The seminar is a one-semester introduction to some of the most interesting recent literature of American environmental history, read principally for the theories and methodologies it can offer scholars and scientists as well as its implications for contemporary environmental politics and management. The seminar assumes no previous coursework in the field, and students with a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to participate. We will read a number of the most important works that have been produced in the field during the past twenty years, with an eye to exploring the different themes and methods that have shaped this body of scholarship, trying to assess how the field has evolved and where it might be headed in the future. Our goal will be to evaluate these texts with a critical but sympathetic eye, trying to discover ways in which their approaches might be helpful to our own work. At the same time, we'll use this literature to think about the more general process of conceiving, conducting, and writing research about the past (whether within the disciplines of history, geography, ecology, environmental studies, natural resource management, literature, and others) trying to gain as much practical wisdom as we can about how to do theses and dissertations. We will also talk about strategies for teaching this material in the undergraduate classroom.
During the fall semester of 2016, the seminar will meet from 1:00-4:00pm on Tuesdays in 202-204 Bradley Memorial Hall, home of UW-Madison's Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE).
The initial syllabus for Fall 2016 (which will evolve as the semester goes on) is available here: PDF
Cronon, "Kennecott Journey" PDF