History Department
History Department

Aaron Reynolds




HIS 350L • Global Environmntl Hist-Wb

38200 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM
Internet; Synchronous

Global Environmental History explores how human societies and natural environments have shaped each other in world history. This semester, we will focus on the theme of climate change. The planet is currently warming at a rate unprecedented in human history, yet historial perspectives can help us face this present-day problem. This course will examine how a variety of human cultures have understood and responded to changing climates in the recent and deep past. By exploring topics from the “Little Ice Age” to melting Andean glaciers, we will consider how both natural and anthropogenic climate variability has historically shaped migration, colonialism, war, technology, perceptions of nature, and cultural values. We will also analyze how historical shifts in practices of land use, industrialization, and capitalism have led to global warming. Finally, we will trace how researchers have pieced together our contemporary understanding of climate science and how politics and culture have shaped societies’ responses.

This course is an upper-division, reading- and writing-intensive seminar. It acts as an introduction to the growing field of environmental history, as well as to a variety of approaches to understanding history at a scale beyond the nation-state. It carries Independent Inquiry, Global Cultures, and Writing Flag designations.

Readings may include books, or selections, such as the following:
Carey, Mark. In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Degroot, Dagomar. The Frigid Golden Age: Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, and the Dutch Republic, 1560–1720. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Fagan, Brian. The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization. Basic Books, 2005.
Malm, Andreas. Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. Verso Books, 2016.
Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Bloomsbury press, 2011.
Robin, Libby, Sverker Sörlin, and Paul Warde. The Future of Nature: Documents of Global Change. Yale University Press, 2013.
White, Sam. The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery of Global Warming. Harvard University Press, 2008.
Zilberstein, Anya. A Temperate Empire: Making Climate Change in Early America. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Grades will be based on a research project (60% total), several short reflection essays (20%), and participation, which includes signing up and leading class discussion at least once in the semester (20%).

HIS 315L • The United States Since 1865

38065 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WCH 1.120

Lectures, readings, videos, maps, and photos are used to provide students with a survey of US history from Reconstruction to 2000. As such, students will study significant aspects of the nation's political, economic, cultural, and diplomatic history and will be challenged to understand the why, how, and so what of this history. Students begin with learning about what happened and then proceed to questions of causality and consequence. Moving from what happened to why or how, and then, to so what, students will sharpen their skills in critical thinking.



• Selected articles or documents posted on Canvas.

  • Eric Foner, Give Us Liberty, 2 Brief Fifth ed.

    Voices of Freedom, 5th Edition, vol. 2, edited by Eric Foner

    • The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics, by Bruce Schulman


1st Midterm Exam, 30% course grade

2nd Midterm Exam, 30% course grade


Map quizzes10% course grad


Multiple Choice Final Exam, 30% course grade

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