ESPM 250

Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics

Carolyn Merchant

ESPM 250. Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics. (4) Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Prerequisite: Upper division course in history or history of science or a social science. A critical survey of classical and recent literature in the field of environmental history, philosophy, and ethics with special emphasis on the American environment. Topics will include environmental historiography, theories of environmental history, and the relationships between environmental history, philosophy, ethics, ecology, and policy.

Department Office: 137 Mulford (Instructor's Mailbox)

Instructor's Office: 138 Giannini

Office Hours: Tu., Wed. 4-5 P.M.

Telephone: 642-0326 (Instructor's Office)


Books:  Available in ASUC store and Ned's Berkeley Books on Bancroft St.  All books and articles are on 2 hour reserve in the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library in the Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB). Weeks 2 and 3 in ESPM 250 Course Reader on reserve and at Krishna Copy Center, S.E. corner, Telegraph and Dwight.

Weekly assignments:  Beginning with week 4, please write a critical response (not a summary) to the reading(s) in no more than 1 single-spaced, typed page; double-space between paragraphs.  (More than one page will not be read by the instructor.)  In the first paragraph state the book's thesis, argument, and what you found most exciting or significant about the book (or about the book in comparison with others read in the course).  In the second paragraph identify the author's assumptions and/or underlying philosophy or point out problematical or troubling aspects of the book.

Participation:  Please read the entire assignment and participate fully in the weekly discussions.

Term Paper:  Critical paper on the readings, 10-12 pages, due December 4 in class (no exceptions or extensions).  Topic should be discussed with the instructor in advance.

Grading: Based on 11 weekly one-page papers (beginning in week 4); classroom participation; and term paper. Approximately 1/3 each.

Break: Please sign up to bring a snack once during the semester. Break (ca. 4:45 P. M.).

1.  Aug. 26.  Introduction

2.  Sept. 2.  Environmental History
 William Cronon, "A Place for Stories:  Nature, History, and Narrative," Journal of American History, 78, no. 4 (March 1992):  1347-76;  William Cronon, "The Uses of Environmental History, Environmental History Review, 17, no. 1 (Fall 1993):  1-22; Barbara Leibhardt, "Interpretation and Causal Analysis:  Theories in Environmental History" Environmental Review 12, no. 1 (Spring 1988): 23-36.  James O'Connor, "What is Environmental History? Why Environmental History?" Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 8, no. 2 (June 1997): 1-27; Mart A. Stewart, "Environmental History: Profile of a Developing Field," The History Teacher, 31, no. 5 (May 1998): 351-68. Course Reader.

3.  Sept.9.  Environmental Ethics
 Alan Miller, Gaia Connections, 2nd. ed. (Roman and Littlefield, 2003), Ch. 3, "Theories of Justice;" Aldo Leopold, "The Land Ethic," in A Sand County Almanac (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949), pp. 201-226; J. Baird Callicott, "Multicultural Environmental Ethics," Daedalus (Fall 2001): 77-97; Carolyn Merchant, "Fish First!:  The Changing Ethics of Ecosystem Management," Human Ecology Review, 4, no. 1 (Spring/Summer, 1997): 25-30; Karen J. Warren, "Ethics in a Fruit Bowl: Ecofeminist Ethics," from Warren, Ecofeminist Philosophy (Roman and Littlefield, 2000), pp. 97-123; Joel Tickner, "Introduction," and Barry Commoner, "A Cautionary Tale," in Joel A. Tickner, ed., Precaution, Environmental Science, and Preventive Public Policy (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2003), pp. 29-36. Course Reader.

4.  Sept. 16.
 David Abram. The Spell of the Sensuous:  Perception and Language in a More Than Human World (New York: Vintage, 1996), paperback, 326 pp.

5.  Sept. 23.
 Jared Diamond. Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998), paperback, 480 pp. Selections:  Prologue, Ch 1, 3, 4, 6-12, 18.

6.  Sept. 30.
 Carolyn Merchant. Reinventing Eden:  The Fate of Nature in Western Culture (New York: Routledge, 2003), hardcover, 308 pp.

7.  Oct. 7.
 Shepard Krech, III. The Ecological Indian:  Myth and History (New York:  W.W. Norton, 1999), paperback, 311 pp.

8.  Oct. 14.
 Karl Jacoby. Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation (Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001), paperback, 305 pp.

9.  Oct. 21.
 David Igler. Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), paperback, 267 pp.

10.  Oct. 28.
 Gray Brechin. Imperial San Francisco: Urban power, Earthly Ruin (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), paperback, 402 pp.

11.  Nov 4.
 Steven Vogel. Against Nature: The Concept of Nature in Critical Theory (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996), paperback, 225 pp.

12.  Nov. 11. Veteran's Day Holiday

13.  Nov. 18.
 J. Baird Callicott, ed. The Great New Wilderness Debate (Athens, Ga:  University of Georgia Press, 1998), paperback, 697 pp., selections.

14.  Nov. 25.
 George Sessions, ed. Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century (Boston:  Shambala, 1995), paperback, 488 pp., selections.

15.  Dec 2.
Papers Due.  No exceptions!  Plan ahead.