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: Deborah Coen, 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.