How has “nature” been understood and investigated in the modern world? Building upon diverse approaches to environmental history and philosophy, the history of science, and cultural studies, this course surveys the major frameworks through which the environment has been understood, investigated, and transformed since the origins of global modernity. Such issues are explored with reference to the mobilization of science, technology, and politics in several major areas of socio- environmental transformation in the modern world. Case studies might explore, among other issues, empire, race, and public health; cities and infectious disease since the Black Death; the ‘great enclosures’ of land associated with settler colonialism; the ‘Green Revolution’ in industrial agriculture; strategies of resource stewardship, land conservation, terraforming, hydrological engineering and watershed protection; the politics of global warming; and current debates on urban sustainability, carbon capture and geo-engineering. The course also considers the rise and evolution of environmentalist movements and conservation strategies, and the contested visions of nature they have embraced. The course concludes by investigating the competing paradigms of knowledge, science, and environment that underpin divergent contemporary programs of environmental governance and visions of ‘sustainability’.


Tue Thu : 12:30 PM-01:50 PM

Pick Hall 319