Ecological science and environmentalism appear to be relatively recent developments, but they have long and deep roots in our culture. Their interrelated histories, their connections to broader intellectual, cultural, social and political trends, their sometimes tenuous relationship to one another over the past century, and their continuing interactions in the discourse over the fate of nature constitute the subject of this course. Considerable attention will be given to the science of ecology–its concepts, explanations, and methods—as well as to the broad cultural background in which it has developed. There will also be much emphasis on historical developments in the sciences and in environmental philosophy and policy. Topics include changing views of equilibrium and balance in nature, myths of the primitive (pristine nature,the ecologically noble savage, etc.), the transfer of metaphors between social theory and ecology, conservative and postmodern critiques of ecology, and recent debates over biodiversity, population, global warming, and environmental justice. Readings will include historical works by authors from Linnaeus, Malthus, and Darwin to Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh, environmental classics, such as works by Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and Paul Ehrlich, and a variety of works by contemporary ecologists and environmentalists.