Course code EDS350

EDS350 Miljøhistorie

English course information

Søk etter andre emner

Viser emneinfo for studieåret 2021 - 2022.

Emneansvarlige: Peter Gufu Oba
Studiepoeng: 10
Ansvarlig fakultet: Fakultet for landskap og samfunn
Frekvens: Årlig
Undervises på språk: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Begrensning antall plasser:
Undervises i periode:
Emnet starter i vårparallellen. Emnet har undervisning/vurdering i vårparallellen, .
Første gang: Studieår 2014-2015
Siste gang: 2022V
Fortrinnsrett: M-IES
Undervises hvor?: Campus Ås
Emnets innhold:

The Environmental History (EH) (previous taught under Ecology and society) presents students with knowledge of the fundamentals of environment, history and human societies, past and present. The course by blending biological ecology, with social science and environmental history, provides a better understanding of the relationships between environment and social changes. The course further examines relations between human needs and environmental stressors from the ancient times to the present. It examines resource diversity, uses by societies and their adaptations to environmental changes. It covers both natural and human made ecosystems. Knowledge of cultural landscapes and human environmental impacts uses the tool of environmental history to understand how human societies through time adapted to the changing climate and environment. The course specifically examines changes in human cultural environments using environmental changes. An aspect of this learning will be the role played by climatology in driving ecological and social systems through time. Environmental desiccation and climate change will be examined from historical and contemporary perspectives. Understanding environmental and societal relations in the dry lands in particular will be related to history of water and the cultures of water management. In this aspect, the course will examine human adaptations in the dry lands, considering ecology of degradation, climate change and societies¿ responses using site and geographically specific case studies. These backgrounds will draw on lessons on continuities and collapses in past human civilizations. Changes in local landscapes (both natural and human made) would be examined from ecological and social perspectives. These will be related to historical relations between cultures and environments, taking global and local perspectives as an approach to learning. At local scales, the course deals with natural ecosystems and societies.

The course will guide students to focus on risk management in vulnerable environments. Finally, EH provides students with a solid anchor of theoretical and practical knowledge of environmental and social change by giving an overview of global environmental history. Regional case studies will be used.

The course is organized around six (6) thematic areas.

Theme 1: Defining environment and history: from environmental history and cultural perspectives.

Theme 2: Global human demands and ecological systems

Theme 3:  Socio- ecological systems

Theme 4: Past environmental-social systems.

Theme 5:  Climate change and adaptations

Theme 6: Degrading world ecosystems and history of environmental change.


a) The students will synthesize Environmental Historical knowledge, understand processes, relations and impacts using global, regional and local case studies; b) the teaching will develop solid knowledge of environmental history as a subject of social change and; c) in depth knowledge of problems of managing natural ecosystems and discuss possible solutions.

This is an interdisciplinary course that requires students to synthesize ideas holistically related to the management of global environments with humans as central players. Students will gain insights into historical drivers of change and become familiar with theoretical and practical issues related to management of Global environments. The learning goals are critical thinking on how societies both in the past and the present respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, as well as management decisions to offset disturbances.

These are achieved through six approaches: 1. Through lectures and class seminars as well as reading assignments to: blending application of EH with social adaptations to diversities of climates through recent earth history, 3. Analyse relations between history of cultural landscapes and human environmental impacts, 4. Learning changes in environmental and social history for understanding human adaptations to environmental changes, 5. Understanding roles of climate in environmental changes:- understanding water history in dry lands, 6. Understanding relations between human cultures and history of environmental changes.
The teacher responsible for the course will guide lectures. Student seminars will be conducted by students working as individuals and in groups. The student learning will be by both independent and group work. The course philosophy is to encourage students to pursue their interests using lectures and seminars to support the learning process.

There is no set book in this course. The teacher concerned will use wide range of sources and students are advised to read on their own some directed and preferred references. The lectures will draw on the following sources,

1:  Gufu Oba, 2014, Climate change adaptation in Africa: An historical ecology, Routledge.

2: Brian Fagan, 2011, Elixir: A history of water and humankind, Bloomsburry Press.

3: Brian Fagan 2008, The Great warming: Climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations, Bloomsburry Press.

4. Brian Fagan 2000, The Little Ice Age: How climate made history 1300-1850, Basic Books.

5. Sing C. Chew 2001, World ecological degradation: Accumulation, urbanization, and deforestation, 3000 B.C.- A.D. 2000,  Altamira Press.

6.  Sing C. Chew 2008, Ecological futures: what history can teach us, Altamira.

7. Charles L. Redman1999, Human impact on ancient environments, The University of Arizona Press.

8. Jared Diamond 2005, Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed, Viking.

9. Alfred W. Crosby 2004, Ecological imperialism: The biological expansion of Europe, 900-1900, Cambridge.

10. Jared Diamond 1997, Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies, W.W. Norton & Co.

11. Grove A. T. and Oliver Rackhamm 2001 The nature of Mediterranean Europe: An ecological history, Yale University Press.

12. Joseph A. Tainter 1988, The collapse of complex societies, Cambridge University Press.

13. Jonathan Cowie, 2013, Climate change: Biological and Human aspects, Cambridge University Press

15. John L. Brooke 2014, Climate change and the course of global history: A rough journey, CUP

16: Donald Worster 1990, Nature¿s economy: A history of ecological ideas, CUP.

17. Donald Worster 2004, Dust bowl: The southern plains in the 1930s, Oxford University Press

Forutsatte forkunnskaper:
Bachelorgrad eller tilsvarende
Anbefalte forkunnskaper:
Students taking this class should have the background of the core course EDS 303: Introduction to international environmental studies
Obligatorisk aktivitet:
Participation in lectures and class seminars
Class seminars and a one time student project are compulsory. Class attendance accounts for 10% of the final mark, seminars & student reviews of their readings and group presentations account for 60% and a one time-student project accounting for 30%. These are the only examinations. The combined assignments will be graded A-F. 
Class seminars will be evaluated by the teacher, while group exercise will involve an extrernal sensor
Normert arbeidsmengde:
Total work load for this course including reading is 25 hours per credit. The course is 10 credit. This means the students will be expected to spend a total of 250 hours of learning of various activities including consultations on this course
2 double lecture hours per week. Students are expected to sit for 4 hours in lectures and seminars per week
Eksamensdetaljer: Mappevurdering: Bokstavkarakterer