The book that inspired it all…

So this is the genesis of the American Wilderness class. I’d read Melanie Perreault’s essay in here after Jan Golinski recommended it to me over lunch at The Huntington, and ultimately cited both their work in my own scholarship. I had the opportunity to meet Michael Lewis on a visit to Salisbury University a couple of years ago, and we had a great chat about teaching environmental history. He strongly advocates tackling it from an international perspective, and while I think he’s right to push it that direction, at this point I still want a stronger command of United States environmental history. Ultimately I think that wider lens will prove attractive, but for the time being I’ve limited myself to teaching U.S. Environmental History, with a few readings that acknowledge an emerging international bent and talk about the distinctive historiography that has emerged in different parts of the world (a lit review early in the semester, some shorter pieces imagining the future of the field, etc). In the course of that conversation, we also talked about his class on American Wilderness, which of course uses this book, and started me thinking about a seminar-type class on the topic. And here we are.

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