Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24
Available as a Free Standing Elective
The scale and pace of human-generated environmental change, which has occurred in the wake of global industrialization, is historically unprecedented. This module will explore the social and cultural changes that led to this revolution in the relationship of humans to their environments, and how modern environmentalism emerged through cultural responses to it. We will explore the contentious meaning of such terms as 'the environment', 'nature' and 'wilderness', the tension between social and natural histories, and the role/s of science, technology, colonialism, imperialism and ideology in reshaping the concepts of the environment. The module will focus on an analysis of the political, religious and scientific beliefs that have shaped society's relationship with nature, and how such relationships have been challenged by competing visions of progress, modernity and a sustainable future in the light of on-going environmental change. Principally, this module will provide an intellectual and political history of attitudes to the environment from the eighteenth century to the present.
To introduce students to the developing field of environmental history through the study of humanity's relationship with nature in the modern era.To explore how past societies have interacted with their environment, both natural and man-made, and how this interaction has informed and been informed by cultural, social and political developments over the last two hundred years.To explore the roots of diverse attitudes to nature, from resource exploitation to modern environmentalism, by examining environmental change within a cultural and social context.To consider the controversies surrounding the use of ideas such as 'nature'; 'wilderness'; or 'sustainability', and their impact on how the material world has been understood in the modern era.
Intended Learning Outcomes
display increased appreciation of the relationship between history, ideology and the systematic study of the natural world: 1,2analyse the links between historical debates and present social and political concerns: 1,2evaluate the tension between social and natural histories, and the role of religion, science, imperialism, nationalism, modernity or ideology in shaping these tensions: 1,2show an awareness of how the study of the past can increase our understanding of contemporary issues and concerns: 1,2
12 hours lectures, 12 hours seminars, 12 hours online contact. 50 hours of seminar preparation, 20 hours presentation preparation, 44 hours commentary preparation.
1: Commentary weighted 80%
Description of Module Assessment
Commentary on others' presentationsStudents are required to submit two commentaries of 1000 words each, with each regarding the debates raised in a presentation from their peers.2: Group Presentation weighted 20%
PresentationStudents will conduct a 10 - 15 minute presentation on one of the seminar topics for the module. They will submit slides (equivalent to 500 words each) and will receive an individual mark.