UN2222: Nature and Power: Environmental History in North America | K. Jacoby
Tu Th 1:10-11:25AM
Environmental history seeks to expand the customary framework of historical inquiry, challenging students to construct narratives of the past that incorporate not only human beings but also the natural world with which human life is intimately intertwined. As a result, environmental history places at center stage a wide range of previously overlooked historical actors such as plants, animals, and diseases. Moreover, by locating nature within human history, environmental history encourages its practitioners to rethink some of the fundamental categories through which our understanding of the natural world is expressed: wilderness and civilization, wild and tame, natural and artificial. For those interested in the study of ethnicity, 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 have nonetheless enjoyed unequal access to natural resources and to healthy environments—differences that have all-too-frequently been justified by depicting such conditions as “natural.”
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