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  3. An Ecological History of Humanity

An Ecological History of Humanity (UNIB10003)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeUNIB10003
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

An Ecological History of Humanity is essential for students interested in the ecological crises facing our planet in the Age of the Anthropocene. Taught by a geographer, a zoologist, a microbiologist and an historian, it is an interdisciplinary exploration of our complex relationship with the environment past and present. This is deep history with a purpose, aiming to help you understand how ecology has been transformed through human behaviour, and to figure out a response to the problems this has created.

Our journey starts with the Big Bang, before exploring how life on earth developed, which, after a few billion years, lead to the dominion of the human species. Particular attention will be paid to the past 150,000 years and the impact human societies have had upon ecology. The major areas covered include: the transition from hunter-gathering to settled agricultural societies; the way diseases and society have interacted (including the major plagues in human history); the impact of industrialisation and globalisation upon the biosphere; the emergence of an ecological way of thinking; the political responses to the environmental crisis; and, thinking about how to achieve a sustainable future.

We also offer students, if they wish, the exciting opportunity of engaging with sustainability-based learning experiences outside of the university.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will:

  • explore the deep history of the current ecological crisis, including the complex relationship between the human species and the biosphere
  • analyse, synthesise and interpret a range of inter-and multi-disciplinary texts and sources that relate to ecological history
  • create effective arguments, backed up by convincing evidence, about the historical dynamics of ecology, and be able to express these to experts and interested non-experts alike
  • develop research skills, including the ability to extend your knowledge-base beyond subject materials, combining traditional library- and archive-based research with digital research
  • ethically engage with ecological issues, inside and outside the classroom
  • communicate and collaborate effectively in the classroom and on the page

Last updated: 11 October 2019