A History of Nature

Subject 672-317 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 75 points of first year study across any discipline area.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Formerly available as 136-215/315. Students who have completed 136-215/315 Historical Encounters in a Changing Environment are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Assoc Prof Don Garden
Subject Overview:

This subject traces some of the historical changes in scientific and environmental thought that occurred over the last 500 years, as Europeans spread out from the continent during the voyages of discovery, and discovered new frontiers that challenged their scientific and social beliefs. We will especially follow the changes in the environmental sciences that accompanied these voyages as notions of geography, natural history, evolutionary biology, geology and ecology were transformed. We will also examine some recent examples of new understandings of 'nature'. Case studies will include America, Australia, and other parts of the colonial world including the Pacific islands. Environmental issues ranging from introduced species, sustainability, resource management, pollution, overpopulation, environmental engineering and environmental philosophies will also be examined. This subject should be of interest to students who would like to learn more about the origins of the environmental sciences and our ongoing attempts to live within a changing environment.

Assessment: A tutorial paper of 1000 words 20% (due one week after presentation), a research essay of 3000 words 70% (due during the examination period), class participation and contribution 10%. A hurdle requirement of attendance at nine tutorials.
Prescribed Texts: A reading pack will be available for purchase from the University Book Shop.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication.

  • conduct independent research.

  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument.

  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.


Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 BSc), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

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