Western Civilization and the Environment

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Spring  2015

Mondays / Fridays ~ 1:50-2:45

Wednesdays / Fridays ~ 2:55-3:50




Lecture Objectives





Please note: this schedule is subject to change





Monday, 1-12, 2015



Wednesday, 1-14

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

Diamond: Preface, Prologue, Ch 1

Read about Jared Diamond:


Friday, 1-16

Collision of Cultures

Diamond: Ch 2, 3

Monday, 1-19

Last day to add is Tues., Jan. 20th

No Classes,

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

suggestion: read ahead in Diamond text (see Friday)

Wednesday, 1-21

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, 1-23

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


Monday, 1-26

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, 1-28

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, 1-30

Horsemanship and its Impact on Ancient Civilizations

Guest Lecture, Kimberly Poulin


Monday, 2-2

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

Wednesday, 2-4

Writing & Technology

Diamond: Ch 12, 13

Friday, 2-6

Last day to drop is Feb. 6th

project memos due

Government & Religion


Diamond: Ch 14

Monday, 2-9

Exercise & Discussion 1
Strongest/Weakest Chapter

suggestion: start reading the Blaut text

Wednesday, 2-11

Guns, Germs, Steel video
Episode 3- Into the Tropics


Friday, 2-13

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.

Monday, 2-16

The Myth of the European Miracle

Blaut: 2

Wednesday, 2-18

Blaut's Theory of the Rise of the West

Blaut: 3, 4, 5

Friday, 2-20

Exercise & Discussion 2

Critique / Comparison
of Diamond & Blaut

Monday, 2-23

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project

Wednesday, 2-25

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project


Friday, 2-27

deadline to sign up for review meetings



Monday, 3-2

First Exam

Wednesday, 3-4

draft posters due

Poster Project Work Day


Friday, 3-6


contingency session

Monday, 3-9 to Friday 3-13

No Classes,

Spring Break


  *******Unit 2*******  
Monday, 3-16 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

Wednesday, 3-18

Review Meetings

Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome

Exercise & Discussion 4


Friday, 3-20


Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map Civs & Natural Resources


Monday, 3-23

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

Wednesday, 3-25

Christianity and the Western World View


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

Friday, 3-27

Environmental Values in World Religions

Guest Lecture, Tim Eggert


Monday, 3-30

Final Posters Due (staggered)

Exercise & Discussion 5 Environmental Ethics Continuum


Wednesday, 4-1

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, 4-3

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, 4-6


Exercise & Discussion 6
social ownership

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

Wednesday, 4-8

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


Vasari on Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, 4-10




Luther's 95 Theses
Weber Protestant Ethic, Ch V

Monday, 4-13

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, 4-15

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

Friday, 4-17

Scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Guest Lecture, Emily Badway


Monday, 4-20


Rousseau, Social Contract
Locke, Two Treatises

Wednesday, 4-22

Review Session

Friday, 4-24

Review Session


Monday, 4-27 Last Class, Last Exam