Environmental History

The natural environment has shaped all of human history. For millennia, from the first human uses of fire and early agriculture to our new world of power plants, specialized chemicals, and global supply chains, people and nature have been intertwined in myriad complex relationships.  Environmental history is the study of these relationships. How have people perceived and shaped nature?  How have they adapted to a changing natural world?  Environmental history can help students understand the roots of contemporary debates over climate change and farm policy, and also gain insights into the very different ways that people have lived in the past. Yale historians study the environmental history of all geographic regions of the world, using the diverse vantage points of political, economic, social, scientific, demographic, and cultural analysis. Yale undergraduates have written senior essays on wide-ranging topics, including environmental justice activism, the local food movement, suburban sprawl, urban gardening, environmental politics, bio-warfare, national parks and forests, irrigation and rural settlement, and international trade. 
 
Faculty advisers: Ivano Dal Prete, Rohit De, Fabian Drixler, Paul Freedman, Daniel Magaziner, Joseph Manning, Alan Mikhail, Peter Perdue, William Rankin, Paul Sabin, Keith Wrightson
 
Specialist Track requirements: Students specializing in this region must complete at least five of the courses listed below. For additional requirements of the major, see Requirements of the Major.
 
Course numbers: History course numbers denote region of the world rather than degree of difficulty. 100-level courses are U.S. history; 200-level are European history; 300-level include courses from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America; 400-level courses are global, covering many regions of the world.
 
Course numbers also convey information about the type of course being offered. Courses beginning with “0” (i.e. HIST 012) are freshman seminars; courses with a three-digit number (i.e. HIST 113) are lectures, open to all students; courses with a “J” suffix (i.e. HIST 136J) are departmental seminars.
 
Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to include other HIST courses within a pathway if their written work for the course is directly relevant to the pathway.
 
Retired courses: Courses offered in previous years (and no longer being actively taught) can be found on the list of “Retired Courses.” Please consult that list for region and pathway designations.
 
* Courses being taught in 2016-2017
 
Freshman seminars

*

HIST

030

Drixler

Fabian

Tokyo

 

HIST

015

Freedman

Paul

History of Food and Cuisine

 

HIST

020

Manning/Weiss

Joseph/Harvey

Rivers and Civilization (PI)

 

HIST

039

De

Rohit

Mumbai: Life in a Megacity

 

HIST

042

Bsheer

Rosie

Oil and Empire

Lectures

*

HIST

120

Sabin

Paul

American Environmental History

*

HIST

246

Freedman

Paul

History of Food

*

HIST

416

Rankin

William

Global Catastrophe since 1750

 

HIST

142

Plattus/Rubin

Alan/Elihu

New Haven and the American City

 

HIST

321

Hansen/Perdue

Valerie/Peter

China from Present to Past, 2015-600

 

HIST

366

Perdue/Baker

Peter/Mark

History of Cities in Modern Asia

Departmental seminars

*

HIST

229J

Wrightson

Keith

London 1560-1760 (PI)

*

HIST

254J

Wrightson

Keith

Time and Place in Early Modern England (PI)

*

HIST

302J

Chastain

Andra

Latin American Cities in the 20th Century

*

HIST

382J

Kiernan

Benedict

Vietnamese History to 1920

*

HIST

467J

Rankin

William

Cartography, Territory, and Identity

*

HIST

481J

Drixler

Fabian

Grand Narratives in Global History

*

HIST

4XXJ

Bertucci

Paola

Collecting Nature & Art in Premodern World (PI)

 

HIST

122J

Sabin

Paul

Environmental Law and Politics in the 1970s

 

HIST

180J

Sabin

Paul

Energy in American History

 

HIST

386J

Mikhail

Alan

Environmental History of the Middle East

 

HIST

396J

Magaziner

Daniel

Cities in 20th-Century Africa

 

HIST

456J

Dal Prete

Ivano

Great Floods and Catastrophes