Environmental History

| January 12, 2016

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Unit Three

Assignment 3

Assignment Instructions

This assignment is worth 12% of your final grade. There are two parts: short and long answer questions related to your course readings.

Short Answer Questions

In four or five sentences, briefly answer five of the following questions. Ten marks each.

  1. How did Gifford Pinchot’s concept of conservation differ from John Muir’s concept of preservation? John Muir is in Nash Roderick`s “Hetch Hetchy”.
  2. From Chapter 9 of Steinberg’s book Conservation Reconsidered, outline the social, cultural, and environmental factors that motivated or prompted the conservation movement.
  3. Based upon Peter Gillis’s and Thomas Roach’s article, in what ways did U.S. conservationists influence the conservation movement in Canada?
  4. From the article by Ted Binnema and Melanie Niemi and by Nathaniel Langford, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, outline the differing views on “squatters” and aboriginals.
  5. Analyze the links between “wilderness” as an idea in William Cronon’s essay and the exclusion of Aboriginal and rural Euro-Americans from parks in the nineteenth century.
  6. According to Karl Jacoby, how did the conservation movement redefine previously accepted consumptive uses of nature?
  7. From Steinberg’s Chapter 10 (Death of the Organic City) and Martin Melosi’s article, what were some of the major forces that led to the “Death of the Organic City”? Are there elements of the “organic city” still evident in your own urban environment?
  8. From Clay McShane and Joel Tarr’s article, explain how the use of horses influenced the shape of urban areas. How did humans and horses coexist in cities?

Long Answer Questions

Answer two of the following questions. 250-350 words per question. Twenty-five marks each.

  1. In what ways did Pinchot’s concept of conservation contradict and/or complement earlier approaches to human interactions with non-human nature through the management of natural resources?
  2. The creation of national parks redefined landscapes according to a particular ideal of “wilderness.” Reflecting on your own definition of “squatter,” how did the creation of national parks redefine the activities of humans who used these landscapes? What did “wilderness” include and exclude?
  3. How does the story of “Earth Abides” represent nature in the city? How does this representation reflect or contradict the place of urban nature in your own community? Based on what you read in the documents, in what ways has the place of nature changed in cities over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your answers.

Criteria Weighting
Your response adequately addresses/answers the question. /10
Your response demonstrates critical and thoughtful reflection on the readings, videos, and other course materials. It synthesizes ideas from the course material and includes your own interpretation/response. /10
Your response is written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. (Note that the writing is less formal than an essay, so you may write in the first person.) /5

Online Discussions 1

Introduction

You will be required to participate in four online discussions in the course, one at the end of each unit. Your contributions will be worth 12% of your final mark. As there may not be another student at the same place in the course at the same time as you, please return to the discussions later to see what others have added.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your contributions to the online discussions:

Criteria Weighting
Quality of posting: Postings provide a comprehensive response to the discussion topic and demonstrates appropriate preparation (such as reading the course material). /3
Communication skills: Postings demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas in writing and to organize responses clearly, thoroughly, concisely, and free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. /3
Critical thinking and self-reflection: Well-supported, thoughtful, insightful comments are made on others’ and own postings. /3
Participation: Postings respond to the discussion topic and to a minimum of one post by another student in each of the lessons. /2
Adherence to online protocol: Online protocols are followed in postings. Any disagreement is expressed in a respectful manner, and there is an effort to be positive when critiquing the ideas of others. /1

Unit 1 Discussion Topic

This discussion has two parts.

Part A:

From the mainstream media find a recent environmental issue that is thematically connected to unit one. Provide two web links to articles on the subject. The article may not be older than one month. In two to three sentences, please briefly outline the environmental issue and post this in the “Unit 1” Discussions area.

Part B:

Review the web links from another student and explain how the issues are either a continuity or discontinuity from the themes discussed in unit one. One hundred to two-hundred words.

