Western Civilization and the Environment

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Fall  2014

Mondays / Wednesdays / Fridays ~ 10:35-11:30




Lecture Objectives





Please note: this schedule is subject to change





Monday, 8-25, 2014



Wednesday, 8-27

Defining Western Civilization & Introduction to Guns, Germs, and Steel

Diamond: Preface, Prologue, Ch 1

Read about Jared Diamond:


Friday, 8-29

Collision of Cultures

Diamond: Ch 2, 3

Monday, 9-1

Last day to add is Tues., Sept. 2nd

No Classes,

Labor Day

suggestion: read ahead in Diamond text (see Friday)

Wednesday, 9-3

Guns, Germs, Steel video
National Geographic/PBS Documentary, Episode 2: Conquest

Transcript from PBS
this is not required reading, but it may help with note-taking
suggestion: start reading ahead in Diamond

Friday, 9-5

Poster Project Administration Day
** Very Important Class Session**


Monday, 9-8

Food Production

Diamond: Ch 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Charles, Dan.  2012. “Farmers Face Tough Choices on Ways to Fight Weeds.”   National Public Radio.  Morning Edition, March 11.

Wednesday, 9-10

Animals, Axes, & Germs

Diamond: Ch 9, 10, 11

Davidson, Adam. 2012.  “Meet Claudia, the High Tech Cow.”  National Public Radio.  Morning Edition, March 19.

Friday, 9-12

Guns, Germs, Steel video
Episode 1- Out of Eden

suggestion: catch up with Diamond text

Transcript from PBS
this is not required reading, but it may help with note-taking

Monday, 9-15

Writing & Technology

Diamond: Ch 12, 13

Wednesday, 9-17

Government & Religion

Diamond: Ch 14

Friday, 9-19

Last day to drop is Sept. 19th

project memos due

Exercise & Discussion 1
Strongest/Weakest Chapter


suggestion: start reading the Blaut text

Monday, 9-22

Historiography and A Critique of Diffusionism

Blaut: 1;
Blaut online review of Diamond
Blaut, J. M. 1999. “Environmentalism and Eurocentrism: A Review Essay.” Geographical Review 89, 3 : 391-408.

Wednesday, 9-24

The Myth of the European Miracle

Blaut: 2

Friday, 9-26

Blaut's Theory of the Rise of the West

Blaut: 3, 4, 5

Monday, 9-29

Exercise & Discussion 2
Critique / Comparison
of Diamond & Blaut


Wednesday, 10-1

Horsemanship and its Impact on Ancient Civilizations

Guest Lecture, Kimberly Poulin

Friday, 10-3

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project

Monday, 10-6

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project

Wednesday, 10-8



Friday, 10-10



First Exam


Monday, 10-13

draft posters due

Poster Project Work Day

read your team-mate's poster and discuss how you will move forward toward a final combined poster

  *********Unit 2*******  

Wednesday, 10-15

Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome


Floyd, DW, Vonhof, SL, and Seyfang, HE.  2001.  "Forest Sustainability: A Discussion Guide for Professional Resource Managers."  Journal of Forestry 99(2): pp.8-16.  Ingenta Connect

Hughes, JD. 2003. "Easter Island: Model for Environmental History?" Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 14(2): pp. 77-83. pdf file

Friday, 10-17

deadline to sign up for review meetings

no class

Monday, 10-20

Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome

Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map



Wednesday, 10-22

Review Meetings

Oct 21st - ??

Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map


Friday, 10-24



Knowledge: The Greek Legacy

Thanos, CA. 1994. "Aristotle and Theophrastus on plant-animal interactions." Chapter 1 in Plant-Animal Interactions in Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems. Netherlands: Khwer Academic Publishers. pp. 3-11.
pdf file
Hughes, JD. 1985. "Theophrastus as Ecologist." Environmental Review 9(4): pp. 296-306.
JSTOR database

Monday, 10-27

Christianity and the Western World View

White L. "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis." 1967. Science 155(3767): pp. 1203-1207.
JSTOR database

Wednesday, 10-29

Environmental Values in World Religions

Guest Lecture, Erica Schwabach



Friday, 10-31

Exercise & Discussion 5 Environmental Ethics Continuum


Monday, 11-3

Final Posters DueNov 4th - ??

contingency session


Wednesday, 11-5

Medieval Times: Feudalism, Magna Carta & the Black Death

Domesday Book
Young, Cr. 1978. "Conservation Policies in the Royal Forests of Medieval England." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 10(2): 95-103. JSTOR database

Birrell. J. 1992. "Deer and Deer Farming in Medieval England." Agricultural History Review 40 (2): 112-126.
pdf file

Friday, 11-7

Medieval Times:, cont'd

"Rousseau's Revenge"

Bromley, DW. 1998. "Rousseau's Revenge: The Demise of the Freehold Estate." In Who Owns America? Social Conflict Over Property Rights. Ed. H. M. Jacobs. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 19-28.
(copies of this reading are available outside Dr. Vonhof's office)

Monday, 11-10


Exercise & Discussion 6
social ownership

be sure you've read Bromley's essay (see above)

Wednesday, 11-12

The "Rise" of the West: The Umbrella of the Renaissance


Vasari on Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, 11-14




Luther's 95 Theses
Weber Protestant Ethic, Ch V

Monday, 11-17

Scientific Revolution(s):
the Cosmos and the Natural World


Kuhn, Thomas S. 2009. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.  http://www.brittanica.com/EBchecked/topic/324460/Thomas-S-Kuhn

Wednesday, 11-19

Scientific Revolution(s):
the Cosmos and the Natural World

Friday, 11-21

Enlightenment Rousseau, Social Contract
Locke, Two Treatises

Monday, 11-24 to

Friday 11-28

No Classes,

Thanksgiving Break


Monday, 12-1

Review Session

Wednesday, 12-3

Review Session

Friday, 12-5

Last Class, Last Exam