Environmental History

HIST 25217  Decolonizing Science  (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow)  What does science look like from the perspective of colonized, indigenous, or otherwise marginalized people? How has science been used to justify domination during the age of imperialism? Can science and technology ever be morally neutral? How universal is science? What ways of knowing have existed in the past that provided systematic explanations for natural phenomena? This course will ask these and other questions about the global practice of the sciences from prehistory to the present and, when possible, view the sciences from the perspective of non-Western people. We will examine both the contributions of non-Western cultures to modern science as well the use of the sciences by Western powers as tools of colonization. We will also examine the methodological, epistemological, and ontological assumptions made by modern science and attempt to tease out some of their more problematic aspects. Topics may include the development of Islamic, Chinese, and Indian sciences; pre-Columbian mathematics and botany; indigenous cosmologies and astronomy; practical knowledge (e.g., Papuan taxonomic systems, Polynesian navigational astronomy, and West African botanical medicine); the use of science as a tool of subjugation or resistance; the racialization of medicine; phrenology, eugenics, and social Darwinism; indigenous resistance to nuclear weapons, fossil fuel companies, agribusiness, and climate change.

HIST 29529  Hawai‘i in Global Context, 1778–1959  (C. Kindell, Teaching Fellow)  Extinct volcanoes perched behind sun-soaked beaches; hula dancers and cocktails at hotel luaus; something with Spam followed by pineapple Dole whip. Cultural images like these dominate the popular imagination when one considers Hawai‘i in the twenty-first century. Yet less understood, and often unexplored in the classroom, is the Hawaiian Islands' rich, unusual, and disputed past. Adopting a global perspective, this course examines the history of this mid-Pacific "paradise" from its European discovery in 1778 to its acquisition of statehood in 1959. It will employ transnational, comparative, and micro-historical methods to demonstrate how Hawaiian history has been indelibly shaped by global developments, including indigeneity and colonial encounters, mercantilism and environmental exploitation, informal empire and the law, land and agricultural reform, health and depopulation, labor and immigration, commercial growth and urbanization, annexation and militarization, tourism and cultural commodification, and citizenship and statehood. Grades will be based on participation, weekly Canvas posts, peer review, and a series of written assignments— i.e. a research paper proposal and bibliography, primary source analysis, literature review, and rough draft—that culminate in a 10-page final research paper.