Fall 2008

Green Roots: The Development of Western Environmentalism

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-22  |  History, as HIST-01


Jill R. Payne (Section 01)


(C) (Also Environmental Studies 22.) 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? When did they begin to be concerned about environmental degradation? To what extent is the notion of a “natural” environment a cultural construct? Moving from ancient Greece and Rome through to the present, we shall examine attitudes towards nature in mediaeval Europe and consider changes engendered by the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, Romanticism, and the germination of the North American “wilderness” ideal. We shall then go on to explore, through consideration of such issues as animal rights, landscape protection, eco-activism, eco-terrorism and eco-feminism, the evolution of preservationism and conservationism into contemporary European and North American environmentalism. Two class meetings per week. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Payne.