Conquest East, Conquest West: Comparative "Manifest Destinies"
Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters
This interdisciplinary program offers comparative study of the Russian conquest of northern Eurasia (Siberia) and the Euro-American conquest of North America. It will explore the impact of what environmental historian Alfred Crosby calls "ecological imperialism" on native populations, economic development of the nations based on the exploitation of natural and agricultural resources, the ecological consequences of this exploitation, and the successes and failures of conservation efforts in Russia east of the Urals and in the United States west of the Mississippi. It will also consider the religious, economic, and social motivations and apologias for the ecological conquests. During the winter quarter, the program will examine these two world historical examples of ecological expansion and its consequences from 1600-1900; during the spring quarter, the program will explore the course and legacy of these conquests in the twentieth century as well as the current ecological state of these two continent-wide environments. Students can expect to read and write about bio-geographical, environmental-historical, ethnographic, natural historical, demographic, and political economic texts focusing on the western United States and on northern Eurasia. Personal and fictional accounts as well as films will also be used to enhance understanding of the environmental, economic, and social consequences of conquest. During the spring quarter, students can also expect to research and write short environmental histories of local areas in Western Washington. Credit will largely be in environmental history, bio-geography, and political economy.
Fields of Study
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Evening and Weekend
Advertised schedule: 6-10p Tue/Thu