FOR THE FALL:
THEO-044: Religion and Ecology
HIST-203: Global/Local food systems
This is a survey of contemporary global food system -- and its critics -- through the lens of history, economics, and science. We introduce the major themes in the history of 20th-century agriculture, including the move toward industrial food production in the developed world, agricultural commodity production for export in the developing world, the Green Revolution, and the emergence of biotechnology in agriculture. We will then turn toward the criticisms of this global and industrial food system and its alternatives. We explore such topics as agrarianism, ecology, and conservation in both the U.S. and around the world, critiques of the Green Revolution in the developing world, the rise of ‘fair trade,’ organic, and the current debates over GM crops. Although the class will focus on the scientific and social aspects of agricultural production, students will also be exposed to debates about marketing and consumption and ethical considerations of food and agriculture. The class will include trips to nearby farms and guest speakers.
Agricultural History of the last Century
Major crops and their derivation
Soil fertility and degradation
Water demands of agriculture: water footprints
Carbon footprints of farming
Agroecology and Permaculture
Livestock and livestock raising systems
Conservation and Sustainable systems
HIST-290: Oil and World Power
Faculty: David Painter
FOR THE SUMMER:
Hist 182-20: American Environmental History
Faculty: Kevin Powers
From the popularity of hybrid cars and the increasing ubiquity of energy-efficient light bulbs to the Obama's White House vegetable garden, interest in and concern for the environment among Americans now seems widespread – or at least fashionable. But as the rancorous debates over energy policy, “green” jobs, climate change, and energy independence suggest, we often seem no closer to solving many of our most fundamental environmental problems. Green attitudes cannot by themselves change the fact that our environmental problems have deep historical roots and are woven into our daily lives – where we live and work, how we travel, the energy we consume, the goods we purchase. How did we get to this point?
The broad purpose of our course will be to examine the evolving and reciprocal relationship between Americans and their environment from the colonial era to present day. Nonhuman nature is a dynamic force that has profoundly shaped human history; we will therefore consider how the physical environment of the North American continent influenced spatial patterns of settlement, population growth, and the course of economic development in American history. But humans have been at work (re)shaping the environment for quite some time, and few humans have reshaped the environment more than those living in the lands that now constitute the United States. And so a second focus will be to examine how the decisions Americans have made regarding how to feed themselves, where to live and work, and how to best produce and consume desired goods and services has dramatically altered the environment throughout history, for better and for worse. Finally, we will examine how Americans' understanding of and their attitude toward the environment has changed over time. Our purpose is not to indict present or past generations of Americans for their environmental decisions, but instead to understand why particular choices were made at particular places and at particular times, by whom, and also to ask who benefited from these choices, who was harmed, and why.