Re-Imagining & Remembering:Environments, Communities & the Power of Stories

History 103D.007

Fall 2014
Day & Time: 
M 2-4P

This course is designed to introduce students to a diverse array of approaches to social, spatial, and environmental history and how all fields benefit from the study of historical memory. We will especially focus on the intersections of these fields to explore how built and natural environments reflect particular cultures and societies at specific historical moments. To this end, we will analyze the stories that structure the identities and shape the historical memory of distinct communities. How do cultures and communities transform unfamiliar spaces into familiar terrain and storied places? What was the Dust Bowl? How do narrative strategies influence historical scholarship? What is the longue durée and what are the advantages of employing this methodological approach? How have governments and scientists attempted to rationalize natural resources, reorganize ecological systems, and reorder the human populations and spatial contours of communities in very different places? How did human societies and natural environments actively shape and respond to nuclear disasters in both the Soviet Union and the United States? Finally, how do we locate and preserve the physical sites where important historical events occurred? What sorts of stories do well tell about these places? How and why do the stories we tell about these historic sites change over time? 

Course Books

Plutopia by Kate Brown Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199855766 Required
A Misplaced Massacre by Ari Kelman Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674045859 Required
Shadows at Dawn by Karl Jacoby Penguin Books. ISBN: 978-0143116219 Required
The Lost Wolves of Japan by Brett L. Walker University of Washington Press. ISBN: 978-0295988146 Required
Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300078152 Required
Killing for Coal by Thomas Andrews Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674046917 Required
An Entirely Synthetic Fish by Anders Halverson Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300140880 Required
Dust Bowl by Donald Worster Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0195174885 Required