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HYM4180 - Images of the Natural World: Issues in Environmental History

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: David Garrioch


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit is a history of the way people have related to and thought about the natural environment in the past. It will provide an introduction to recent literature on environmental history, including the environmental consequences of European expansion into the New World, of industrialization and imperialism, and of medicine and science. Attention will also be given to climate change, plagues and other diseases, and the depletion of natural resources. The subject will conclude with some reflections on the historical underpinnings of current debates about global pollution, population, and global warming.


In addition to the general objectives for fourth year defined by the School of Geography and the School of Historical Studies, students successfully completing this subject will have:

  1. A general grasp of the two-way interaction between social practices and the environment in the past.
  2. An understanding of changing Western ideas about the natural world.
  3. An awareness of the way that current environmental debates are based on historically-determined conceptions of the environment and of the place of humans within it.
  4. A grasp of the principal debates in environmental history.
  5. An ability to find and use a wide range of historical sources, including visual sources.


Essay (2000 words): 25%
Research essay (5000 words): 50%
Take-home examination (2000 words): 25%

Contact hours

2 hours per week


HSY4180, GES4180, HYM5180