History and Non-Human Actors

History 670-302

Marcy Norton

Wednesday 3:30 - 6:30 PM

This course is designed to explore the way that scholars in the humanities and social sciences grapple with non-human actors and agency when writing about history. We will explore different kinds of methods and theoretical orientations, beginning with the Annales school and proceeding to the overlapping and yet distinct lineages related to U.S. and global environmental history, science and technology studies (STS), new materialism (and its critics), Amazonian ontological studies, critical animal studies, haptic studies and ecocriticism. In the last third of the class, we will proceed in a “case study” fashion and look at concepts and entities such as the Anthropocene, climate, water, forests, and non-human animals. Authors likely to appear on syllabus include Fernand Braudel, Alfred Crosby, William Cronon, Virginia Anderson, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Bruno Latour, Cora Diamond, Vicky Hearne, Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, Philippe Descola, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo Kohn, Jane Bennett, Graham Harman, Timothy Morton, and Richard Powers. Students planning (or considering) taking this course are encouraged to get in touch with me (marcy.norton@upenn.sas.edu) beforehand to let me know their particular interests as this will help me decide on final reading selections for syllabus.


Spring 2019