Environmental History of Japan

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Course Information
Environmental Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

In this class we will explore the changing relationships between human beings and “nature” in the Japanese archipelago from the late-sixteenth century to the present day.  The course is designed for students without any background in Japanese history.  However, even for students with some kind of background in Japanese history will find that the historical terrain of Japan looks different because the methods we are going to use in this course are different than that what is used in a typical history course.  Using many different disciplinary perspectives, this class will take a different look at how human animals have interacted ecologically in places and with nonhuman animals over time.   Some of the questions that we will be thinking about as we move along are: How has the land and ocean limited or enabled human settlement and development in the Japanese Islands?  How have human relationships with terrestrial and maritime worlds changed over time? How do the relationships differ from place-to-place? Who – or what – has flourished or suffered as human beings have altered the world around them?  How have valuations of “nature” changed over time?