Online Discussions 2

Introduction

You will be required to participate in four online discussions in the course, one at the end of each unit. Your contributions will be worth 12% of your final mark. As there may not be another student at the same place in the course at the same time as you, please return to the discussions later to see what others have added.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your contributions to the online discussions:

Criteria Weighting
Quality of posting: Postings provide a comprehensive response to the discussion topic and demonstrates appropriate preparation (such as reading the course material). /3
Communication skills: Postings demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas in writing and to organize responses clearly, thoroughly, concisely, and free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. /3
Critical thinking and self-reflection: Well-supported, thoughtful, insightful comments are made on others’ and own postings. /3
Participation: Postings respond to the discussion topic and to a minimum of one post by another student in each of the lessons. /2
Adherence to online protocol: Online protocols are followed in postings. Any disagreement is expressed in a respectful manner, and there is an effort to be positive when critiquing the ideas of others. /1

Unit 2 Discussion Topic

This discussion has two parts.

Part A:

From the mainstream media find a recent environmental issue that is thematically connected to unit 2. Provide two web links to articles on the subject. The article may not be older than one month. In two to three sentences, please briefly outline the environmental issue and post this in the “Unit 2” Discussions area.

Part B:

Review the web links from another student and explain how the issues are either a continuity or discontinuity from the themes discussed in Unit 2. One hundred to two-hundred words.

Online Discussions 3

Introduction

You will be required to participate in four online discussions in the course, one at the end of each unit. Your contributions will be worth 12% of your final mark. As there may not be another student at the same place in the course at the same time as you, please return to the discussions later to see what others have added.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your contributions to the online discussions:

Criteria Weighting
Quality of posting: Postings provide a comprehensive response to the discussion topic and demonstrates appropriate preparation (such as reading the course material). /3
Communication skills: Postings demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas in writing and to organize responses clearly, thoroughly, concisely, and free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. /3
Critical thinking and self-reflection: Well-supported, thoughtful, insightful comments are made on others’ and own postings. /3
Participation: Postings respond to the discussion topic and to a minimum of one post by another student in each of the lessons. /2
Adherence to online protocol: Online protocols are followed in postings. Any disagreement is expressed in a respectful manner, and there is an effort to be positive when critiquing the ideas of others. /1

Unit 3 Discussion Topic

This discussion has two parts.

Part A:

From the mainstream media find a recent environmental issue that is thematically connected to Unit 3. Provide two web links to articles on the subject. The article may not be older than one month. In two to three sentences, please briefly outline the environmental issue and post this in the “Unit 3” Discussions area.

Part B:

Review the web links from another student and explain how the issues are either a continuity or discontinuity from the themes discussed in unit three. One hundred to two-hundred words.

 

Online Discussions – 4

Introduction

You will be required to participate in four online discussions in the course, one at the end of each unit. Your contributions will be worth 12% of your final mark. As there may not be another student at the same place in the course at the same time as you, please return to the discussions later to see what others have added.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your contributions to the online discussions:

Criteria Weighting
Quality of posting: Postings provide a comprehensive response to the discussion topic and demonstrates appropriate preparation (such as reading the course material). /3
Communication skills: Postings demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas in writing and to organize responses clearly, thoroughly, concisely, and free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. /3
Critical thinking and self-reflection: Well-supported, thoughtful, insightful comments are made on others’ and own postings. /3
Participation: Postings respond to the discussion topic and to a minimum of one post by another student in each of the lessons. /2
Adherence to online protocol: Online protocols are followed in postings. Any disagreement is expressed in a respectful manner, and there is an effort to be positive when critiquing the ideas of others. /1

Unit 4 Discussion Topic

This discussion has two parts.

Part A:

From the mainstream media find a recent environmental issue that is thematically connected to unit four. Provide two web links to articles on the subject. The article may not be older than one month. In two to three sentences, please briefly outline the environmental issue and post this in the “Unit 4” Discussions area.

Part B:

Review the web links from another student and explain how the issues are either a continuity or discontinuity from the themes discussed in unit four. One hundred to two-hundred words.

Assignment 1

Assignment Instructions

This assignment is worth 12% of your final grade. There are two parts: short and long answer questions related to your course readings.

Short Answer Questions

In four or five sentences, briefly answer five of the following questions. Ten marks each.

  1. Worster’s article uses the term “agroecological perspective.” What does he mean by this term, and how does this perspective reflect Worster’s understanding of environmental history?
  2. In Crosby’s article, try to chart some of the major changes and trends in the field of environmental history. How has the field matured over time? What are some of the dominant influences of that change?
  3. Try to identify what “the problem of the problem of environmental history” is, according to Sörlin and Warde. What do they see as the new direction for environmental historians?
  4. Based on the readings by Steinberg, and Turner and Peacock, how would you characterize the Aboriginal relationship with non-human nature and the environment prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America?
  5. Based on Krech’s reflections, how has the concept of the “Ecological Indian” continued to influence modern environmentalism?
  6. How does Crosby try to keep geography in mind? Where does Crosby concentrate his analysis? What parts of the New World does he talk about?
  7. What do Piper and Sandlos add to Crosby’s arguments? How does this research challenge the idea of ecological imperialism?

