Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 Hours. 11 x 2 hrs
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. 5 x 2 hrs


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  3000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Seminar Presentation  10 minutes  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  (2 questions from 4)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  (2 questions from 4)  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the nature of human impact on the environment at different timescales

* Evaluate the relative importance of natural environmental change in societal development

* Demonstrate an appreciation of how past human-environment interactions have contributed to current environmental debates

* Compare and contrast the human impact on the environment of different cultures in different parts of the world


This module will provide students with an understanding of the complex interrelationships between humans and the natural environment. A series of case studies will be used to examine how the palaeoenvironmental and historical record can be used to gain an insight into both the impact of climate variability on society and the nature of human impact on the environment.


Long Term Perspectives
- Chronology and Environments of Human Evolution
- Significant of the Toba Eruption

The Late Pleistocene
- Human migrations - Australasia and the Americas
- Megafaunal extinctions

Pleistocene-Holocene Transition
- Origins of Agriculture
- Neolithic expansion: people or ideas?
- Ecological impacts of early agriculture

Holocene Environmental Change
- Cultural responses to climate change
- The nature of human impact
- The Mesoamerican Civilizations

The Historical Period
- Old World meets New: Colonial expansion and the Pristine Myth
- Societal impact of volcanic eruptions
- Industrial activities
- Cultural impacts of the Little Ice Age and ENSO events

Lessons for the future
- Vulnerability to future climate change
- Future management strategies

Reading List

Reference Text
Grove, R.H. and Chappell, J (eds) (2000) El Nino: History and Crisis Paul and Co Publishing Consortium Primo search Roberts, C.N (1998) The Holocene: an environmental history 2nd Blackwell Primo search Denevan, W.M (1992) The pristine myth: the landscape of the Americas before and after 1482 Annals of the Association of American Geographers 83: 369-385 Primo search O'Hara, S.L, Street-Perrott, F.P and Burt, T.P (1993) Accelerated soil erosion around a Mexican highland lake caused by pre-hispanic agriculture Nature 362: 48-51 Primo search de Menocal, P.B (2001) Cultural responses to climate change during the Late Holocene Science 292: 667-673 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6