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HIST 205.00 American Environmental History 6 credits

George H Vrtis

Environmental concerns, conflicts, and change mark the course of American history, from the distant colonial past to our own day. This course will consider the nature of these eco-cultural developments, focusing on the complicated ways that human thought and perception, culture and society, and natural processes and biota have all combined to forge Americans' changing relationship with the natural world. Topics will include Native American subsistence strategies, Euroamerican settlement, industrialization, urbanization, consumption, and the environmental movement. As we explore these issues, one of our overarching goals will be to develop an historical context for thinking deeply about contemporary environmental dilemmas.

HIST 308.00 American Cities and Nature 6 credits

George H Vrtis

Since the nation's founding, the percentage of Americans living in cities has risen nearly sixteenfold, from about five percent to the current eighty-one percent. This massive change has spawned legions of others, and all of them have bearing on the complex ways that American cities and city-dwellers have shaped and reshaped the natural world. This course will consider the nature of cities in American history, giving particular attention to the dynamic linkages binding these cultural epicenters to ecological communities, environmental forces and resource flows, to eco-politics and social values, and to those seemingly far-away places we call farms and wilderness. 

Prerequisite: History 205 is recommended but not required

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