Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2012
Coordinator(s)David Garrioch


Previously coded HYM4180


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.


Written work: 75% (7000 words)
Take-home examination: 25%

Chief examiner(s)

David Garrioch

Contact hours

2 hours per week


ATS4303, GES4180, APG5303