HIST 4323

Nature & Americans

FALL 2021

Dr. Mark Stoll
Office: HH 135     Office hours: Monday 11:00–1:00; and by appointment
📧 Mark.Stoll@ttu.edu     🌐 https://www.markstoll.net/     ☏ (806) 834-6285




Dig the Crazy Purpose of the Course

This course explores the origins of the modern American environmental issues 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 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, students will select on a leader, organization, or aspect of the environmental controversy and produce a research paper that puts that subject into the context of the era.

Far-Out Readings

Find books for the analytical book review here: Suggested Books for the Analytical Book Review

Groovy Details

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

Style: All formal 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. Grammar and punctuation must be correct. For links to online writing advice, see https://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/uwc/undergraduate/index.php. Also, 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: http://uwc.ttu.edu/.

Take-home Exams: Students will write one take-home exam.

Analytical Book Review: Students will write an analytical book review on a book of their choice, drawn from the professor's bibliography (excluding edited collections of essays or books required for the course). Papers must be between four and six pages in length. No footnotes or bibliography is needed. Cite sources for quotations by putting the page number(s) in parentheses after the quotation marks and before any punctuation, thusly: (p. 57).
Instructions for the analytical book review: For this review, students will select a book on environmental history from a list of books the professor supplies to the class. The book review will have three sections:

Research Paper: Students will research and write a paper between twelve and sixteen pages long 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. Use footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography. For style consult Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style.

Some possible topics include:

·         Earth Day 1970

·         The Eisenhower administration and an environmental issue

·         The Kennedy administration and an environmental issue

·         The Johnson administration and an environmental issue

·         The Nixon administration and an environmental issue

·         The Carter administration and an environmental issue

·         The Reagan administration and an environmental issue

·         Lady Bird Johnson and the environment

·         Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall

·         A wilderness issue, e.g., the Wilderness Act, the RARE process, or specific controversy

·         Rise of environmental justice movement, such as farmworkers movement, Love Canal, Warren County, etc.

·         The creation of or controversy about a local, state, or national park

·         The origins of the EPA or other major legislation or government agency

·         The Rockefeller family and the environment

·         Conservative environmentalists

·         Christians and the environmental crisis

·         Science fiction and the environment (for example, Ursula K. LeGuin or John Brunner)

·         Environmental themes in film (for example, Them!, Silent Running, Soylent Green, Chinatown, China Syndrome, Koyaanisqatsi)

·         The impact of a major environmental activist, such as David Brower, Barry Commoner, Edward Abbey, Paul Ehrlich, or Lois Gibbs

·         An environmental organization, such as the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, or other

·         The Storm King controversy, or an environmental court case

·         The impact of Silent Spring, The Population Bomb, The Closing Circle, Limits to Growth, Small is Beautiful, Ecotopia, Whole Earth Catalog, or other important book

·         Resources for the Future

·         The first international environmental summit in Stockholm, 1972

·         The 1973 oil crisis or the 1979 oil crisis

·         Love Canal, “Valley of the Drums,” Times Beach, or other toxic waste controversy

·         The Three Mile Island nuclear accident

·         The controversy over plans for a specific nuclear power plant, such as Seacaucus or Diablo Canyon

·         The military’s impact on the environment, such as radioactive waste, nuclear weapons testing, or environmental impacts of one or more military bases

·         Nuclear testing, the environment, and human health (such as Utah residents or nearby Indian tribes)

·         The relationship of the environmental movement to society or to other movements (antiwar, feminism, civil rights, etc.)

·         The battle against a dam, such as Echo Park, Grand Canyon, or Tellico

·         The controversy over DDT, Alar, or another pesticide

·         The rise of agribusiness and its environmental impact (chemicals, animals, soil exhaustion and erosion, etc.)

·         Pesticides and the farmworker movement of Cesar Chavez

·         The organic farming movement or natural foods stores

·         The counterculture and the environment

·         Communes or the back-to-the-land movement

·         Minorities and the environment

·         The Santa Barbara oil spill

·         One aspect of the fight against water pollution, such as the “death” of Lake Erie or the Hudson River cleanup

·         One aspect of the fight against air pollution, such as the rise and control of smog or the Donora crisis

·         The politics of the energy crisis

·         The “Sagebrush Rebellion” and public lands

·         Controversy over the cross-Florida canal, the Florida airport, or another major Florida development

·         Preserving species or wildlife

·         Making suburbs more environmentally friendly

·         The movement for the development of renewable fuel sources, such as solar or wind power

·         Recycling

·         The fight for auto emission control


Students will turn in their choices of paper topic with a preliminary bibliography, which counts as 10% of the paper grade.

Students will give 10-minute presentations of their papers in the last weeks of class. The class will have an opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

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

·         15% Book review

·         20% Take-home exam

·         10% Thesis and bibliography

·         50% Research paper

·         5% Presentation

Students may optionally submit a re-write of their research papers, due on May 3 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.

