Landscape, Ecology & Empire
Chart the evolution of humanity's relationship with nature from the 16th through to the 19th centuries.Observe this awakening's connection with European imperialism. Explore aesthetic and ecological concerns. Hop from Europe to America to Australia.
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At the completion of this subject students will be able to:
- understand the central themes of environmental history, especially the connections between European imperialism and ecological change
- 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
- understand the function of non-European landscape in consolidating and contesting European systems of knowledge, conceptions of nature, and forms of national identity
- appreciate the origins of the contemporary culture of environmental concern, along with its contradictory relationship to imperialism, nationalism and industrialism
- 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
- employ analytical thinking skills, and reflect critically and ethically on the above issues
- scrutinise and synthesise information, and communicate the findings of their research, using several different forms of writing and modes of address
- develop sustained, logical and persuasive arguments concerning the effect of transnational networks on perceptions of landscape and the natural environment
- 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
- 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.
- The Culture of Nature
- Nature in the New World
- The Nature of Empire: Ecology, Exploration and Colonial Science
- Imperial Landscape
- Wilderness and Civilisation in Nineteenth-Century America
- Land and Landscape in Colonial Australia
In order to enrol in this subject, you must be accepted into one of the following degrees:
No special requirements
This subject 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 subject 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.
- Online Discussion (20%)
- Essay 1 (30%)
- Essay 2 (50%)