Spring 2019 - HIST 432 D100

Problems in Environmental History (4)

Capitalism and Nature

Class Number: 3824

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5028, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2019
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 5030, Burnaby

  • 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.


This course examines the reciprocal relationship between capitalism and the natural environment in history. In some cases, capitalism ruined landscapes and ecosystems, but in other cases, nature resisted and re-shaped the political economy of capital. Themes and topics will include the histories of: resource extraction; industrial pollution and waste; global commodities; corporations and government; finance; carbon markets; environmental economics; green labour and unions; and theories of markets, capitalism, and nature. This course does not have a geographical focus, and it covers capitalisms of various forms from 1800 to the present. Students will complete weekly readings, participate in seminar discussions, and complete a written research project on a topic of their choice.


  • Participation 40%
  • Research Presentation 10%
  • Essay 50%
  • *Course components and their weighting may be altered between now and the beginning of the spring term. Please contact Dr. Paulson for the most up-to-date information.



There are no required textbooks. Readings will be made available on 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