Environmental History of the US
I. Course Prefix/Number: HIS 223
Course Name: Environmental History of the US
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate and assess the forces of change, such as political ideology, technology, war, commerce, culture, and the impact of influential individuals on the environment.
B. Identify and summarize the impact of the environment on American development and vice-versa.
C. Examine the multiple environmental impacts and implications.
D. Use primary sources and competing paradigms to interpret history. Judge the validity of the historical contexts presented in textbooks by critical analysis of images and content and by questioning previous interpretation.
E. Explain the interrelationship between the political, economic, social, and cultural institutions and ideas at the local, national, and international levels on the American environment.
Skill/Assessment Objectives: Environmental History of the U.S. develops critical thinking through written evaluation of and classroom discussion of primary documents and complimentary interpretations of history. Students are required to evaluate documents for provenance; bias and point of view; argument; usefulness as evidence or internal use of evidence; relationship to other documents or interpretations. Students will be able to:
A. Comprehend, paraphrase, summarize and contextualize the meanings of varying forms of communication. In particular they will be able to distinguish pertinent from extraneous detail and relate specific instances to abstract concepts.
B. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of varying historical interpretations, analyzing strength of evidence, and developing ways to assess the reliability of their sources in several media.
C. Generate new ideas, hypotheses, questions and proposals.
D. Assess current historical claims by applying their own acquired experience in analyzing primary source materials.
E. Appreciate the value of critical thinking in both historical and contemporary case studies of public and private decision-making.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
B. Impact of colonization
C. Impact of westward expansion
D. Wilderness and culture
E. Gender and environment
F. Technology and environment
G. Topical environmental issues (Examples: pollution, water, agriculture, air, wildlife)
VII. Methods of Instruction
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
A. Read a standard textbook and research materials
B. Write outside of class the equivalent of 15-20 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and / or other kinds of writing.
C. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.
IX. Instructional Materials
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.
Papers will be evaluated based on how well they conform to the assignment and on how well they employ the historical method.
XI. Other Course Information
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.