[ENVS 237] Race and the American Environment

As Native peoples, Africans, and Europeans came into contact with one another, their actions altered both the cultural and natural landscapes of the present-day United States. This course will focus on some of these actions, both intentional and unwitting, as we consider central questions of American environmental history from the colonial era through the present day. We will think about the ways that different cultural approaches to land, plants, and animals transform ecological systems, as well as the ways that different groups of people approach various landscapes. We will also consider environmental causes and consequences of otherwise familiar historical events, as well as the ways that class and, especially, race, affect people’s relationships with “the environment.” Additional topics include ideas and experiences of “nature”; slavery and the plantation system; the displacement of indigenous peoples; and the rise of environmentalism and its transformation by issues of inequality and justice.

Course Title

Race and the American Environment

Course Code

ENVS 237



Fulfills Requirements



Also listed as History 237/Critical Studies 237.


Open to first-year students.

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