MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Nature and Artifice: Environmental Sciences since 1800

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM60712
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Nature and Artifice explores the rising institutional spread and dominance of environmental sciences in the last two centuries. Using a selection of representative primary and secondary readings, the unit will investigate the emergence of environmental models of scientific research, introduce key concepts, and provide a focused analysis of the scientific, cultural and policy ramification of the research, especially the last fifty years and in the context of the politics of environmentalism, including the contemporary issues such as energy use, pollution, environmental justice and globalization of research. 


  • Present students with a history of key environmental sciences and environmental thinking since ca 1900; introduce origins of the environmental worldview; provide theoretical and social context for the emergence of environmental knowledge; articulate the rise of global scales in environmental thinking; problematize the notion of the ‘Anthropocene’;
  • Explore key specific issues in environmental science in historical context: e.g. pollution, ecosystem thinking, conservation, disaster thinking, protection, risk, sustainability development, climate and ocean change, plastic, slow violence etc
  • Assist students in understanding the changing problematic of environmental issues in relation to the changing social and economic circumstances; explain the methodological problems and solution to understanding the past and contemporary notions of environment
  • Introduce the policy relevance of environmental knowledge with emphasis on qualitative, quantitative and modelling approaches
  • Facilitate the analysis of key case studies of environmental issues/disasters
  • Allow students to develop skills in analysing and discussing relevant secondary literature and locating primary sources relating to environmental themes and sciences

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Detailed written feedback from primary assessor. 

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vladimir Jankovic Unit coordinator

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