Fall 2007

Green Roots: The Development of Western Environmentalism

Listed in: History, as HIST-01


Jill R. Payne (Section 01)


This course compares and contrasts ways in which Western societies have thought about the 'natural' world and the place of humans within it. When--and why--did people begin to admire and value uncultivated land? To what extent is the notion of a 'natural' environment a cultural construct? Moving from Ancient Greece and Rome through to the present, the first section of the course will include the 'Dark' and Medieval periods, the Renaissance and the Reformation. The second half will explore the impact of the Industrial Revolution and the Romantic backlash, the germination of the North American 'wilderness' ideal, and the evolution of preservationism and conservationism into the European and North American environmentalism of today. First semester. Visiting Professor Payne.