The Environment as a Historical Actor: Web Resources
"Environment as historical actor" is an AP World history theme as well as a subject of university teaching and research. John R. McNeill (see Tom Laichas' interview with McNeill in the links section of this article below) provided perhaps the first 20th Century world history classroom suitable text on this subject, when he wrote Something New Under the Sun (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000) in 2000. This was the first to argue that human activity during the twentieth century provoked environmental change on an unprecedented scale. In 2006, J. Douglas Hughes published What is Environmental History (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2006), a small user-friendly volume that offers an introduction to the subject suitable for classroom use, but traces the evolution of the methodology and growth of the field in ways that approximate a manual for doing as well as thinking about environmental history. An anthology with essays from many prominent scholars addressing the environment in world history has recently been published under the editorship of Edmund Burke III and Kenneth Pomeranz (ed.), The Environment and World History (see http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/11132.php ). This 2009 work features an introduction by Pomeranz that questions and critiques all previous environmental history done by World Historians. This collection of articles will compel world historians to "up their game," a task made easier by Burke and Pomeranz's excellent select bibliography on environmental history, which is divided by topic and global regions. Much the same is expected from J. R. McNeill and Erin C. Stewart, eds., A Companion to Global Environmental History now in preparation for publication by Blackwell Press. As the number of these works increase and the need to translate this scholarship into the classroom becomes an even greater challenge, the editors at World History Connected have pledged themselves to address this dilemma through Forums devoted to exploring environmental history, book reviews, and classroom-ready materials. This issue's Forum, book review section and this article are merely the first steps in fulfillment of that commitment.
Teaching Environmental History:
A website by Environmental Historian William Cronon supports the teaching of this growing field. It offers links and resources, as well as lesson plans on the interaction of humans and the environment at http://www.williamcronon.net/researching/index.htm.
An excellent site on Environment history 8000 BCE to the present is offered at http://www.eh-resources.org/.
Prehistoric human interaction with
environment in Hudson River, NY is addressed at http://www.hrmm.org/hvrr/waterman.htm.
A Prehistory environmental Website and mirrored site
with Environment history NEWS is
found at http://www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_prehistory.html and http://www.eh-resources.org/news/news.html.
Tom Laichas of World History Connected conducted an interview with Dr. John McNeill, author of Something New Under the Sun (2000) which is on offer at http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/6.3/mcneill.html.
Many resources, syllabi, lesson plans,
etc. that can be used to learn about Environmental History, Environmental
education and environmental ethics are provided by the University of
California, Berkeley at:http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/departments/espm/env-hist/eh-internet.html and http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/departments/espm/env-hist/espm160/index.html and http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/departments/espm/env-hist/espm161/index.html
For many links to environment and
natural history, see: http://www.academicinfo.net/ehist.html
Timelines and links for
environmental history can be found at: http://www.runet.edu/~wkovarik/envhist/ and
For journal articles on the environment, see:
John Maunu is an AP World History Reader/Table Leader and AP/Collegeboard World History consultant teaching AP European and AP World history at Grosse Ile High School in southeast Michigan.
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