Environmental History

HIST 25114  Natural History and Empire, circa 1400–1800  (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow)  How did European imperial expansion transform knowledge of natural history in the early modern period? This course will examine the systematic observational body of knowledge of the physical world of plants, animals, environments, and (sometimes) people in the context of European imperial expansion during the early modern era (1400–1800). Topics and themes will include early modern sources of natural history from antiquity and their (re)interpretation in imperial context; early modern collecting cultures and cabinets of curiosities; Linnaeus and the origins of taxonomy; botany, animal husbandry, and the concept of "improving" nature; the relationship between natural commodities and commerce; the ecological and environmental consequences of European encounters with the Americas; attempts by nations without overseas empires (or those that had lost them) to replicate the economics of empire through various managerial schemes; early modern notions of climate and its effects on health and "character"; the influence of natural history on the emerging concepts of race and gender; and the role of indigenous knowledge in the development of early modern science.

HIST 29527 The Spatial History of Nineteenth-Century Cities: Tokyo, London, New York  (S. Burns)  The late-nineteenth century saw the transformation of cities around the world as a result of urbanization, industrialization, migration, and the rise of public health. This course will take a spatial history approach; that is, we will explore the transformation of London, Tokyo, and New York over the course of the nineteenth century by focusing on the material "space" of the city. For example, where did new immigrants settle and why? Why were there higher rates of infectious disease in some areas than in others? How did new forms of public transportation shape the ability to move around the city, rendering some areas more central than others? To explore questions such as these, students will be introduced to ArcGIS in four lab sessions and asked to develop an original research project that integrates maps produced in Arc. No prior ArcGIS experience is necessary, although students will be expected to have familiarity with Microsoft Excel and a willingness to experiment with digital methods. Assignments: Discussion posts, homework (mapping), and a final research project.