Environment and Empire


In this course we study British imperialism from the ground up. At bottom, the British empire was about extracting the wealth contained in the labour and the natural resources of the colonized. How did imperial efforts to maximize productivity and profits impact the ecological balance of forests, pastures, and farm lands, rivers and rainfall, animals and humans? We'll ask, with environmental historians of the U.S., how colonialism marked a watershed of radical ecological change. The course will cover examples from Asia to Africa, with a focus on the "jewel in the crown" of the British empire: the Indian subcontinent. We'll learn how the colonized contributed to the science of environmentalism, and how they forged a distinctive politics of environmentalism built upon local resistance and global vision, inspired by religious traditions and formative thinkers, not least Mahatma Gandhi.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Environment and Empire
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