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An Ecological History of Humanity or "How we got to where we are", journeys through 150,000 years of human experience: climate change, the great migrations, health and disease, famine and plenty, war and peace, scientific and technological advance - to conclude in our own times. This story concentrates on the deep history of human societies and their needs for food, shelter and reproduction, and of our quests for love, meaning and power. It explores key transitions: the emergence of farming and complex societies, the rise and fall of empires, calamities such as the Black Death and the micro and macro-biological conquests of the Americas and Australia, El Nino holocausts and the long cycles of global cooling and warming, the fossil fuel revolution and the urbanization of the world. Taught by a geographer, a zoologist, a microbiologist and an historian, it is an interdisciplinary exploration of our complex relationships with the environment past and present, with other organisms, and with each other.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- identify, synthesise and analyse relevant materials across a wide range of disciplines, including history, geography, medicine and biology;
- develop critical and analytical skills, including the ability to form effective arguments;
- demonstrate the ability to confront and solve unfamiliar problems;
- develop important life and academic skills, including the ability to precis and undertake analytic note-taking, communication in both written work and tutorials, organisation (including the timely submission of work) and collaboration in the classroom;
- engage ethically with significant issues in relation to the development human societies and their impact upon the environment.
Last updated: 2 December 2023