American Environmental History, led by Catherine McNeur, Portland State University

$39.99 In Stock

Please log in or create a free account to purchase your course.

This course is an introduction to the history of human interactions with the environment in the United States with a special focus on the history of political, social, cultural, and economic forces that have structured relationships with nature. Organized chronologically, the course covers topics that range from water and waste to food and fuel. We will address large questions about the underpinnings of Americans’ relationships with their environment by looking at a variety of case studies. By the end of the course, you will have a stronger understanding of not only how humans have dealt with environmental issues in the past but also the historical background for modern environmental issues.


  • Twelve lectures
  • Primary source readings to complement the lectures
  • A certificate of completion for 15 hours of professional development

Readings: The suggested readings for each session will be listed in the “Resources” link on the course site. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. The quizzes are based on the lectures.

Course Access: After your purchase, you may access your course by signing into the Gilder Lehrman website and clicking on the My Courses link, which can be found under My Account in the navigation menu.

Questions? Please view our FAQs page or email selfpacedcourses@gilderlehrman.org.

LEAD SCHOLAR: Catherine McNeur

Catherine McNeur is an associate professor of history at Portland State University. She is the award-winning author of Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Mischievous Creatures: The Forgotten Sisters Who Transformed Early American Science. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including the American Society of Environmental Historians' George Perkins Marsh Prize, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic's James H. Broussard Prize, the New York Society Library's Hornblower Award, the Victorian Society Metropolitan Chapter Book Award, Yale University's John Addison Porter Prize, the American Society of Environmental Historians' Rachel Carson Prize, and the Urban History Association's Best Dissertation Award.