HIST 1020 Western Civilization 2: 16th Century to the Present

About the Course

This course provides a broad overview of a large span of time and a massive amount of material. We shall survey the entire sweep of the period in order to expose patterns and themes that run consistently throughout the period. A major theme in history of the modern West is a conscious and powerful drive to subdue and conquer nature that grew out of new ideas about the potential of human reason and the development of science and technology. It will also deal with a counter discourse that slowly grew into the modern environmental movement. We shall examine the conventional subjects of western civilization courses – absolutism, the French Revolution, industrialization, world wars, and the like – from an environmental perspective, making connections between political, social and cultural events and the physical environment in which they occurred and upon which they have hadan impact.


This course aims to understand the relationship between humans and nature: the ways in which human history has been shaped by unforeseen and uncontrollable environmental events and conditions, and the way humans have impacted the natural rhythms of nature.

Grade Breakdown

  • Chapter Quizzes – 10% of grade
  • Humans and Nature Reading Assignment – 25% of grade
  • Websearch – Flu Pandemic – 5% of grade
  • Formal Paper– 30% of grade
  • Final Exam Essay/Discussion – 30% of grade

Required Text

  • Susan Kingsley Kent, A History of Western Civilization since 1500: An Ecological Approach. Great River Technologies: This course will utilize an on-line textbook, available through the website administered by Great River Technologies. For those of you with financial aid you may purchase an access card through the bookstore; the rest of you will probably want to purchase access to the site on-line, as it will be discounted there. Follow this link to order the course: www.grtep.com
  • John Muir. Story of my Boyhood and Youth http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/the_story_of_my_boyhood_and_youth/ (Print version available for purchase on the Web)

Instructor Contact

Email: daniel.stephen@colorado.edu

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado