AMERG037: Environmental Issues, Movements and Policies in the Americas


Course tutor: Dr Graham Woodgate


This is a ten-week transdisciplinary survey course that investigates historical and contemporary case studies of landmark environmental issues, movements and policies from the Americas. The precise topics to be studied change from year to year depending on current issues and student interests, but the following is an indicative list of potential themes: Historical perspectives on environmental change in the Americas; The Colombian Exchange; The Plains Indians and the westward expansion of the U.S.; the U.S. romantics and transcendentalism; Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day and the EPA; Climate change, forests, and forest policy in Canada and Brazil; The race for the Arctic; Agrarian social movements, agroecology and food sovereignty in the Americas; Small Island States and climate change – lessons from the Caribbean; National parks and the aation: a comparison of the US and Mexico; Natural resources and indigenous territories; Atlantic forests and Andean glaciers: environmental change in South America.

Introductory reading

Benton, Lisa and John R. Short (1999) Environmental Discourse and Practice. Blackwell: Oxford.

Bell, Michael (1998) An Invitation to Environmental Sociology. Pine Forge Press: Thousand Oaks. And other editions through to 2011 4th Ed.

Clayton, Susan and Susan Opotow (eds) (2003) Identity and the Natural Environment: The Psychological Significance of Nature. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, pp.1-24 and 45-66.

Cronon, William (1997) Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York, NY.: W W Norton & Co Ltd.

Deere, Carolyn and Daniel Esty (2002) Greening the Americas: NAFTA’s Lessons for Hemispheric Trade. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Forsyth, Tim (2003) Critical Political Ecology. Routledge: London and N.Y.

Funes Monzote, Reinaldo (2008) From Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba: An environmental history since 1492. Chapel Hill: UNC Press.

Hannigan, John (1995) Environmental Sociology: A Social Constructionist Perspective. London and New York: Routledge (and 2nd Edition 2006).

Haarstad, Håvard (Ed) (2012) New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Miller, Shawn W. (2007) An Environmental History of Latin America, Cambridge: CUP.

Redclift, Michael and Graham Woodgate (eds) (2010) The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology 2nd Edition. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.

Richards, John F. (2003) The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World. Berkely, CA.: University of California Press.

Roberts, J Timmons and Nikki Thanos (2003) Trouble in Paradise: Globalisation and Environmental Crises in Latin America. Routledge: London.