ENV 749b/HIST 749 () / 2023-2024

Research in Environmental History

Credits: 3

Spring 2024: Tu, 9:25-11:15, YC - TBD


This research seminar is designed to give graduate students in history and related fields the opportunity to write a substantial research paper using historical primary sources. We will meet regularly as a class to discuss research and writing, and you will read and comment on the work of other students. Our goal will be to produce a polished piece of writing that might provide the basis for a journal article, part of a dissertation or master’s thesis, or another purpose.
Environmental history seeks to explain the complex, changing relationship between humans and the natural world, and its implications for both people and the planet. Research topics are broadly welcomed, with no specified geography or time period. Projects might touch on energy, public health, social movements, environmental justice, law and political economy, nature and culture, planning and design, resource management, and infrastructure and the built environment, etc. We will explore the complexities of environmental history through engagement with each other’s research projects.
Doctoral students in History working on topics related to twentieth-century U.S. politics, law, and economic development also are welcome to participate in this research seminar, with permission from the instructor. Graduate and professional students who are not in History, but who have a clearly defined historical research project (using historical primary sources) also are warmly invited to participate in the course, with permission from the instructor.
The seminar will particularly emphasize use of the many primary sources available for research, including manuscript collections held at Yale or other institutions; wide-ranging records from different branches and levels of government; newspapers, periodicals, books, and other published materials; and, collections of digitized primary sources. Over the course of the semester, we will hone our skills in navigating historical databases, searching for materials, and managing and interpreting source materials.
Students interested in enrolling in the course are encouraged to contact the professor at paul.sabin@yale.eduto determine whether your research interests are a good fit for the seminar.