Long Answer Questions

Answer two of the following questions. 250-350 words per question. Twenty-five marks each.

  1. What is environmental history and how can it help us re-think the study of the past? How did your initial thoughts on environmental history compare to what you read in the articles?
  2. Similar to the “Keep America Beautiful” video, find two additional online sources that represent Aboriginal people along the lines of the “Ecological Indian” and explain how the readings reflect or contradict these representations.
  3. In what ways can Alfred Crosby’s concept of ecological imperialism be applied to Canada? How did ecological imperialism occur differently in Canada compared to the United States and Central America?

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your answers.

Criteria Weighting
Your response adequately addresses/answers the question. /10
Your response demonstrates critical and thoughtful reflection on the readings, videos, and other course materials. It synthesizes ideas from the course material and includes your own interpretation/response. /10
Your response is written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. (Note that the writing is less formal than an essay, so you may write in the first person.)

Unit Two

Assignment 2

Assignment Instructions

This assignment is worth 12% of your final grade. There are two parts: short and long answer questions related to your course readings.

Short Answer Questions

In four or five sentences, briefly answer five of the following questions. Ten marks each.

  1. From chapter three of the Steinberg textbook, Reflections from a Woodlot, explain some of the main environmental factors that impeded or facilitated resettlement.
  2. After reading Samuel de Champlain’s Voyages, how do you think his target audience shaped his writing?
  3. Based on Cook’s argument, how important were ecological factors to survival in the New France colony? How do Virginia DeJohn Anderson’s findings compare to Ramsay Cook’s?
  4. What is Carl Martin’s main argument regarding the impact of Europeans on the culture of the northeastern Algonquian?
  5. In what ways does Charles Bishop refute or contradict Carl Martin’s thesis? How does Carl Martin respond to his critics? Do you think his ecological interpretation is sound?
  6. From Steinberg’s chapter five, King Climate in Dixie, and Joyce Chaplin’s article, explain how access to water shaped power relations in the U.S. South. What impact did water and agriculture have on the enslavement of African peoples in this part of North America?
  7. Based upon Donald Worster’s essay “Hydraulic Society in California” and the primary sources “An Advocate Encounters the Irrigators, 1887” and “A Writer Describes Irrigation Districts, 1897”, explain how irrigation was organized in California in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century? Were there alternatives to the model chosen?

Long Answer Questions

Answer two of the following questions. 250-350 words per question. Twenty-five marks each.

  1. Considering the environmental challenges of resettlement, how might an environmental history approach change the way historians think about the colonization of North America by European peoples?
  2. How did the encounter with capitalism through the fur trade alter the Aboriginal relationship with fur-bearing animals?
  3. How did the control over water through the use of different irrigation technologies alter social power relations in the U.S. South and West?
  4. The following criteria will be used to evaluate your answers.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your answers.

Criteria Weighting
Your response adequately addresses/answers the question. /10
Your response demonstrates critical and thoughtful reflection on the readings, videos, and other course materials. It synthesizes ideas from the course material and includes your own interpretation/response. /10
Your response is written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. (Note that the writing is less formal than an essay, so you may write in the first person.) /5

Final Project

Research Essay Project

Introduction

Instead of a final exam, you will complete a major research essay project. The research essay project is a mandatory component of the course; you must pass the research essay project to be eligible to pass the course.

The research essay will be based on the following broad topic:

  • The role of energy in North American history

Within this broad topic, you will select your own historical case-study subject that addresses the role of energy in North American history. The research essay should be based on both primary and secondary source research. In consultation with your Open Learning Faculty Member, you will choose a case-study subject and submit a proposal for your research essay project.

