Sustainability. You now find the word just about everywhere. For more than a few people it has become the defining mission of their generation, an existential challenge that must be met for the survival of humanity. This is a course in thematic global history that explores the concept of sustainability from an historical perspective. Sustainability is not a new thing in human history or just a consequence of our environmentally-challenged present. Sustainability is part of our cultural inheritance with deep roots in the histories of Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Also, sustainability is not simply synonymous with environmentalism or climate change. It has always encompassed social realities like power, trade and commerce, cultural identities, human relationships to science and technology, and much more. Sustainability is a history of the societies we create and the values that define them, for good or ill. Ultimately, the history of sustainability is an opportunity to reflect on the nature of our humanity and the ideals that empower a just future. We will explore sustainability's history through primary texts, analyses of the concept across time and space, the study of sustainability challenges - successes and failures - in past societies, and contemporary realties faced by peoples across the globe, whether in the megacities of China and Latin America or the urban gardens of Detroit and the green housing cooperatives of Berlin.
Location & Meeting Time
Wold Center-128+ M/W/F 01:50PM-02:55PM LEC