Mar 25, 2023  
2013-2014 Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENV 295-01 - Special Topic: Agriculture and Empires

4 credits (Fall)
Human agriculture has transformed the face of Earth more than all the armies of history. This course will examine hunt-gathering (including the pelagic whaling industry as a modern-day equivalent of hunter-gathering); the vicissitudes of post-Pleistocene climate change (and particularly the Younger Dryas) as forgers of sedentary agriculture (including silviculture) in both the Middle East and the pre-Columbian Americas; the insidious relationship of sugar, slavery and colonialism; GMO’s; and the use of food crops as fuel. The course will emphasize the co-evolution of disease and agriculture; the great trophic and epidemiological interchanges across the Atlantic and along the Silk Road; the black death in Europe and the establishment of modern labor; how sleeping sickness and river blindness have determined settlement patterns in sub-Saharan Africa; Yellow Fever and the Haitian revolution; the indispensable role of Peruvian chinchona (source of the anti-malarial, quinine) in the establishment of British Empire; the use of antibiotics (and the consistent evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbes) in modern factory farms.

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.
Instructor: Campbell