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Last updated:

December 8, 2022

Duration:

Unlimited Duration

FREE

This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

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Description

This course considers how the visual and material world of “nature” has been reshaped by industrial practices, ideologies, and institutions, particularly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America.

Topics include land-use patterns; the changing shape of cities and farms; the redesign of water systems; the construction of roads, dams, bridges, irrigation systems; the creation of national parks; ideas about wilderness; and the role of nature in an industrial world. From small farms to suburbia, Walden Pond to Yosemite, we will ask how technological and natural forces have interacted, and whether there is a place for nature in a technological world.

Acknowledgement

This class is based on one originally designed and taught by Prof. Deborah Fitzgerald. Her Fall 2004 version can be viewed by following the link under Archived Courses on the right side of this page.

Course Curriculum

  • A brief history of ecological change in North America in the eighteenth century Unlimited
  • Imposing an industrial order on the antebellum landscape Unlimited
  • “Devilish iron horse” and “Aeolian harp”: artistic responses to industrialization Unlimited
  • Conservation and the scientific management of nature Unlimited
  • Levittown and the building of the suburban family ideal Unlimited
  • How food became fast, or, industrial agriculture in the twentieth century Unlimited

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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