  • Proposal: 5% of final grade
  • Research essay: 35% of final grade

Instructions

It will be helpful for you to read through this full set of instructions for the research essay project at the beginning of the course to familiarize yourself with the expectations. Also, it’s not too early to start thinking about a particular subject area of interest that you might want to work on for this project. Be sure to consult with your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Introductory reading

Begin by reading the first chapter of Richard White’s 1995 book, The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. In this book, White analyzes the history of the Columbia River as a system of energy flows between the river, salmon, and the human inhabitants of the Columbia watershed.

This first chapter will provide you with a methodology for framing your own case study on the role of energy in North American history.

As you read this chapter, make notes and answer the following questions:

  1. How does White define energy?
  2. How widely or narrowly will you define energy in your own essay?

You may also want to share your thoughts and ideas about this reading with your peers through the course’s online “Discussions.”

White, Richard. The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. New York: Hill & Wang, 1995. Chapter One “Knowing Nature through Labor: Energy, Salmon Society on the Columbia” pgs. 3–29.

Choose a historical case-study subject

Because this assignment will be based, in part, on primary source research, you are encouraged to begin by searching for a primary source or set of primary sources on a specific historical case-study subject that addresses the topic of the role of energy in North American history.

Seek out specific case-studies that relate to a particular subject area of interest. For instance, if you are interested in oil and gas development, you might want to write a research essay on an aspect of the history of tar sands mining in northern Alberta. If you are interested in urban environments, you might want to write about nineteenth-century scavengers in a particular city.

Remember to select a case study that explores the environmental history of a given subject. Be sure to consult with your Open Learning Faculty Member about your preliminary ideas when you are selecting a case study.

Additional ideas for subject areas of research

The following list provides further ideas for subject areas of research that you might explore for the role of energy in North American history:

  • Hydro-electric development
  • Oil and gas consumption
  • Cities
  • Agriculture
  • Rivers
  • Forestry
  • Nuclear power
  • Colonization and resettlement
  • Fisheries
  • Irrigation
  • Transportation
  • Conservation
  • Government policy
  • Environmental activism

Planning and Developing the Research Essay

The research essay should be between 14 and 15 pages in length, formatted using standard (Times New Roman) 12-point font, with 1-inch margins.

As you work on this project, be sure to remember that you need to develop a clear thesis or argument for this essay. The essay should be argument driven rather than be a descriptive summary. Keep a consistent set of notes as you read through your sources and other course material to help generate ideas.

Once you have selected a historical case-study subject for your research essay, begin secondary source research to learn more about your subject. Secondary sources, including books and journal articles, will provide you with historical context and give you a sense of what other historians have written about your subject.

Based on your initial primary and secondary source research, consolidate your ideas into a proposal for the research essay.

Write a Proposal

Prepare a 1-page written proposal with a bibliography. The bibliography should include a minimum of 1 primary source and 5 secondary sources.

Write your proposal using clear and unified paragraphs. Provide proper footnote citations and a properly formatted bibliography (Chicago/Turabian Style footnotes preferred).

Note

Include the following components in your proposal:

  • A working title
  • A working thesis statement
  • Information about your historical case-study subject
  • A brief plan for future research for completion of the essay

Criteria for Evaluating the Research Essay

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the research essay project.

Proposal

The proposal is marked out of 10 marks and is worth 5% of your final grade in the course.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the proposal portion of the project.

Substance (7 marks)

  • The proposal provides a clear working thesis.
  • The proposal clearly outlines a manageable historical case-study subject.
  • The bibliography identifies a minimum of 1 primary source and 5 secondary sources.

Writing Style and Format (3 marks)

  • Paragraphs are unified, developed, and coherent, with transitions between ideas.
  • Sentences are grammatically correct; words are chosen for accuracy and impact.
  • The writing follows the conventions of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Format follows proper footnote citations and provides a properly formatted bibliography (Chicago Style footnotes preferred).
  • Writing about historical places, persons, and events is in the past tense.

Research Essay

The final research essay is marked out of 100 marks and is worth 35% of your final grade in the course.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the final research essay:

Substance (75 marks)

  • The essay provides evidence of critical thinking and analysis as well as synthesis of researched information throughout and presents a logical and persuasive argument.
  • Research sources are relevant and credible and are clearly documented in the paper.
  • The essay provides evidence of one or more primary sources.
  • The essay provides evidence of adequate secondary source research (uses 10 or more secondary sources, including books and journal articles).
  • The introduction offers a sense of direction for the paper and presents a clear thesis statement to the reader.
  • The body develops the necessary aspects of the main idea and provides examples, support, or illustration for each aspect of the main idea.
  • The conclusion summarizes the main points and ties them to the thesis; it also presents an impact statement and/or suggests direction for future research.

