Professor Mark Stoll

742-3744    Holden Hall 135
E-mail: mark.stoll@ttu.edu   Web: http://courses.ttu.edu/mstoll/
Office Hours: Tuesday 11:00-1:00 and Thursday 8:30-9:30
and by appointment


Through lectures, readings, and film, the course explores two evolving topics in American history: the interrelationship and mutual impact of humans with the land and its plant and animal life; and cultural attitudes and thinking about nature and the environment.


William Cronon, Changes in the Land

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities

Donald Worster, Dust Bowl Rachel Carson, Silent Spring


17.5% ea. Two midterm examinations
25% Final examination
30% Six book quizzes
10% Analytical book review

Exams: Exams will be essay exams. Students will have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of environmental history as well as to engage issues raised in lectures, discussions, and readings. The final exam will have the same format as midterms, with the addition of a cumulative section.

Book quizzes: Short quizzes given on the discussion day for each book will encourage students to have read the books and be ready to discuss them.

Papers: Course assignments include contains one analytical book review. For each review, students will select a book on environmental history from a bibliography on the professor's Website. (Note that biographies and edited collections or collections of essays are not appropriate for the assignment and should not be chosen for the book review.) Students may select another book if the professor approves it. Four to six pages long, the book review will have three sections:

  1. A short summary (not a table of contents or outline) of the book's contents; this should not take more than a paragraph or two.
  2. An explanation of the book's thesis, with a discussion of how the author has supported the thesis. The thesis is usually stated in a preface, introduction, or conclusion. If you're not sure what a book's thesis is, ask the professor for help.
  3. Most important, an analysis of the book, including how successful (or unsuccessful) it is in supporting its thesis, the author's bias (his point of view), whether it agrees or disagrees with other class material, how it might be improved, how well it is written, and whether you agree with the book's conclusions.

Papers will be printed in 12-point Times New Roman, double spaced, with 1" margins all around (or 1-1/4" right and left margins, with 1" margins top and bottom). Do not add space between paragraphs (and if your word-processing program does so automatically, adjust the Paragraph settings). If you quote directly from the text of your book, cite your source by adding the page number or numbers in parentheses immediately after the quotation. For example: "That is when the world will end" (42). No footnotes or bibliography are necessary.

Attendance: The professor will call roll at the beginning of each class. Students with a perfect attendance record will receive three bonus points on their final grades. Students with more than two absences will receive one point off their final grades for each absence over two. The instructor will accept excuses in cases of true need if appropriately documented.

Plagiarism: Using text written by someone else (even in a close paraphrase) is academic dishonesty. It is strictly against university and departmental policy. Papers that have been plagiarized in whole or in part receive a 0 for the assignment, and a further penalty of 10 points will be deducted from the student's final grade average.

The professor reserves the right to change this syllabus at his discretion. Changes will be announced in class and posted on the course Website.


Date Assignment
Jan 14 Introduction
Jan 19

Were Indians environmentalists?
For further reading:
Shepard Krech, The Ecological Indian: Myth and History
Richard White, The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos
Mark David Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness; Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks
Charles Mann, 1491

