Western Civilization and the Environment

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Fall  2015

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




Lecture Objectives





Please note: this schedule is subject to change





Monday, 8-31, 2015



Wednesday, 9-2

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

Diamond: Preface, Prologue, Ch 1

Read about Jared Diamond:


Friday, 9-4

Collision of Cultures

Diamond: Ch 2, 3

Monday, 9-7

Last day to add is Tues., Sept 8th

No Classes,

Labor. Day

suggestion: read ahead in Diamond text (see Friday)

Wednesday, 9-9

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

Transcript from PBSthis is not required reading, but it may help with note-takingsuggestion: start reading ahead in Diamond

Friday, 9-11

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


Monday, 9-14

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, 9-16

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, 9-18

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

suggestion: catch up with Diamond text

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

Monday, 9-21

Writing & Technology

Diamond: Ch 12, 13

Wednesday, 9-23

Government & Religion

Diamond: Ch 14

Friday, 9-25

Last day to drop is Sept. 25th

Project memos due

Exercise & Discussion 1
Strongest/Weakest Chapter

suggestion: start reading the Blaut text

Monday, 9-28

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


Wednesday, 9-30

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project


Friday, 10-2

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project


Monday, 10-5

Poster Project Lesson

Alden Morris


Wednesday, 10-7


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.

Friday, 10-9

The Myth of the European Miracle

Blaut: 2

Monday, 10-12

Blaut's Theory of the Rise of the West

Blaut: 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, 10-14

Exercise & Discussion 2

Critique / Comparison 
of Diamond & Blaut


Friday, 10-16




Monday, 10-19

deadline to sign up for review meetings

No class,

Dr. V available in her office


Wednesday, 10-21

First Exam



*******Unit 2*******


Friday, 10-23




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

Monday, 10-26

Draft posters due

Poster project work day


Wednesday, 10-28



Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome

Exercise & Discussion 4







Friday, 10-30


Last day to withdraw

is 10-30

Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map Civs & Natural Resources


Monday, 11-2

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, 11-4

 Review Meetings

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, 11-6

Exercise & Discussion 5 Environmental Ethics Continuum


Monday, 11-9


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

Wednesday, 11-11

Final Posters Due (staggered, 11th-17th)


Public Trust Doctrine

Gues Lecture, Chris Herald


Friday, 11-13



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, 11-16

Exercise & Discussion 6
social ownership


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

Wednesday, 11-18


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



MachiavelliVasari on Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, 11-20



Luther's 95 Theses

Weber Protestant Ethic, Ch V

Monday, 11-23 to Friday 11-27

No Classes,

Thanksgiving Break


Monday, 11-30

Environmental Ethics post Reformation

Guest Lecture, Collette Charbonneau



Wednesday, 12-2

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-KuhnCopernicusNewton

Friday, 12-4


Rousseau, Social Contract

Locke, Two Treatises

Monday, 12-7

Review Session


Wednesday, 12-9

Review Session


Friday, 12-11

Last Class, Last Exam