Go direct to reading

History of the Environment of the United States
Section 1, Spring 2016

Instructor: Prof. Pamela E. Mack
Contact information:

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a sampling of American environmental history from colonial times to the present. The goal of the course is to think about the interaction between humans and the natural environment with the help of the broader perspective that history provides. To that end, the course will focus on different approaches to environmental history and discuss in detail selected case studies.  

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of the course students should be able to:


This course meets the STS general education requirement:

Science and Technology in Society:
Demonstrate an understanding of issues created by the complex interactions among science, technology, and society.

One of the papers you write for this course is your STS artifact.  While students are no longer required to upload artifacts to an ePortfolio, the university will be collecting artifacts from general education courses to evaluate general education.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Analyzing and drawing conclusions from the reading will be central to the course, so it is essential that you do the reading and come prepared to discuss it in class. Attendance will be taken by seating chart and six absences will be allowed without penalty. Coming late or leaving early will count as one half an absence. Excuses do not have to be given for the six allowed absences, but it is expected that these will cover scheduled events (including  extracurricular activities in most cases) and minor illnesses. Additional absences will be excused for official university activities, emergencies, serious illness, or funerals, but documentation must be provided, the student notification of instructor process is not sufficient. Students with more than six absences will be penalized 5 points for each additional absence, to be deducted from their participation grade. The class is excused if the instructor does not arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled starting time.

Total points will be divided by 500 to give a numerical grade out of 100, which will be converted to final letter grades by the system 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, below 60=F.  Grades will be calculated by the method above; anything Canvas tells you about your number of points being "out of" some number can be assumed to be wrong. Grades above 95 our of 100 are rarely given except for exceptionally fine work.

PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENTS:  You can earn points for participation assignments in a variety of ways. These include:
You may earn up to a maximum of 100 points by any combination of these.  Late assignments will not be accepted without a doctor's or university excuse.  There will be at least 120 possible points, probably more.  Excessive absences will be deducted from this grade (at the rate of 5 points for each absence over 6), so you can partially make up for absences by doing the reading reflection even if you are not going to be in class.

PAPER: The details of the paper assignments are found Canvas and in  and in these general paper instructions.  Papers uploaded to Blackboard by the beginning of class are on time.  Papers handed in later that day get a 2 point penalty for lateness.  Each calendar day after that is an additional 2 point penalty for lateness.

ACCOMODATIONS: The instructor is happy to honor disability letters.  Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should make an appointment with Dr. Margaret Camp (656-6848), Director of Disability Services, to discuss specific needs within the first month of classes. Students should present a Faculty Accommodation Letter from Student Disability Services when they meet with instructors. Accommodations are not retroactive and new Faculty Accommodation Letters must be presented each semester.

SEXUAL HARRASSMENT: Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at http://www.clemson.edu/campus-life/campus-services/access/title-ix/. Mr. Jerry Knighton is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator. He also is the Director of Access and Equity. His office is located at 110 Holtzendorff Hall, 864.656.3184 (voice) or 864.565.0899 (TDD).

As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a "high seminary of learning."  Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others.  Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree.  Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.

This includes representing someone else's work as your own or handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of the instructors.  Be careful to avoid plagiarism--text you take from a web site, from a book, or from the online class notes must be either quoted with the source given or restated almost entirely in your own words, with the source given.  Note that the catalog defines as one form of academic dishonesty: "Plagiarism, which includes the intentional or unintentional copying of language, structure, or ideas of another and attributing the work to one’s own efforts."  Note the word unintentional--if you forget to put quote marks or a reference you can be found guilty of academic dishonesty even if it was not your intention to cheat.

It is cheating to cut and paste or otherwise copy portions of a argument paper, exam, or discussion board posting from a book, web site, or from the online class notes, even if you change a few words, unless you quote and give the source.  It is poor writing for more than about 20% of your paper to consist of quotes.  In most cases when you use specific material from any source you should paraphrase: cite the source and put the ideas into you own words (generally no more than 5 consecutive words should match the source but if the words are mostly the same it could still be plagiarism even if there aren't 5 consecutive words).

The catalog states: "When, in the opinion of a course instructor, there is evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, that person must make a formal written charge of academic dishonesty, including a description of the misconduct, to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. The reporting person may, at his/her discretion, inform each involved student privately of the nature of the alleged charge. In cases of plagiarism instructors may use, as an option, the Plagiarism Resolution Form available from the Office of Undergraduate Studies."

LAPTOPS AND CELL PHONES:  You are welcome to bring technology to the classroom as long as you can handle it responsibly and respectfully.  Use of laptops, tablets and cell phones during class for purposes not related to this course is disrespectful to the instructor and distracting to other students.  Do not carry on conversations—either out loud or in electronic form—or do work for another class or play games in class.  You may use your devices to take notes during class or to look up further information on a topic being discussed.  Students using their devices during class may be called on to share what they are learning with the rest of the class.

TEXTS: Four required books are available in the bookstore:

William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (2003 edition)
Jennifer Price, Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America
Lawrence Earley, Looking for Longleaf: The Rise and Fall of an American Forest
Adam Rome, The Bulldozer in the Countryside

SCHEDULE: Readings are listed under each lecture or discussion topic.  Underlined lecture titles are links that lead to notes.

 Jan. 6
hand out syllabus, introduction
Read Cronon 1
Cronon 2
Cronon 3
Cronon 4
Cronon 5
Cronon 6
discussion of paper ideas
Cronon 7
Cronon 8 and Afterword
Feb.  1
paper due, read Earley prologue
Earley 1
Earley 2
Earley 3
Earley 4
Earley 5
Earley 6
Earley 7
Earley 8
Earley 9
Earley 10
Earley 11
Earley 12
Mar.  2
Earley 13
Earley 14
Earley Epilogue and review
in class test
Price introduction
Spring Break
Price 1
Price 2
Price 3
Price 4
Price 5
Apr.   1
Price paper due, Rome introduction
Rome ch. 1
Rome ch. 2
Rome ch. 3
Rome ch. 4
Rome ch. 5
Rome ch. 6
Rome ch. 7
Rome conclusion and review
Takehome final exam due 10:30 am

This page written and copyright © Pamela E. Mack
Send me e-mail at: Pammack@clemson.edu
For my other pages see:  PEM Index Page
last updated 2/1/2016