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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : History, Classics and Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Historical Ecology (LLLE07016)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled.

Human societies are embedded in the shifting ecosystems they inhabit, while themselves contributing to environmental change. Drawing on environmental science, archaeology and ecological anthropology, and focusing on case studies that span the time from the hunting and gathering hominid past to the industrial near-present, this course explores aspects of the changing ecology of our species.
Course description Content of course
Week 1: Introduction. Scope and content of the course. The global ecosystem. Week 2: Becoming human: Human evolution in its environmental context Week 3: The great dispersal: environmental context of human dispersal in the late Pleistocene
Week 4: Lifeways I: Hunting, fishing, gathering
Week 5: Lifeways II: Agriculture and sedentarism
Week 6: Transformations of a continent: Eurasia from the Neolithic to the Late Middle Ages
Week 7: Joining the world: The Great Columbian Exchange
Week 8: The ┐march of Progress┐: Industry, empire, warfare
Week 9: Globalisation and the global environment
Week 10: The environmental determinism controversy: ecological frameworks societal resilience, change and collapse
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
┐ Demonstrate an overall understanding of the dynamics of social-ecological systems and an appreciation of the breadth of disciplinary perspectives involved in human-ecological enquiry
┐ Critically assess cases of interaction of humans with other life forms within changing ecosystems from different periods in human history
┐ Define key concepts such as environmental determinism, societal resilience and degrowth and discuss their relevance and/or possible limitations
┐ Carry out an independent piece of work, drawing on primary and secondary sources and with references to time frames, geographical regions and economic systems from across the course content and beyond
Reading List
Bates, D. G., 2005. Human Adaptive Strategies: Ecology, Culture, and Politics. Pearson: Boston.
Recommended Crumley, C. L. (ed.) 1994. Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes. School of American Research Press: Santa Fe.
Diamond, J., 1997. Guns, Germs and Steel: A short History of Everybody in the Last 13,000 Years, London, Vintage.
Moran, E. F., 2001. Human Adaptability: An Introduction to Ecological Anthropology. Oxford, Westview Press.
Simmons, I. G., 1993. Environmental History: A Concise Introduction. Oxford, Blackwell.
Selected journal articles (Nature, Science, Human Ecology, World Archaeology)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements This is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Martine Pierquin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1182
Course secretaryMs Marie Craft
Tel: (0131 6)50 3943
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