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Natural Science
NATS 1840
Ian Slater

NATS 1840 M – Science, Technology and the Environment Summary Our awareness of the environment and its importance has changed significantly over the years. Although there are many ways in which human activity impacts the natural world, this course will focus in on the role of science and technology in shaping the environment around us. On the one hand, the growth of scientific knowledge has been a key component in understanding the human impact on the environment, and in conjunction with technology, it has allowed us to either soften the impact of human activity or devise ways to integrate our actions with nature. On the other hand, science and technology have enabled us to significantly increase the impact of human activity on the globe, particularly in the case of industrialization. In order to unpack the complicated relationship between human activity and the environment, we will consider the development of science and technology in different parts of the world and throughout human history, but with a focus on the Early Modern Period to present day. Course Instructor * Dr. Ian Slater, Rm 304 Bethune College, 416-650-8278, [email protected] Course website: http://www.yorku.ca/slater/NATS18402012.htm Required Texts NATS 1840 6.0 M - Course Reader Evaluation 1. Reading Summary and Critique (3-5 pages) 10% 2. Annotated Bibliography and Thesis Statement (3-5 pages) – 15% 3. Short Essay (10 pages) – 25% 5. Attendance - 10% 5. Final Examination – 40% Notes on Evaluation The summary and critique (about 2/3 summary and 1/3 critique) involves one of the readings from the course. The annotated bibliography is a listing of sources related to your thesis with a one to two paragraph summary of each source. Both the list of sources and the thesis will change over the term.All essay topics must include some discussion of the relationship between science and technology and the environment, other than that the topic is open and must be pre-approved. Notes Students who feel that there are extenuating circumstances which may interfere with the successful completion of the exam or other course requirements are encouraged to discuss the matter with the Course Director as soon as possible. Students with physical, learning or psychiatric disabilities who require reasonable accommodations in teaching style or evaluation methods should discuss this with the Course Director early in the term so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Lectures Lectures: Monday, Wednesday 11:30-2:30, SLH F Office Hours: By Appointment, Bethune 304 Lecture Schedule January 4 - Introductory Lecture January 9 – Lecture 1 – Earliest Human Impact On the Environment - Paul S. Martin, Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America, University of California Press, 2005, Prologue and Chapter 2, pp 1-3,48-57 January 11 – Lecture 2 – Early Human Civilization:Agriculture, Urbanization and Trade - James McClellan and Harold Dorn, Science and Technology in World History, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, Chapter 6, The Middle Kingdom, pp 117-140 January 16 – Lecture 3 – Environmental Transformation in Feudal Europe - W TeBrake, “Taming the Waterwolf: Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages”, Technology and Culture, Vol 43, N 3, July 2002 January 18 – Lecture 4 – Colonial Expansion: Globalizing the Environment - Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 13,000 Years, Vintage Press, 1998, Chapter 3, Collision at Cajamarca, pp 67-82. January 23 – Lecture 5 – Early Modern Science and TheAppropriation of Nature - Harold J Cook, Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age, Yale University Press, 2007, Chapter 1, Worldly Goods and the Transformation of Objectivity, pp 1-43 January 25 – Lecture 6 – A Nation Formed on Winter Hats – Global Economy and The Commodification of Nature - Harold Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada:An Introduction to Canadian Economic History, University of Toronto Press, 1999, pp 3 - 22 January 30 – Lecture 7 – The Struggle to Control Capital – The Environment as a Pawn in A Global Game - Ronald
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