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Michigan State University

Environmental Studies Resources: Environmental History

What is environmental history?

Click here for essay on environmental history.

Finding Books on environmental history

" Environmental history " is not used in our library's catalog as a subject heading.  Click subject and type in "Human ecology History" instead. 


Exploring Environmental History podcast.  A compilation of podcasts about human societies and the environment in the past by Dr Jan Oosthoek, an environmental historian based at the University of Newcastle in England.  The periodic programmes feature interviews with people working in the field, reports on conferences and discussions about the use and methods of environmental history.  Be sure to check out the bibliography, essays, videocast, and student sections as well.

Environmental History on the Web.  A compilation by Dr Jan Oosthoek, an environmental historian based at the University of Newcastle in England

Environmental History Timeline

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage, through books, pamphlets, government documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and motion picture footage drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress....The collection consists of 62 books and pamphlets, 140 Federal statutes and Congressional resolutions, 34 additional legislative documents, excerpts from the Congressional Globe and the Congressional Record, 360 Presidential proclamations, 170 prints and photographs, 2 historic manuscripts, and 2 motion pictures.

H-Environment.  This website is intended as a general resource for people interested in environmental history. Much of its content is compiled from the discussion list H-Environment and includes book reviews, conference announcements, a course syllabus library, and a survey of films. There are also links to other organizations and websites where you can find materials of interest.

Major problems in American environmental history : documents and essays / edited by Carolyn Merchant.  Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2005.  This volume traces the history of environmental conditions in the United States through the examination of critical issues such as pollution, conservation, and wilderness preservation. The Second Edition of this popular text includes several new essays and documents and pays particular attention to multiculturalism and gender throughout. In order to place American environmental issues in a larger context, the text emphasizes international relations and globalization.

Nature Transformed : The Environment in American History.  This website explores the relationship between the ways men and women have thought about their surrounding and the ways they have acted toward them.  It asks how Native Americans conceptualized nature and saw themselved in it and how they lived and are now living upon the land.  It studies the shifts in perception that transformed nature from wilderness to ecosystem and considers how these transformations affected the forests, plains, and deserts of North America.  Nature Transformed enables teachers to show their students how the forces that shaped the American landscape also shaped the American past. Courtesy of the National Humanities Center.

Learning to Do Historical Research : A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others.  William Cronan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of History.

Michigan State University