Western Civilization and the Environment

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Spring  2014

Mondays / Fridays ~ 1:50-2:45

Wednesdays ~ 2:55-3:50




Lecture Objectives





Please note: this schedule is subject to change





Monday, 1-13, 2014



Wednesday, 1-15

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

Diamond: Preface, Prologue, Ch 1

Read about Jared Diamond:


Friday, 1-17

Collision of Cultures

Diamond: Ch 2, 3

Monday, 1-20

Last day to add is Jan. 21st

No Classes,

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

suggestion: read ahead in Diamond text (see Friday)

Wednesday, 1-22

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

suggestion: catch up with Diamond text

Transcript from PBS
this is not required reading, but it may help with note-taking
suggestion: start reading ahead in Diamond to prepare for the 1-31 class

Friday, 1-24

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


Monday, 1-27

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, 1-29

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, 1-31

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, 2-3

Writing & Technology

Diamond: Ch 12, 13


Government & Religion

Diamond: Ch 14

Friday, 2-7

Last day to drop is Feb. 7th

project memos due

Exercise & Discussion 1
Strongest/Weakest Chapter


suggestion: start reading the Blaut text

Monday, 2-10

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, 2-12

The Myth of the European Miracle

Blaut: 2

Friday, 2-14

Blaut's Theory of the Rise of the West

Blaut: 3, 4, 5

Monday, 2-17

Exercise & Discussion 2
Critique / Comparison
of Diamond & Blaut


Wednesday, 2-19


Friday, 2-21

First Exam

Monday, 2-24

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project

Wednesday, 2-26

Exercise & Discussion 3

Poster Project



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


Friday, 2-28



NO formal class session

the Teaching Team will be available to review and help with draft posters (due date moved to Monday)


Monday, 3-3

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

Wednesday, 3-5

Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome

Intro to Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map

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, 3-7

deadline to sign up for review meetings

Class cancelled

Monday, 3-9 to

Friday 3-16

No Classes,

Enjoy Spring Break

Monday, 3-17

Civilizations and Natural Resources: Easter Island, Mesopotamia, Rome

Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map


Wednesday, 3-19

Review Meetings

Mar 19th - 26th

Exercise & Discussion 4 - Concept Map

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

Friday, 3-21


Christianity and the Western World View

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

Monday, 3-24

Guest Lecture, Erica Schwabach


Wednesday, 3-26

Exercise & Discussion 5 Environmental Ethics Continuum


Friday, 3-28


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

Monday, 3-31

"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)

Wednesday, 4-2

Final Posters DueApr 2nd - 16th

Exercise & Discussion 6
social ownership

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

Friday, 4-4

Guest Lecture, Kimberly Poulin






Monday, 4-7


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

Vasari on Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, 4-9



Luther's 95 Theses
Weber Protestant Ethic, Ch V

Friday, 4-11




Monday, 4-14

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, 4-16

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

Friday, 4-18

Good Friday - no class  

Monday, 4-21


Rousseau, Social Contract
Locke, Two Treatises

Wednesday, 4-23

Review Session

Friday, 4-25

Review Session

Monday, 4-28

Last Class, Last Exam