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University of Toronto Mississauga • Department of Geography • Summer 2008

GGR 499: Special Topics in Human Geography:
The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought

 

 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers

 

 Phone: (905) 828-5206

 

 Website :

 Office: SE 3109 (UTM-Geography)

 

 E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

 

 geog.utm.utoronto.ca/desrochers/

 

Course description

This reading seminar will survey the origins of modern environmental (with an emphasis on environmentalist) thought, with a particular focus on the most influential works of the immediate post World War II and early 1960s period.

Course objectives

The course has three main objectives:
- To provide some historical perspective on the birth of the modern environmentalist movement;
- To familiarize students with some long running themes in environmental thought;
- To provide students with some basic academic writing skills.

Texts

Four books and some additional readings will be covered during the seminar:

Mandatory
- De Steiguer, J. Edward. 2006. The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought, The University of Arizona Press.
- Rubin, Charles T. 1994. The Green Crusade. Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Two of the following books
- Osborn, Fairfield. 1948. Our Plundered Planet, Little, Brown and Company.
- Vogt, William. 1948. Road to Survival, William Sloane Associates, Inc.
- Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A Sand County Almanach, Oxford University Press.
- Carson, Rachel. 1962. Silent Spring, Fawcett Publications.
- Ehrlich, Paul. 1968. The Population Bomb, Ballantine Books.

Two of the following articles...
- Pearce, David. 2002. "An Intellectual History of Environmental Economics." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 27: 57-81.
- Røpke, Inge. 2004. "The Early History of Modern Ecological Economics." Ecological Economics 50: 293-314.
- DeGregori, Thomas R. 1987. "Resources are Not, They Become: An Institutional Theory." Journal of Economic Issues 21 (3): 1241-1263.
- Coase, Ronald. 1960. "The Problem of Social Costs." Journal of Law and Economics 3: 1-44.
- Anderson, Terry L. 1982. "The New Resource Economics: Old Ideas and New Applications." American Journal of Agricultural Economics,
64 (5): 928-934.

...or a selection of readings from this book
- Simon, Julian L. 1998. The Economics of Population: Classic Writings. Transaction Publishers.

[Update - articles I would now add to the list:
- Colten, Craig E. 2011. "Environmental Historical Geography: A Review." In Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO.
- McNeill, John R. 2010. "The State of the Field of Environmental History." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 35: 345-374.]

Assignments

The final grade will be based on two assignments. An oral examination (20%) and a term paper (80%) that will develop one or a few themes covered in the readings.

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