Linda Nash: Areas of Graduate Study

Division: United States

US Environmental History-- As a field of scholarship, environmental history focuses on the reciprocal interactions between human societies and the natural world, the changing ways in which those interactions have been mediated by cultural and political forms, and the emergence of “the environment” as an object of knowledge and concern.  It also seeks to challenge the neglect of materials and materiality in other fields of history.  Chronologically the field ranges from the pre-Columbian era to the present. Students are expected to engage methodological and theoretical issues (e.g., the spatial turn, actor-network theory, the “new materialism”) and to familiarize themselves with key historical themes and selected interdisciplinary approaches. Within that broad framework, possible topics of specialization include environment and empire, urban environmental history, gender and race, the history and production of environmental knowledge, environmental politics, consumption and consumerism, the environmental history of bodies and health, the environmental history of technology and infrastructure. It is also possible to construct an environmental history field that is geographically comparative and/or that engages relevant literature in geography, anthropology, or another related discipline.

Western U.S.--History of the trans-Mississippi West, emphasizing social and cultural history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition, students are expected to address the methodological issues posed by regional (versus national and transnational) approaches to history. Among the possible emphases are nineteenth-century colonialism, race and racial ideology, women and gender, environment and land use, representations of the West, politics and the state.

Twentieth Century U.S.-- a broad chronological field that covers major developments in social and cultural history and politics since 1880.

 

 

GRADUATE COURSES TAUGHT

Autumn 2015

HSTAA 570: American Environmental History

As a field of scholarship, environmental history focuses on the reciprocal interactions between human societies and the natural world, the changing ways in which those interactions have been mediated by cultural and political forms, and the emergence of “the environment” as an object of knowledge and concern.  It also seeks to challenge the neglect of materials and materiality in other fields of history.  This course takes an interdisciplinary approach, offering a survey of recent literature (focusing on primarily on work in History, but also including work from the fields of Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Sociology), while also introducing selected classic texts and relevant theoretical literature.  The emphasis will be on transnational histories that connect the US and North America with other regions of the world.   Among the themes and topics addressed are:  histories of environment and imperialism, the production of environmental knowledge, the environmental history of bodies and health, the relationship between environmental and social exploitation, the environmental history of technology and infrastructure, and the emergence of the “Anthropocene.”  We will also consider the “material turn” in cultural and humanistic studies more broadly.  Among the possible assigned monographs are Andrew Needham, Power Lines; Ian Tyrrell, Crisis of a Wasteful Nation;  Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy; Gregory Cushman, Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World; Kate Brown, Plutopia; Nicole Starosielski, The Undersea Network, as well as shorter pieces by Dipesh Chakrabarty, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Tim Ingold, Michel Serres, and others.