Teaching

CURRENT COURSES
Fall 2018

HIS 381 Introduction to Environmental History 

(Graduate historiography seminar)

Environmental history is one of the most rapidly growing, in-demand subfields of history. At the same time, it is an interdisciplinary field, drawing insight from geography, ecology, cultural studies, and other areas in order to understand changing human relationships with nature over time. This seminar will introduce students to the historiography and diverse methods of environmental history. We will read and discuss a variety of classic and cutting edge texts in environmental history, with an emphasis on global, transnational, and comparative studies. Throughout the semester, several guest speakers (including LLILAS-Benson Visiting Resource Scholar Manuel Valdés Pizzini) will share their insights about particular methods or approaches. Topics may include animal history, disasters, cities, health, environmental justice, political ecology, as well as introductions to regional historiographies, including Latin America. Specific selections will be shaped in part by student interests, with an aim toward preparing students to incorporate perspectives from environmental history into their own research and teaching.

HIS 322G History of the Modern Life Sciences 

The History of the Modern Life Sciences traces the study of living things from the seventeenth century to the present. We will examine how naturalists and biologists have searched for order in nature––from cabinets of curiosity to maps of biodiversity, and from the theory of cells to the structure of DNA. In this course, students will examine the development of changing practices and approaches to investigating life in the field, the museum, and the laboratory. Students will confront critical problems in the history of biology and society, including those related to exploration and empire; race, gender, and classification; theories of evolution; genetics and eugenics; ecology and conservation; molecular biology; and biotechnology. How has the meaning of “life” changed through history? How have ideas about social order and natural order mirrored or shaped each other? To explore these questions, we will analyze historians’ interpretations, historical actors’ own accounts of their work and ideas, as well as historical images and objects of scientific practice.

This course may be used to satisfy Natural Science requirements.

This course also carries the Global Cultures Flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

(Sample Syllabus)

UPCOMING COURSES

Spring 2019

HIS 329U Perspectives on Science and Math (Wr) 

Perspectives on Science and Math explores the intellectual, social, and cultural history of science and mathematics, focusing on the 17th century to the present. This is an upper-division history course designed for students in UTeach Natural Sciences. It has four interlocking goals: to give students an overview of the history of science and math in order to broaden their understanding of subjects they will teach in the future; to enable them to put this broader history and context to work in science and math pedagogy; to improve their ability to research, analyze, and evaluate information; and to improve their writing and communication skills.

This is a Writing Flag course. It is designed to give students experience writing within an academic discipline. Students can expect to write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects, and receive feedback to help them revise their writing. Students will also have the opportunity to read and discuss peers’ work.

Resources for students in this course: https://perspectives.uteach.utexas.edu

(Sample Syllabus)

RECENT & RECURRING COURSES

HIS 350L Global Environmental History (Wr) 

Global Environmental History explores how human societies and natural environments have shaped each other in world history. In order to tackle this formidable subject, the course is divided into three thematic units. We will begin by critically examining “bird’s eye views” of deep human and natural history, discussing historiographic controversies over the role of humans in the ancient extinctions; the origins of agriculture; and relationships among climate, society, and disease. Next, we delve into a series of comparative histories of societies’ ways of knowing and making a living in nature. These will examine cultural and economic encounters from the Columbian Exchange through 19th-century colonialism. Finally, we turn to the 20th century in order to trace the transnational flows of global capitalism––commodities, human migrations, pollution, “invasive species,” and environmentalist movements. This course is an upper-division, reading- and writing-intensive seminar. It acts as an introduction to the growing field of environmental history, as well as to a variety of approaches to understanding history at a scale beyond the nation-state.

This is a Writing Flag course. It is designed to give students experience writing within an academic discipline. Students can expect to write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects, and receive feedback to help them revise their writing. Students will also have the opportunity to read and discuss peers’ work.

This course also carries the Global Cultures Flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

Website developed by Spring 2017 class: http://globalenvironmentalhistory.weebly.com/ 

(Sample Syllabus)

PAST COURSES

All courses taught at UT Austin

HIST 275 American Environmental History, 2012-2013 Semester 2, St. Olaf College

Website developed by the class: Exit 69: Environmental Histories of Northfield, Minnesota

(Syllabus)

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