Writing Style and Format (25 marks)

  • Paragraphs are unified, developed, and coherent, with transitions between ideas.
  • Sentences are grammatically correct; words are chosen for accuracy and impact.
  • The writing follows the conventions of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Format follows proper footnote citations and provides a properly formatted bibliography (Chicago Style footnotes preferred).
  • Writing about historical places, persons, and events is in the past tense.

80% and above:

A first-class essay (A+/A/A–) exhibits excellence in style, demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the material, and provides evidence of critical thinking and analysis as well as synthesis of well-researched information throughout. It shows originality and insightfulness, and is written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. References are properly and consistently cited and recorded using Chicago (Turabian) Style.

70–79%:

A second-class paper (B+/B/B–) represents solid, above-average competence and achievement. In an essay of this quality, the ideas are sound, convincingly substantiated, and show some originality; in an otherwise strong discussion, expression might be inconsistent, incomplete in the use of evidence, or display minor weaknesses in style.

60–69%:

A paper at this level (C+/C/C–) is of average competence and demonstrates a satisfactory but incomplete grasp of the research material; ideas might not be fully developed or might tend toward vagueness, or the argument might exhibit problems in expression, organization, style, or mechanics.

50–59%:

A paper at this level (D range) indicates a weak or barely adequate understanding and use of the research material; organization and substantiation of argument might be deficient, or the discussion might be flawed by basic writing errors or problems in expression. A grade at this level warns that more energy and effort are needed.

Below 50%:

A grade at this level is a fail and indicates that the essay is unsatisfactory either in content or expression (or both) and that it does not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the material.

Unit Four

Assignment 4

Assignment Instructions

This assignment is worth 12% of your final grade. There are two parts: short and long answer questions related to your course readings.

Short Answer Questions

In four or five sentences, briefly answer five of the following questions. Ten marks each.

  1. After reading chapters 13 (America in Black and Green) and 14 (Throwaway Society) from the Steinberg textbook and Martin Melosi’s article, answer the following question: In general, how would you describe the pattern of energy consumption in the U.S. in the twentieth century?
  2. After reading the articles by Alan Olmstead and Paul Rhode, and Matthew Evenden, outline the role governments played in each case and explain the relative importance of volunteerism in controlling consumption patterns.
  3. Based upon the documentary “Birth of a Movement” and Chapter 15 (Shades of Green) from the Steinberg textbook, explain some of the social, cultural, and political factors that inspired the modern environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
  4. According to Samuel P. Hays and Robert Gottlieb, what are some of the main differences between the conservation movement and the modern environmental movement?
  5. What argument does Steinberg make in the final chapter (In Corporations We Trust) about the current state of the American environment and the relationship with growing corporate power?
  6. How was the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received by the popular media?
  7. How do Matthew Nisbet and Teresa Myers view the different representations of climate change or global warming? How does Mark Carey? How does Spencer Weart?

Long Answer Questions

Answer two of the following questions. 250-350 words per question. Twenty-five marks each.

  1. Reflecting on the types of energy resources you consume, in what ways are your consumption patterns influenced by government, private corporations, and individual choice? Based on the readings, how effective have governments and private corporations been in regulating the consumption of energy resources in the twentieth century and what factors shaped those regulations?
  2. Considering the cultural, political, and economic context of the 1960s and 1970s in North America, why did events like the Santa Barbara oil spill, the publication of Silent Spring, and the Love Canal emergency help lead to the emergence of a modern environmental movement that was different from the earlier conservation movement?
  3. Reflecting back on previous course material on the conservation movement and the environmental movement, why has global warming captured the attention of environmentalists, policy-makers, and the broader public at the turn of the twenty-first century? How have social and biophysical factors shaped perceptions of global warming?

The following criteria will be used to evaluate your answers.

Criteria Weighting
Your response adequately addresses/answers the question. /10
Your response demonstrates critical and thoughtful reflection on the readings, videos, and other course materials. It synthesizes ideas from the course material and includes your own interpretation/response. /10
Your response is written in clear, fluent, and technically correct prose. (Note that the writing is less formal than an essay, so you may write in the first person.) /5

 

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