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CSER W3222 Nature and Power: Environmental History of the US. 0 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

This course will introduce students to the central concepts and key methodologies of environmental history through a survey of some of the leading episodes of ecological and social change in North America. Topics to be investigated include Indian uses of the environment; the reshaping of ecosystems under European colonization; the transfer of plants, animals, and diseases from Africa and Europe to the Americas; urbanization; eugenics; and the rise of the environmental justice movement. Environmental history casts into particularly sharp relief the ways in which the natural world can serve both to undermine and to reinforce the divisions within human societies.  Although all human beings share profound biological similarities, they nonetheless enjoy unequal access to natural resources and to healthy environments—differences that have frequently been justified by depicting such conditions as “natural.”