Between plants and our species there is history of interplay where both parties influence and evolve in the context of the other. This co-evolution is biological, then sociological and finally political. This constant flux demands a holistic approach with a systems emphasis. These patterns, summarized below, are taken in a chronological sequence: Plants in human evolution, crop domestication and ancient cities, historical plants of wars and human migration, plants making America and the Industrial Revolution, modern agriculture, economic plants and sociology, our ecological crisis — the cure is not a return to nature. The lectures relate to the twentieth century human experience. They are designed to be relevant biology for the humanities student with relevant humanities for the agriculturalists, to stimulate as well as to inform.
When humans are part of an investigation, scientists often over-emphasize the actions of individual humans; they identify with the humans in the scientific model. Individual human experience will not receive much attention in this course. Emphasis will be on the cultural and political evolution of man with plants. When dealing with large scale questions I will endeavor to use large scale explanations. I hope the course will leave you feeling excited and uneasy with new questions that you must ask of yourself as to your role as a person, as a member of a culture and as part of a species in the Biosphere.
On a required term project, required in-class exams, optional oral, and optional take-home, the student's best performance generally makes up the greatest portion of the final grade.
List of Important Syllabus Corrections
FILE OF EXAM QUESTIONS