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    Vassar College
  Dec 16, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ENST 262 - Consuming Paradise: A Global Pre-History of Environmentalism

1 unit(s)
Today’s fundamental topics of environmental justice and sustainability are not new. Likewise, our contemporary concerns with invasive species, wildlife conservation, and environmental degradation have deep histories. We trace the early development of these topics and concerns through the lens of imperial production and consumption, centered on the Global South, from the beginnings of European colonialism through the twentieth century. Tropical fruits, sugar, and spice first attracted Europeans and quickly turned verdant islands and robust laborers to dust. Innumerable weeds and other plants travelled the oceans—along with voracious sheep, cattle, and pig—reshaping the environment and inciting debate wherever they went. Commercial hunting and big game shooting flourished, giving rise to conservationism and hinting at the value of biodiversity as wildlife dwindled or disappeared. The appropriation of tropical resources—notably through the patenting of tropical species by private corporations—continues today in an ostensibly post-colonial world, forcing us to question just how much our interests in the environment have really changed. Julie Hughes.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

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