural sciences. Students will be able to consider a wide range of human activity as well as to better comprehend similarities in ideas, ethics and concepts from around the world and throughout history. In Unit 2 the course steps out of chronological limitations to embrace two topics that span human history. By studying such topics, of course, students may see change over time contextualized by a shared concern or resource. Unit 3 is designed to reinforce the global nature of the course and the concerns that we study within it. We will highlight interdependence by including issues that link students' local environment with distant others.
The lectures and discussions will focus on several critical points, including: How has the non-human world shaped the course of human history? What were the environmental impacts of historic changes in the ways humans produced and consumed resources? What ideas shaped the ways different groups of people defined and used specific resources? What role have science and technology played in changing popular attitudes about the human place in the world?