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Spring 2011
Apr 17,2014
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AMER 235 - THE AMERICAN ENVIRONMENT
Focusing on the North American continent and especially that part which became the United States, The American Environment focuses on two major themes: (1)the interaction of human beings and the natural world, and (2) the interaction between the political structure of the United States with issues of the natural environment. The course examines the land itself along with art, literature, material culture, and historic sites with a goal of answering questions about the role of the natural world in the creation of America. At the same time it asks how the environment became such a key idea and focus of government at all levels, and how environmental policy has been created over time. A major question is how the environment creates the state and how the state creates environmental policy. A major case study illustrating this will be how a state like New Jersey creates its water supply system and how federal policy influences it over time. Other topics include the creation of the Department of Environmental Protection and the creation of parks at every level of government and how all of this reflects a lengthy historical process of Americans coming to grips with what was once simply "nature" and what is now "the environment." Beginning with America before 1492, the course traces the history of the human relationship with the environment, how humans have thought about the natural world, and how that relationship and thinking have changed over time. It examines the many transformations--cultural, intellectual/religious, economic, political and technological--that have given rise to the era when environmental concerns have emerged as critical. Students will examine some of the classic environmental thinkers such as Alexander von Humboldt, George Perkins Marsh, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, and Gifford Pinchot along with the constitutional and legal basis of environmental policy. At least one field trip will be arranged. Traditional approaches to American life have tended to take the natural environment for granted while concentrating almost solely upon human activity. The American Environment attempts to take notice of the natural world as a central fact of all human activity--as both the setting for and the receiver of whatever humans do; not merely the stage, it is a major actor in the grand drama of human experience, a central force in every aspect of life and one that is ignored at the peril of distorting our understanding.
0.000 TO 4.000 Credit hours
0.000 TO 4.000 Lecture hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

American Studies Department

Course Attributes:
MJ-AMER- Amer History, MJ-AMER-Amer Politics, GE-INTERCULT NORTH AMERICA

Restrictions:
Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels:     
      Undergraduate

Prerequisites:
FOR AMER 235

General Requirements:
Course or Test: AMER 125
Minimum Grade of D
May not be taken concurrently.  )
or
Course or Test: ENST 103
Minimum Grade of D
May not be taken concurrently.  )
or
Course or Test: ENST 215
Minimum Grade of D
May not be taken concurrently.  )
or
Course or Test: HIST 100 to 199
Minimum Grade of D
May not be taken concurrently. )


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Release: 8.5.4