The Natural History and Development of the Columbia River System
TLSUS 490cb
Spring 1998 T-Th 7:30-9:35 PM BB107
Michael Kucher

Beginning with the geologic underpinnings of the Columbia River Basin, this course will examine the ecological, economic, technological, social, and historical dimensions of the Columbia River system from before European contact until the present. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course will synthesize data from exploration narratives, geologic surveys, government documents, recent studies, and site visits to investigate the nature of the Columbia River system and to place it into a larger context.

Each student will write a 15-page research paper in which s/he will examine the nexus of science, technology, culture, history, public policy, and the environment. The goal here is to ask a big question but to constrain its scope geographically and temporally in such a way that you can answer it in ten weeks, or at least point towards a method of answering it. Overly general, "encyclopedia articles," will not be accepted. Nor will "research essays" in which you simply report some facts without posing a larger question be accepted.

Possible topics for research projects include the effects of one or more of the following upon the Columbia River System or a portion thereof:

I welcome your own ideas in addition to the suggestions above. Please feel free to discuss a research proposal with me.

Some of the books we will be looking at include: (*Required texts are marked with an asterisk.)

Readings marked with (R) are on reserve at UW Tacoma Library.
NB: "3-day Reserve" means 72 hours and 0 minutes.

Other writing assignments in include a short treatment of each article or chapter read, and two book reviews of books on the course bibliography.

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© Copyright 1998, 1999 Michael Kucher rev. 5 October 1999