HIST 4323: Nature & Americans

The Sixties
and the Origins of Environmentalism


Dr. Mark Stoll
Holden Hall 135 -- (806) 742-3744, leave message -- mark.stoll@ttu.edu
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:30–3:30 and by appointment
Class Webpage: http://courses.ttu.edu/mstoll/

Dig the Crazy Purpose of the Course:

This course explores the origins of the modern American environmental movement in the culture, society, politics, and tumultuous events of the 1960s. Using lecture, discussion, readings, video, and music, the instructor will create the context within which modern environmental concerns and activism first appeared. Environmentalism arose at the height of the Cold War crisis and, like the Chicano, feminist, and gay rights movements, achieved its greatest accomplishments after the civil rights and antiwar movements began to wind down. All of these movements lost steam in the second half of the 1970s, and the Reagan Administration reversed course on them in 1981. Hence, the era from 1945 to 1981 captures all the essential elements and accomplishments of both the Sixties and the environmental movement.

This is a writing intensive course. In addition to completing exams and short papers, students will focus on a particular leader, organization, or aspect of the environmental movement, and produce a research paper that puts that subject into the context of the era.

Far-Out Readings:

Online Readings:

Groovy Details:

This is a writing-intensive course. Students will write one take-home midterm and one take-home final exam. In addition, students will write one research paper on a subject relating to the history of the postwar environmental movement.

Notes: Students will take notes over the reading for each week and hand in a copy at the beginning of class. Notes need not be extensive to demonstrate familiarity with the selections. Notes may be handwritten or typed.

Style: All written work will be typed, double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman, with 1" margins top and bottom and 1-1/4" margins on each side, and page numbers in the margin. Include a cover sheet. Do not add any space between paragraphs. Use footnotes and a bibliography. For style consult Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style.

Takehome Exams: Students will write two takehome exams, a midterm and a final.

Research Paper: Students will research and write a paper of at least twelve pages on a topic of their choice. In frequent consultation with the professor, students will master the secondary literature and find primary sources on their chosen subject. Students may write on one of the topics below, or come up with a subject on their own in consultation with the professor. Some possible topics include:

Grading: The final grade will be calculated on the following basis:

Students may optionally submit a re-write of their research papers, due on June 28 at 5:00 p.m., and the average of the grades of the two papers will be entered as the grade for the paper.

Plagiarism: Using text written by someone else (even in a close paraphrase) without clear and unambiguous acknowledgment is academic dishonesty and will result in an "F" for the course.

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 1.5 points off their final grades for each absence over one. The instructor will accept excuses in cases of true need if appropriately documented. Students who leave class early may be counted absent. Three tardies count as one absence. Students more than 10 minutes late will be counted absent.


Schedule of Happenings:

Jan 13 Introduction: The Sixties Era and the Birth of Environmentalism, 1945-1981
18 Postwar America
20 Environmental issues and concerns of the late 1940s
25 Reading: Marjory Stoneman Douglas; Aldo Leopold; Berton Roueché; Ian Stacy
27 Early Cold War America
Related NPR story: "Cronkite: 'See it Now' and McCarthy"
Feb 1 The Good Life?
Helen and Scott Nearing; E. B. White; Jacques Ellul; Christian Pfister
3 American Politics and Society in the 1950s
8 The Wilderness Moment
Reading: Edwin Way Teale; Sigurd F. Olson; Loren Eiseley; William O. Douglas; Eliot Porter; Howard Zahniser; Mark Harvey
10 Rising Environmental Concern, 1950-1963
15 Rachel Carson and the birth of American environmentalism
Rachel Carson; Thomas Smith; Linda Lear; Ralph Lutts; Maril Hazlett
17 The Birth of the Sixties: The Kennedy Years
22 The Kennedy Administration
Reading: Lyndon B. Johnson; Melody Webb; Lewis Gould; Martin Melosi
24 Johnson and the Great Society
Mar 1 Creating a Livable Human Environment
Jane Jacobs; Russell Baker; Lewis Mumford; Adam Rome, "Give Earth a Chance"
3 The Environmental Crisis of the 1960s
8 Past, Present, and Future of the Environmental Crisis
Reading: Kenneth E. Boulding; Lynn White Jr.; Paul R. Ehrlich; Garrett Hardin; Philip K. Dick
10 Rising Expectations, Rising Tensions, Rising Resistance, Rising Violence
12-20 Spring Break
22 Take-home Midterm Due
24 1968
Hear some excellent stories in the NPR series remembering 1968: "Echoes of 1968"
29 Harmony with Nature
Reading: Edward Abbey; Colin Fletcher; R. Buckminster Fuller; Stephanie Mills; Gary Snyder; John McPhee; Ian McHarg
31 End of the Sixties: Nixon
Apr 5 Earth Day
Reading: Denis Hayes; Joseph Lelyveld; Adam Rome, "The Genius of Earth Day"; Finis Dunaway
7 The Environmental Decade
12 Age of Limits
Frances Moore Lappé; Barry Commoner; Club of Rome; Only One Earth; Andrew Feenberg
14 Crisis of the Seventies: Oil Crisis, Foreign Defeat, Economic Stagnation
19 Papers Due
Healing the Earth

Reading: Joni Mitchell & Marvin Gaye; John Denver; Wendell Berry; Annie Dillard; Lewis Thomas; David R. Brower; Andrew Kirk
21 Retreat from Reform: the Late Seventies
26 The Energy Crisis; Cleaning the Environment
Reading: Amory B. Lovins; Lois Marie Gibbs; James Lovelock; John C. Barrow; Jeffrey K. Stine
28 The Carter Administration
May 3 Rewrites due
The Election of Reagan and the End of the Environmental Decade
9 Take-home Final Exam Due

Note: Students who, because of a disabling condition, may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary accommodations. Students should present appropriate verification from the Disabled Students Services in the Dean of Students Office.

The professor reserves the right to change this syllabus at his discretion. Changes will be announced in class and posted at the Web address listed above.

Last updated: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 10:46 AM