Landscape, Ecology & Empire - 2017

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: Sess 1
  • Availability for 2017: Sess 1
  • Assessment: Essay 1 (30%) , Essay 2 (50%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 2,563.00
International 2,813.00

This unit examines the connections between the European imperial experience and the emergence of new conceptions of nature, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Acknowledging the continuing importance of classical ideas, it focuses on the impact of empire on ways of imagining, valuing and using the natural environment, considering ecological attitudes and practices alongside aesthetic representations of non-European landscape. In doing so, the unit takes a long, global view of the origins of 'green' ways of seeing and thinking, engaging with a variety of material, from paintings to travel diaries, and traversing a range of contexts, from early America to colonial Australia.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand the central themes of environmental history, especially the connections between European imperialism and ecological change
  2. place the history of landscape and its representation in a variety of global, colonial and imperial contexts, from Renaissance voyages of discovery to the establishment of British settler societies such as Australia
  3. understand the function of non-European landscape in consolidating and contesting European systems of knowledge, conceptions of nature, and forms of national identity
  4. appreciate the origins of the contemporary culture of environmental concern, along with its contradictory relationship to imperialism, nationalism and industrialism
  5. recognise how ways of thinking about, looking at and acting on the natural world have been shaped by global interconnections, involving a complex intermeshing of social, aesthetic, political, scientific, mythological and physical influences
  6. employ analytical thinking skills, and reflect critically and ethically on the above issues
  7. scrutinise and synthesise information, and communicate the findings of their research, using several different forms of writing and modes of address
  8. develop sustained, logical and persuasive arguments concerning the effect of transnational networks on perceptions of landscape and the natural environment
  9. undertake interdisciplinary work, combining the perspectives of history, art history, literary history and geography, while engaging with a broad range of sources, including travel literature, painting, fiction and scientific writing
  10. draw on a knowledge of the history of landscape to deepen and challenge their own understanding and experience of the natural environment, including their engagement with contemporary public debates about ecological issues.
  • Essay 1 (30%)
  • Essay 2 (50%)
  • Online Discussion (20%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1The relationship between culture and nature: a global view
2Early modern representations of New World nature
3The British Empire and varieties of non-European landscape
4Colonial science and perceptions of ecological change
5Wilderness and civilisation in nineteenth-century America
6Attitudes to land and landscape in colonial Australia

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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