Jan 21 Attitudes towards nature in Indian creation stories
Jan 26 Reading: Cronon, Changes in the Land
For further reading:
Brian Donahue, The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord
Jan 28 Genesis and nature
For further reading:
Clarence J. Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore; Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century
H. Paul Santmire, The Travail of Nature: The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology
Robert Booth Fowler, The Greening of Protestant Thought
Mark Stoll, Protestantism, Capitalism, and Nature in America
Feb 2 Arrival of the Europeans: ecological imperialism
For further reading:
Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe
Jared M. Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (Pulitzer Prize winner)
Feb 4 Slavery and the Southern environment
For further reading:
Timothy Silver, A New Face on the Countryside: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in the South Atlantic Forests, 1500-1800
Mart A. Stewart, "What Nature Suffers to Groe": life, labor, and landscape on the Georgia coast, 1680-1920
Mikko Saikku, This Delta, This Land: An Environmental History of the Yazoo-Mississippi Floodplain
Albert E. Cowdrey, This Land, This South: An Environmental History
Jack Kirby, Mockingbird's Song
Feb 9 American Romanticism
For further reading:
Hans Huth, Nature and the American: Three Centuries of Changing Attitudes
Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America
Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, nature writing, and the formation of American culture
Feb 11 Reading: Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
Click here for a map of Muir's route
For further reading:
Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 4th ed.
Stephen Fox, The American Conservation Movement: John Muir and His Legacy
Feb 16 First Midterm Exam
Feb 18 Industrialization and the rise of the cities
For further reading:
Theodore Steinberg, Nature Incorporated: Industrialization and the Waters of New England
William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
Feb 23 Transformation of the West: The Spanish, Russians, and Mormons
For further reading:
DeBuys, William. Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range
Feb 25 Transformation of the West: Mining & Settlement of the Plains
For further reading:
Isenberg, Andrew C., Mining California: An Ecological History
Isenberg, Andrew C. The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750-1920
Flores, Dan. Caprock Canyonlands: Journeys into the Heart of the Southern Plains
West, Elliott. The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, & the Rush to Colorado
Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
Igler, David. Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920
Mar 2 Reading: Worster, Dust Bowl
For further reading:
Lookingbill, Brad D. Dust Bowl, USA : Depression America and the Ecological Imagination, 1929-1941
Mar 4 Urban environmental problems
For further reading:
Stradling, David. Smokestacks and Progressives: Environmentalists, Engineers and Air Quality in America, 1881-1951
Melosi, Martin V. Garbage in the Cities: Refuse, Reform, and the Environment: 1880-1980
Black, Brian. Petrolia: The Landscape of America's First Oil Boom
Mar 9 The Progressive Conservation Movement: First Calls for Conservation
For further reading:
Fox, Stephen. The American Conservation Movement: John Muir and His Legacy
Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind
Mar 11 Class cancelled
Mar 13-21 Spring Break
Mar 23 Reading: Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
For further reading:
Dunlap, Thomas R. Saving America's Wildlife
Reiger, John F. American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation
Mar 25 The Progressive Conservation Movement: Conservation Achieved
For further reading:
Hays, Samuel P. Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920
Pyne, Stephen J. Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910
Jacoby, Karl. Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation
Righter, Robert W. The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism
Runte, Alfred. National Parks: The American Experience
Steen, Harold K. The U.S. Forest Service: A History
Dorsey, Kurkpatrick. Dawn of Conservation Diplomacy: U. S.-Canadian Wildlife Protection Treaties in the Progressive Era
Schrepfer, Susan. Nature's Altars: Mountains, Gender, and American Environmentalism
Mar 30 Second Midterm Exam
Apr 1 After the Progressives: The 1920s
For further reading:
Clements, Kendrick A. Hoover, Conservation, and Consumerism: Engineering the Good Life.
Reiger, John F. American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation.
The New Deal
For further reading:
Owen, A. L. Riesch. Conservation under F.D.R.
Maher, Neil M. Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement
Utley, Dan K., and James W. Steely. Guided with a Steady Hand: The Cultural Landscape of a Rural Texas Park
Apr 6 The New Science of Ecology
For further reading:
Worster, Donald. Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas. 2nd ed.
Tobey, Ronald C. Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 18951955
Apr 8 World War, Cold War, and the Environment
Book review due
For further reading:
Ackland, Len. Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West
Gerber, Michele Stenehjem. On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site
Kuletz, Valerie L. The Tainted Desert: Environmental and Social Ruin in the American West
Kirsch, Scott. Proving Grounds: Project Plowshare and the Unrealized Dream of Nuclear Earthmoving
Hirt, Paul W. A Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the National Forests since World War Two
Pearson, Byron E. Still the Wild River Runs: Congress, the Sierra Club, and the Fight to Save Grand Canyon
Reisner, Marc. Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water
Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind. 4th ed.
Apr 13 The 1960s: The Rise of the Environmental Movement
For further reading:
Hurley, Andrew. Environmental Inequalities: Class, Race, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana, 1945-1980
Sutter, Paul S. Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement
Apr 15 The 1960s: Johnson and the Great Society and Environmental Crisis
For further reading:
Hays, Samuel P. A History of Environmental Politics since 1945
Dewey, Scott Hamilton. Don't Breathe the Air: Air Pollution and U.S. Environmental Politics, 1945-1970
Apr 20 Reading: Carson, Silent Spring
For further reading:
Russell, Edmund. War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring
Whorton, James. Before Silent Spring: Pesticides and Public Health in Pre-DDT America
Dunlap, Thomas R. DDT: Scientists, Citizens, and Public Policy
Apr 22 The 1970s: A New Mood and a New Will to Act
For further reading:
Price, Jennifer. Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America
Mitman, Gregg. Reel Nature: America's Romance with Wildlife on Film
Fox, Stephen. The American Conservation Movement: John Muir and His Legacy
Hays, Samuel P. Beauty, Health, and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 1955-1985
Flippen, J. Brooks. Nixon and the Environment
Markowitz, Gerald, and David Rosner. Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution
Sellers, Christopher C. Hazards of the Job: From Industrial Disease to Environmental Health Science
Apr 27 The 1970s: Carter and the Energy Crisis, Toxic Waste, and Nuclear Power
For further reading:
Walker, J. Samuel. Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective
Colten, Craig E., and Peter N. Skinner. The Road to Love Canal: Managing Industrial Waste before EPA
Murchison, Kenneth M. The Snail Darter Case: TVA versus the Endangered Species Act
Apr 29 The 1980s: Reagan and the End of an Era; Environmental Justice; International Solutions to Acid Rain and Ozone Depletion, but Not Global Warming
For further reading:
Zakin, Susan. Coyotes and Town Dogs: Earth First! and the Environmental Movement
May 4 Reading: Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities
For further reading:
Gottlieb, Robert. Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement
Pulido, Laura. Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles in the Southwest
Allen, Barbara L. Uneasy Alchemy: Citizens and Experts in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor Disputes
Lerner, Steve. Diamond: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor
McGurty, Eileen Maura. Transforming Environmentalism: Warren County: PCBs, and the Origins of Environmental Justice
May 7 Friday, 1:30-4:00 p.m.: FINAL EXAM

Note also these university deadlines:
Jan 25: Last day for student-initiated drop on the Web. Mar 12: Last day to drop a course.

This page has been accessed Hit Counter times.

Last edited: 05/05/2010 10:37 AM