Reading Assignments for "Environment and Human History"

These readings must be done before the assigned date; you are responsible for participating in/contributing to our discussion of them. Make sure you bring with you to class questions and comments springing from your reading. You should be responding briefly to these in your weekly 'pages'. Use these to talk about your reactions and analyses, connections, etc. I am not looking for a simple summary of what you read.

15 SEPTEMBER: Botkin, D. 199?. From Dissonant Harmonies, Chapters 1 and 2
          Crosby, A. 199?. Of twits and nerds

18 SEPTEMBER: G. Hardin, 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 162:1243-1248

22-25 SEPTEMBER: Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel.  Chapters 1-4

29 SEPTEMBER - 3 OCTOBER: Diamond, Chapters 5-10

6 OCTOBER: specific studies on origin and spread of agriculture

Bocucki, P. 1996. The spread of early farming in Europe. American Scientist 84:242-253.


Diamond, J. And P. Bellwood. 2003. Farmers and their languages. Science 300:597-603.

Smith, B.D. 1989. Origins of agriculture in eastern North America. Science 246:1566-1571

9 OCTOBER: decline and fall of practically everyone

Cullen, H.M., P.B. deMenocal, S. Hemming, G. Hemming, F.H. Brown, T. Guilderson, F. Sirocko. 2000. Climate change and the collapse of the Akkadian empire: evidence from the deep sea. Geology 28:379-382.

Jacobsen, T and R.M. Adams. 1958. Salt and silt in ancient Mesopotamian agriculture. Science 128:1251-1258.

Wright, K. 1998. Empires in the dust. Discover 19:94-99.

(Optional) Weiss, H., M.-A. Courty, W. Wetterstrom, F. Guichard, L. Senior, R. Meadow, A. Curnow. 1993. The genesis and collapse of third millennium north Mesopotamian civilization. Science 261:995-1003.

13-20 OCTOBER: more lost civilizations (NOTE: Kohler and Haug readings have been added; plan on Petersen and Kohler for Thursday, 16 Oct; Hope to move on to Hodell and Haug for Monday 20 Oct)

Diamond, J. 1995. Easter’s end. Discover 16:62-69.

Hodell, D.A., J.H. Curtis, M. Brenner. 1995. Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization. Nature 375:391-393.

Petersen, K.L. 1994. A warm and wet little climatic optimum and a cold and dry little ice age in the southern Rocky Mountains, U.S.A. Climatic Change 26:243-269.

Runnels, C.T. 1995. Environmental degradation in ancient Greece. Scientific American, March, 96-99.

Kohler, T.A. 1992. Field houses, villages, and the tragedy of the commons in the early northern Anasazi southwest.  American Antiquity 57:617-635.

Haug, G.H. et al. 2003.  Climate and the collapse of Mayan civilization. Science 299:1731-1735


Crosby, Alfred. Ecological Imperialism (assigned text, in bookstore)

Cronon, William. Changes in the Land (assigned text, in bookstore)


Muir, John . 1878.  A wind storm in the forests of the Yuba.  (Later published as Chapter 10 in The Mountains of  California)

Leopold, Aldo. 1949. "A Land Ethic." (usually published with "A Sand County Almanac").


Nash, Roderick. 1967.  Wilderness and the American Mind.  Yale Univ Press. 
    Chapter 2: "A Wilderness Condition"
    Chapter 3: "The Romantic Wilderness"
    Chapter 4: "The American Wilderness"


Wilson, Edward O. 2002. The Future of Life. Knopf.
    Chapter 6: "For the Love of Life"