Electronics in the classroom: Electronic devices distract both the student and nearby students. All electronic devices must be turned off and put away during class time. Texting or other use of cell phones or laptops is prohibited. Laptops may be used with permission of the instructor 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. Students using unauthorized electronic devices during class will be asked to leave and counted absent for the day.

§  “Religious holy day” means a holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Texas Tax Code §11.20. A student who intends to observe a religious holy day should make that intention known in writing to the instructor prior to the absence. A student who is absent from classes for the observance of a religious holy day shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence. A student who is excused under this provision may not be penalized for the absence; however, the instructor may respond appropriately if the student fails to complete the assignment satisfactorily.

§  Any student who, because of a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet the course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements. Students should present appropriate verification from Student Disability Services during the instructor’s office hours. Please note: instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodations to a student until appropriate verification from Student Disability Services has been provided. For additional information, please contact Student Disability Services in Weeks Hall or call 806-742-2405.

§  Academic integrity is taking responsibility for one’s own work, being individually accountable, and demonstrating intellectual honesty and ethical behavior. Academic integrity is a personal choice to abide by the standards of intellectual honesty and responsibility. Because education is a shared effort to achieve learning through the exchange of ideas, students, faculty, and staff have the collective responsibility to build mutual trust and respect.  Ethical behavior and independent thought are essential for the highest level of academic achievement, which then must be measured. Academic achievement includes scholarship, teaching and learning, all of which are shared endeavors. Grades are a device used to quantify the successful accumulation of knowledge through learning. Adhering to the standards of academic integrity ensures that grades are earned honestly and gives added value to the entire educational process. Academic integrity is the foundation upon which students, faculty, and staff build their educational and professional careers.

§  Students are responsible for understanding the principles and policies regarding academic integrity at Texas Tech University and abide by them in all class and/or course work at the University. Academic misconduct violations are outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. The University policies and procedures regarding academic integrity can be found in the Student Handbook.  The Student Handbook and the Code of Student Conduct can be found online at www.ttu.edu/studenthandbook.

§  It is the aim of the faculty of Texas Tech University to foster a spirit of complete honesty and high standard of integrity. The attempt of students to present as their own any work not honestly performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a most serious offence and renders the offenders liable to serious consequences, possibly suspension.

§  Academic or “Scholastic” dishonesty includes, but it not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, misrepresenting facts, and any act designed to give unfair academic advantage to the student (such as, but not limited to, submission of essentially the same written assignment for two courses without the prior permission of the instructor) or the attempt to commit such an act.

§  The Department of History adheres to Texas Tech University’s statement and related policies on issues of academic integrity as detailed in OP 34.12 (see above).

§  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:

o    a failing grade (F) for the assignment in question

o    a failing grade (F) for the course

o    a written reprimand

o    disqualification from scholarships and/or funding

§  Expected Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, the students will be able to (1) describe major events and themes in the history of the Sixties era and early environmentalism; (2) explain the ways events and social and cultural developments shaped American environmentalism; (3) describe the history of early environmental institutions and policies; (4) develop analytical arguments in written and/or oral forms by analyzing critically major historical events, people, ideas, values, and institutions that shape society’s contemporary environmental successes and problems; (5) know how to write a research paper, including development of an argument, use of primary and secondary sources, and proper footnote and bibliography style.

§  Assessment of Expected Learning Outcomes: Exams, consisting essay questions, assess outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 4; discussion assesses 1, 2, and 3; the research paper assesses outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The professor reserves the right to change this syllabus at his discretion. Changes will be announced in class and posted on the class Webpages. © 2020 Mark R. Stoll. All rights reserved.


Schedule of Happenings

Aug 23



Postwar world


Environmental thinking


Cold-War America

Sep 1

Cold-War America


Cold-War America


Labor Day — No class


Quiz and discussion: Rome, The Genius of Earth Day


Cold-War America


Cold-War America


Environmental Issues in the 1950s


Meet at library for library research tour 


Environmental Issues in the 1950s
Analytical Book Review Due


Environmental Issues in the 1950s
Reading: Rampolla, chapters 1, 2, and 4


The Early 1960s


Meet at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library for archives tour  


The Early 1960s
Reading: Stradling, Introduction and Part 1

Oct 1

The Early 1960s


Paper Topic and Preliminary Bibliography Due
The Early 1960s


The Early 1960s


Environmental Issues of the 1960s


Environmental Issues of the 1960s


End of the 1960s




1970s begin


Reading: Rampolla, chapters 4 and 5


Earth Day
Reading: Stradling, Parts 2




Nov 1









Papers Due




Thanksgiving Break — No class





Dec 1

Rewrites due

Dec 7

5:00 p.m.: Take-home Exam Due