Ecological Revolutions:

Readings Schedule


Aspen Trees

The readings are due for the class date next to which they are listed!

August 14: Introductions and Ice Breakers (ah! Nature analogy already!)

Begin discussion of reading and writing as unnatural processes


If you could be an animal, which one would you be and why?

Animal Vegetable Mineral...warm up for reading and writing


Reading DUE:

The Course Syllabus -- READ the entire course website (there will be a quiz if I am not happy with your discussion about assignments, readings schedule, expectations, elements, etc).

READ: Our course objectives


READ "Shitty First Drafts" (Writing as an UNnatural process)

LOOK AT: This Time Graphic and...

THINK: about this quote:

"Will unguided information lead to an illusion of knowledge, and thus curtail the more difficult, time-consuming, critical thought processes that lead to knowledge itself? Will the split-second immediacy of information gained from a search engine and the sheer volume of what is available derail the slower, more deliberative processes that deepen our understanding of complex concepts, of another's inner thought processes, and of our own consciousness?"

From Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf



Sign up for our Wiki and contribute to the discussion on humans and nature!




August 18: Finish Discussion of Course Expectations (including ALL that WRITING) and Setting Norms and start thinking about Env History


Jenny Price, "Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in LA"


August 20: Terminology and course map (literally)

Reading DUE:

“Land of Lincoln” in Fiege




August 22: Relevance?


Research one thing you came in contact with yesterday. It canNOT be your phone. What natural resources are required to make it? What resources are required to transport it? Where do those resources occur? What happens to the ecosystem from which they are taken? Write a one-page (single spaced) thought piece on this and post to our wiki.


Read one article from the Children and Nature Network. Be sure to be able to explain the article's thesis to the class.


Richard White, “Are you an Environmentalist or Do you Work for a Living” (handout)


You could get a JOB!


August 26: Technology...what the heck is it?

Introduction from Hughes (handout)

Wells, Prologue


How does technology affect our lives? we read for example?

How we think?




August 28: Seminar/Film

Intro to Environmental History through the Columbia River


In-Class Watch: Documentary on Columbia/Snake Rivers

Reading DUE:

White: Intro, SKIM chpt 1, chpt 2

Questions to keep in mind as you read:


White, The Organic Machine: Intro, SKIM chpt 1, chpt 2 (annotate Chpt 1 with ONE sentence at the bottom of the page...DB will check)

Questions to keep in mind as you read (you do not need to write the answers formally. But we will use these in our open-note, in-class writing and discussion):


  1. Summarize White’s basic argument in the book.
  2. On page xi, White makes the statement “We might want to look for the natural in the dams and the unnatural in the salmon”  Keep this statement in mind as you read the rest of the book, and make a list in your notes of material found in the book that is used to promote and support this proposition.

Chpt 2:

1. Contrast the views of nature from Kipling and Emerson.

2. Explain what is meant by the statement on page 38 that “a locomotives tie with nature seemed even more tenuous than a steamboat’s”.

3. Summarize the racialized and gendered spaces that were created on the river (pp. 38-40).

4. Describe the multifaceted identities of the gillnetters.

5. Summarize the political struggle between the gillnetters and fishwheel operators found in the first full paragraph of page 46, and how Oregon voters responded to each of the initiatives. 


After reading this first part of the book, what is your understanding of the book's title, The Organic Machine?



Sept 2: Writing Intro for our book "Learning Enviornmental History"

Thinking and Writing DUE:



Sept 4: Lecture/Seminar

Concepts born in the fire of colonization

Reading in the round DUE:

1/2 Merchant, Chpt 1(PDF) -- Riley, Lourdes, Aysia, Sarah, Ben

1/2 Merchant, Chpt 2 (PDF) -- Davis, Moritz, Sam, Janessa, Arii, Ashton


ALL Fiege, Chpt 1


Writing DUE:

Take copious notes on your chapter (you can print reading if you want, but that is not required). You will write a collaborative lecture in class...and will need to do it quickly! So take notes you can use easily to create a lesson for your peers on the content of your chapter. Dr. Berry will collect your notes!




Sept 10: Finish Colonial Lectures

Sept 12: Seminar

First look at nitrogen

In class -- watch excerpts from the Botany of Desire

Elemental Research DUE:

Resource Research: Nitrogen and Soil -- use the Soil Science Society of America website...but, in particular, watch this video

Riley, Aysia, Sarah, Arii, Moritz, Violeta

Place Research: American South and California -- there are other sources out there for both of these places! Remember you must have 2 additional sources from the one I give you (3 total)

Davis, Sam, Janessa, Ashton, Ben, Lourdes

ASSIGNMENT: On our class wiki, use the "project page" and collaboratively create a wiki resource page for the class. On the page be sure include, TWO additional (non-wikipedia) sites for further reading, 2 paragraphs explaining your place/resource, at least one photograph (with due credit given) of your topic, a "current debates" corner where you expose the reader to 3 current debates regarding the resource/place you are researching (be sure to give BOTH sides of the debate).

Be prepared to present on your topic (each person must participate equally).

Sept 16: Seminar/Lecture

19th Century Agricultural Landscapes of domination

Reading DUE:

Fiege, Chpt 3 “King Cotton”

Using JSTOR, find the following article (our login in is: stgregory and stgregory):

Mart A. Stewart, "Rice, Water, and Power: Landscapes of Domination and Resistance in the Lowcountry, 1790-1880", Environmental History Review

Sept 18: Lecture

Agricultural Industrialization (an oxymoron?)

