Hist/Lit US Environment
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Division: University-wide Programs
Department: Environmental Studies
Course Number: UENV 2500
Course Format: Studio
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
This course takes a literary approach to the history of American environmentalism. Starting with the journals of early explorers and settlers and surveying four centuries of nature writing, popular history, and journalism, the course will offer an introduction to American ideas of wilderness and the natural world and chart the ways in which they have changed from the colonial era to the digital age. Major topics include the birth of "the conservation movement" at the end of the 19th century; the "land ethic" and the rise of ecological thinking; the landmark wilderness preservation and antipollution campaigns of the 1960s and 70s; and contemporary issues including environmental justice and "ecoterrorism." Readings range from ''classic' works by Emerson, Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold to more contemporary pieces by Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, and John McPhee, among others; the role of photography and documentary film will also be explored. Students should emerge with a good grasp of the foundations and challenges of the environmental movement today, as well as an appreciation for the power of writing and image-making to shape public opinion and shift public policy."