World History 2: Science, Environment and Sustainability (HIC1301)

StaffDr Richard Noakes - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to give students a deeper understanding of global history since approximately 1500 via three major interrelated themes: the environment, science and sustainability.¬† It adopts chronological and comparative cultural/geographical perspectives on a range of specific issues such as the representation of nature, industrialization, pollution and environmental politics.¬† It aims to develop students’ skills in fundamental aspects of historical enquiry, including the location, critical understanding and evaluation of primary and secondary source materials, and the written and oral presentation of scholarly arguments.¬†

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand some of the key topics in the global history of the environment, science and sustainability
  • 2. Evaluate key arguments in environmental history, and use primary and secondary sources to achieve this
  • 3. Demonstrate how an understanding of global historical change can inform a more micro-historical approach and vice-versa

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Deploy the basic rules of evidence in historical enquiry
  • 5. Compare and contrast differing historical approaches
  • 6. With guidance, indicate how people have lived, acted and thought in a range of contexts at different times and in a number of locations
  • 7. Indicate some of the complexities of historical change at global scales

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. With guidance, select and digest academic literature relevant to the topic under study
  • 9. Organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument
  • 10. Communicate ideas orally and respond to the arguments of others in an appropriate manner

Syllabus plan

Introduction; changing attitudes towards nature; the mechanization and 'death' of nature; ecological exchange; industrialization; pollution and control; metabolic rift; contemporary environmentalism; conclusions

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 11Lectures: these provide a spine through which all students can be brought to a similar level of knowledge and through which ideas and controversies can be transmitted.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 11Seminars: these will focus on particular aspects of the subject-matter, with a view to offering a fuller understanding than can be delivered through the lectures, allowing the students to develop their skills and knowledge more fully. Students will be expected to prepare adequately for seminars in advance by reading and evaluating and to discuss the issues raised in the seminar itself.
Guided independent study 128Private reading for lectures and seminars. Preparation for group presentations and assessed essay or examination

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-9Verbal and written
Group presentation5 mins per student, plus 5 mins Q&A for the group; equivalent of 1,500 words per student comprising (e.g. Powerpoint slides, text read out, handouts and research notes)1-10Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1001500 words1-9Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

David Arnold, The Problem of Nature: Environment, Culture and European Expansion (Oxford, 199

Edmund Burke and Kenneth Pomeranz (eds.), The Environment and World History (Berkeley, 2009)

Peter Coates, Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times (Cambridge, 1998)

J. Donald Hughes, What is Environmental History? (Cambridge, 2006)

David Peterson del Mar, Environmentalism (London, 2007)

J. R. McNeill, Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World (London, 2001)

Clive Ponting, A New Green History of the World (London, 2007)

I. G. Simmons, Environmental History: A Concise Introduction (Oxford, 1993)

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

History; environment; science; globalisation; economics; politics; religion; cartography