Reading DUE:

Wells, Chpt 1


Sept 22: Finish Ag -- no homework

Sept 24: Seminar/Film

First Look at Iron

Resource Research: Iron (also its transformation into steel)

Place Research: Pittsburgh and Youngstown, OH

Arii, Moritz, Violeta, Davis


First Look at Carbon

Resource Research: Carbon (oil and coal)

Place Research: Pennsylvania and Texas

Janessa, Ashton, Ben, Lourdes, Monty


First Look at Copper

Resource Research: Copper

Place Research: US West (especially AZ)

Riley, Aysia, Sarah, Sam


Sept 29: Lecture/Seminar

The Fall from Grace: "How the Industrial Revolution will turn the garden into hell and how the West will save us all"

Reading DUE:

Be sure to read more carefully each other's wikis on the elements. We will continue our discussion.

ALSO - read the PDF you were emailed from Chpts 10-12 Steinberg Down to Earth

AND view the following

NYC Skyscrapers

NYC Fish Market

Jacob Riis Photos (click through all of them)

IN CLASS -- Primary Sources (Handout -- In class) (Maj Probs)


Oct 1: Film (sub)

US West...the Environmental Frontier where it all comes together

Reading DUE:

Fiege, Chpt 6 (skim)

Dan Flores, "Bison" (handout) will have an in-class writing assignment that asks you to compare the story told in the film about the buffalo with Flores' thesis. Which seems better supported/more plausible? Why? If you do not finish the writing in class, you must finish it at home. Due in a googledoc to Dr. Berry by Oct 3rd beginning of class.

In Class Watch: The West rr episode


Oct 3/13: INTERLUDE -- Conservation debates late 19th and the Early 20th Centuries


Oct 3: Work Day-- Prep for Hetch Hetchy


Hearing Prep -- in class research time (background research due Oct 7):


Directions here.



Primary Sources from San Fransisco Museum

Primary Sources from The National Archives

Primary Sources from History Matters -- there is another source linked at the bottom of this source

A solid overview (with some primary source material linked)



Oct 7: Lecture and Prep

Water Lecture and Finish prep for Hetch Hetchy hearing


Oct 9: Finalize Hetchy Hetchy Hearing and Debate

Briefs due in googledoc!



Oct 14: Hetch Hetchy Hearing and Debate

DUE:Be prepared to "testify" in character at the 1909 Senate Hearing on the Raker Bill (the bill allowing Hetch Hetchy to be dammed)



20th Century:

Oct 16: Seminar/Film

Carbon in the 20th Century

Reading DUE:

Wells: Look at Photo Gallery 1 and read 155-199



Writing DUE:

Conservation Essay

Watch Film In Class: The Prize (dvd)


Oct 21: Carbon today - Fossil Fuel dependency

Reading DUE:

THUMS Islands article

Air Pollution from National Geographic

Pro-Coal Article

Article for oil/natural gas

Production for US Oil

US Energy Use and production compared with the world

Wiki Post DUE: Post a paragraph responding to the prompt on Conservation and Fossil Fuel politics

Oct 23: Lecture/Seminar/Film

Finish Carbon and Iron 20th Century


read down to the employment graph on the following document:

Also read Wells:
pp. 253-287

And last but not least look at:
This photo essay of Detroit



Oct 27: Seminar/Film/Lecture

Nitrogen -- 20th Century

In class -- watch excerpts from the Botany of Desire

Reading DUE:

Handout From War and Nature (40 pages....easy but sorta long!)

Handout about Monsanto

Go to Monsanto's website and peruse it -- what does it want you to think about its approach to industrial agriculture?


Oct 29: Nitrogen Debate


FOOD as technology?

The future of food!

Using the internet....find ONE issue with food (nutrition, availability, sustainability) that you would like to debate.

Here's a GREAT example a site that is super useful, but you can find others too. More details on the debate to come in class.



Oct 31: Seminar/Workshop

Intro to Uranium Finish Nitrogen

Resource Research: Uranium

Place Research: Colorado Plateau

Resource Research: Silicon

Writing DUE: Please write a 2nd chapter for our "learning environmental history book". Use the prompt that was emailed to to compose your 6-8 page chapter. The essay should demonstrate your deep understanding of the history of energy use (and resulting pros and cons of different energy technologies on US culture) and should further your explanation to teachers about how best to teach environmental history THIS IS A ROUGH DRAFT deadline -- but if your essay is too rough, you will not receive credit for completion.


Nov 4: Nitrogen debate


Nov 6: Lecture/Seminar

Uranium and Environmentalism Post-Apocalypse

Reading DUE:

Fiege, Chpt 7 (read carefully)


Nov 10: Uranium Debate on Nuclear Energy

Writing DUE -- first possible due date: Final draft of Chpt 2


Nov 13: Silicon and Cyborgs

Terry Tempest Williams (scroll down and read "The Clan of the One-Breasted Women")

Watch This video  

Wendell Berry article

Donna Haraway -- optional (emailed as PDF scan)

Bolivia gives Earth rights

Writing DUE -- last possible due date: Final draft of Chpt 2

Nov. 17-19: Begin Water Teaching Project

Nov 21: View The Lorax


Dec 1-5: Project work days (rough draft of water Paper due -- see google doc)

Dec. 4: You must be on time (5% off on final exam grade for each lateness) and present (10% off on final exam grade for each absence)

Dec. 8-12: Work on lesson plans -- see google doc (THIS IS WORTH 30% OF YOUR SEMESTER GRADE)

Dec. 8: Water paper due -- citations must be in Chicago Manual of Style

Dec. 17: Teach 6th graders -- meet in Ms. Patt's room on MS campus

Final Chapter Essay DUE -- no late essays will be accepted. Period.




















| ©2010Michelle Berry