History | Environments and Diseases
W100 | 27625 | Carmichael

A portion of the above class reserved for University Division
orientation program students

This freshman-level survey history course is designed with the Fall,
2009, “Themester” in view. The Themester celebrates “Evolution,
Diversity and Change” in honor of the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s
publication, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
This course will focus on human manipulation and adaptation within
global environments, following large-scale changes over the past
10,000 years or so. Only the past 3000 years offer us written
records, the usual starting place for historians, but within those
millennia some planet-altering transformations occurred with human

We will study four time periods during which changes to human health
and disease patterns shows us how humans have altered global
environments. First we examine the multi-millennial processes of
settlement and reliance on agriculture, and the domestication of
animals. Second we will examine great inter-regional pandemics in
the era before the western and eastern hemispheres knew the other
existed. Third we will look at the period of early global human
migrations and exchanges, the period that generated Darwin’s
insights. And finally we will examine the era during which humans
have exploited fossil fuels.