Spring 2021 - HIST 432 D100

Problems in Environmental History (4)


Class Number: 5584

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



An investigation into the major themes and arguments in the environmental histories of North America, emphasizing how different individuals and groups have used, perceived, and managed their environments over time. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 432 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Students with credit for GEOG 432 may take HIST 432 for credit only when a different topic is taught.


CONTENT: COVID is in our heads, so this iteration of HIST 432 explores the geography and history of modern disease, defined as the era shaped by industrialization and global transportation. Everyone will read common studies of health and environments, but students will also extend their knowledge in smaller teams by studying and reporting on an additional health event every two weeks.

STRUCTURE: This seminar will meet synchronously every other week (exempting “reading break”) for no more than three hours. Student teams will produce a 10-page paper each two weeks, and each meeting will include a 10-minute presentation followed by 15-minute discussion of this research.


  • Bi-Weekly Reports 60%
  • Bi-Weekly Presentations 20%
  • Participation 20%



Charles Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (University of Chicago Press, 0226726770)

Laura Spinney, Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changes the World (Public Affairs: 1541736125)

Mary Ellen Kelm, Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia, 1900-50 (UBC: 0774806788)

Samuel Kelton Roberts Jr., Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (UNC: 0807859346)

Anne Case & Angus Deaton, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (Princeton: 9780691190785)

ESSAYS AVAILABLE THROUGH SFU Electronic Journals and Canvas

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).