History 3327 Ï Spring 2024

Earth, Wind, & Fire

Nature & History in America

Professor Mark Stoll

Humanities 454

E-mail: mark.stoll@ttu.edu   Web: https://www.markstoll.net/

Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 12:30–1:45 p.m. 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: Study Questions

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt

John Clayton, Natural Rivals

Lauret Savoy, Trace


17.5% each

Midterm examinations


Final examination


Six book quizzes


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.

Makeups: Exams or quizzes missed for any reason may be made up on Makeup Day, the last Monday of the semester, in the professor’s office any time between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Papers: Students will write an analytical book review on a book of their choice.
Instructions for the analytical book review: For this review, students will select a book on environmental history from the bibliography of American environmental history on the professor’s Website (excluding edited collections of essays or books required for the course). There is a full bibliography here: https://www.markstoll.net/Bibliographies/US/Environmental.htm. You can also find an abridged version with only suitable books at this link: https://www.markstoll.net/HIST3327/2024/Short_Environmental.htm. Students may select another book if the professor approves it. The book review will be four to six pages long and 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. You can often find a statement of the book’s thesis in its preface, introduction, or conclusion. Reread these sections after you finish your book. (Ask the professor, if you have any doubts. Many students miss or confuse the thesis!)

3.     Most important, an analysis of the book, including how successful it is (or is not!) in supporting its thesis, what the author’s bias (that is, its point of view) is, 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. Would you recommend it to others? Give examples to support each point of your analysis.

Papers will be printed in 12-point Times New Roman, double spaced, with 1" margins all around (or 1¼" right and left margins and 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:

The poet wrote, “That is the way the world ends” (42).

No footnotes or bibliography are necessary. Grammar and punctuation must be correct. For writing advice, the University Writing Center (paid for by your fees!) would be happy to help you polish your writing. They can help you in person or via the Internet, and can be reached through their Website: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/uwc/undergraduate/index.php.


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 1½ points 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.


Electronics in the Classroom: Because electronic devices distract both the student and other students around them, all electronic devices must be turned off during class time. That includes use of cell phones or laptops. Students using cell phones in class will be asked to leave and will be counted absent for the day. Laptops may be used only if the instructor gives permission, but students must use the computer for class-related activities only, such as note-taking. This means no e-mail, social media, Internet surfing, video watching, or other non-academic activities. If, during an exam, a student is seen using any electronic device, the exam will be collected immediately at that moment and receive a failing grade.


Texas Tech Policies Concerning Academic Honesty, Special Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Student Absences for Observance of Religious Holy Days, and Accommodations for Pregnant Students:

These statements can be found at this URL: <https://www.depts.ttu.edu/tlpdc/RequiredSyllabusStatements.php>


AI Policy:

The use of generative AI tools (such as ChatGPT) is not permitted in this course; therefore, any use of AI tools for work in this class may be considered a violation of Texas Tech’s Academic Integrity policy and the Student Code of Conduct since the work is not your own. The use of unauthorized AI tools will result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct.


The Department of History adheres to Texas Tech University’s statement and related policies on issues of academic integrity: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/tlpdc/PlagiarismStatement.pdf.

Any student found to be in violation of these policies will be subject to disciplinary action at both the departmental and university levels. At the departmental level, such action may include one or more of the following:





Jan 11


Jan 16

Were Indians environmentalists?

Jan 18

Arrival of the Europeans: ecological imperialism

Jan 23

Reading: Cronon, Changes in the Land

Jan 25

Slavery and the Southern environment

Jan 30

New England and agricultural improvement

Feb 1

New England and agricultural improvement, cont.

Feb 6

Reading: Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Feb 8

American Romanticism

Feb 13

First Midterm Exam

Feb 15

Transformation of the West: Spanish, Russian, and Mexican West

Feb 20

Transformation of the West: Mining, Ranching, Farming

Feb 22

Rise of conservation

Feb 27

Reading: Clayton, Natural Rivals

Feb 29

Industrialization and the rise of the cities

Mar 5

The Progressive conservation movement: conservation achieved

Mar 7

After the Progressives: The 1920s

Mar 9–17

Spring Break

Mar 19

The New Deal
Book review due

Mar 21

New forces, new fears: radiation

Mar 26

Reading: Carson, Silent Spring

Mar 28

Dams and wilderness

Apr 2

Second Midterm Exam

Apr 4

The 1960s: Johnson and the Great Society and environmental crisis

Apr 9

The 1970s: Nixon and the environmental decade

Apr 11

The 1970s: Carter and the Energy Crisis, Toxic Waste, and Nuclear Power

Apr 16

Reading: Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt

Apr 18

The 1980s: Reagan and the End of Bipartisan Environmentalism

Apr 23

Environmental Justice; International Solutions to Acid Rain and Ozone Depletion, but Not Global Warming

Apr 25

A New Environmentalism for the Twentieth Century?

Apr 29

Makeup day

Apr 30

Reading: Savoy, Trace

May 6

Monday, 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: FINAL EXAM