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 Cours : Histoire environnementale des USA.

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Messages : 726
Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: Cours : Histoire environnementale des USA.   Sam 6 Jan - 2:06

Tous les cours, merci Milla.
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Messages : 726
Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Cours : Histoire environnementale des USA.   Sam 6 Jan - 2:06

Histoire environnementale.

9.3 millions square kilometers aproximztely the same size as china, and a little bit bigger than
Brésil. US is the 3rd country in size in the world, after US and Canada, also the 3rd country in size by population after China and India. France is smaller than Alaska and Texas but bigger than other states

2000km from Canada to the golf of mexico
4500 km from east to west.
4500 km between hawaï and California.

3 costs: Pacific, Atlantic and golfe of mexican;
Great lakes could be considered as a 4th cost: Chicago, on lake Michigan, tallest mountain of the us is mount McKinley ( DEnali) 6194 m. Mount Whitney 4421m. Sierra Nevada (one in california one in spain).

Lowest point of the US: Death Valley 86m below sea level, close to the highest point.

Great Basin is where Las Vegas is. Colorado Plateau is where the Grand Canyon is. Ozark mountains, small, Arkansas.

Significant difference between the East and the West.

Mississippi river, almost from north to south. DOesn’t get to Canda. Longest: 3744Km. All the rivers flow to the mississippi river. Brings all the waters from the west to the east.
Bassin of the Mississippi (Mississippi watershed) is almost all the waters from the US. The Mississippi watershed is the 2nd after the Amazon and it’s over 3 million square kilometers. It covers 31 states (out of 50) and even 2 canadian provinces.
Two majors trigidary (influents) Missouri, and the Ohio river.
Mississippi is brown, large, muddy, very slow. It’s ideal for navigation. But, a river on a plain: slows
the navigation process because S
big variety of climates. It has all the Climates of the world.
Northern half of the west coast: from seattle to San fransisco: oceanic climate.
B: Mountain climate (warm in summer cold in winter)
E: big climate zone, stepp climate
D: desert climate : dry
F/G: continental climates on the east north but north: cool summer, south: warm summer. huge
variation of temperature between summer and winter
south of the eat cost: tropical (florida)
Mojave desert: dry west.
East: wet
each states has a capital. But the capital are not always the biggest city.
most of the west is empty. most populated states are on the cost.
320/330 million people live in america. 80% live in cities
20 million people (new york)
13 million people (
new jersey:highest density of almost 1 200 people per square miles.
alaska: lowest density under 1 person per square mile.
The US have 50 states and territories: Porto Rico, virgin Island
3. Cultural geography.
dixie : south (tradition, slavery)
the foundry
new england
The statue of liberty
gift of the french
LAs vegas
Hollywood sign:
golden gate bridge

Nucléaire aux usa
nucléaire « énergie propre » -> pas de rejet de carbone.

The Meaning of American Nature, between Wilderness and the Environment.

Environmental history: the history of the environment. Donal Worster says « environmental history deals with the role and place of nature in the human life. » Before environmental history was developed as an academic field everything was about politics and stuff. The french revolution: product of 2 centuries of monarchy, it broke. One aspect is also that the summer was dry and hot, people were starving, harvest were poor, rivers were too low to be used for moulins so there was nothing to eat. SO, it’s not a definite cause, but the trigger and why it started has a lot to do with the environment. Same thing today with the refugees. The environsnt shifts a lot of decisions that we make.

Nature: The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to human creations: The breathtaking beauty of nature.
- Oxford America Dictionary

=> idea that human are not products of the earth. Opposition between nature and culture.

Physical comes from physis=nature.

Definition is not enough.

Landscape: All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal. A picture representing an area of countryside.
- Oxford American Dictionary.

LAndcapes have not always existed. What creates a landscape is the frame. Cultural interpretation of nature: La madone à l’écran d’osier

Environment: The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. To sum up: nature was the world with human, landscape is the world with human, environments.

Nature in the US.

The wildernesss: AN uncultivated uninhabited, and inhospitable region. Wilderness was the basic ingredient of American civilization. From the raw materials of the physical wilderness American built a civilization; with the idea or symbol of wilderness they sought to give that civilization identity and meaning
Wilderness and the American mind. (1967)

« THere is no specific material object that is wilderness. The term designates a quality (as the -ness suggests » that produces a certain mood or feeling in a given individual and, as a consequence, may be assigned by that person to a specific place. Because of this subjectivity a universally acceptable definition is not possible » A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. {A wilderness should} retain its primeval character and influence {and should} appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature.
1964 Wilderness Act.

SAvage ≠ wild
savage: rude, …
wild: …

« Given these problems, and the tendency of wilderness to be a state of mind, it is tempting to let the term define itself; to accept as wilderness those places people call wilderness. The emphasis here is not so much what wilderness is but what men think it is. »
Wilderness and the American mind.

The beautiful: The colors of beautiful bodies must not be duslky or muddy, but clean and fair {…} Those which seem most appropriated to beaty, are the milder of every sort; light greens, soft blues; weak whites; pink reds; and violets. {…} If the colors be strong and vivid, they are always diversified and the object is never of one strong color; there are almost always such a number of them (as in variegated flowers) that the strength and glare of each is consider ablated.
Edmund Burke A philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the sublime and the Beautiful 1759

The sublime: The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature, when those causes operate most powerfully, is astonishment: and astonishment is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended , with some degree of horror. Infinity has a tendency to fill the mind with that sort of delightful horror, which is the most genuine effect and truest test of the sublime. There are scarce any things {chercher suite}
Edmund Burke A philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the sublime and the Beautiful

Defining the American West.

The west can move. Originally, The west was everything west of the first colonies (tenessee was
the west). Based on the conquest of the west as a territory and then as a landscape. History abhors determinism but cannot tolerate chance. Why did we become that we are and not something else ? Why does the United States consist of just the land area the map now shows: why does it not include parts of all of Mexico? I do not know how powerful a force, absolutely or relative, our continentalism has been but American History could not be written at all if that experience were left out of account.

Bernard A DeVoto, The course of Empire, Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1952, xxxi-xxxii
My contention is that without examining Orientalism as a discourse one cannot possibly understand the enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage - and even produce- the Orient politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically, and imaginatively during the post-Enlightenment period.

Edward Said, Orientalism 1978, New York: Vintage Books 1994, 3.
Orientalisme: production d’un discours sur un endroit et transformation de l’endroit par le discours.

Wilderness was created and popularized by paintings like Valley of Yosemite 1864. We must take seriously Vigo’s great observation that men make their own history that what they can’t know is what they have made, and extend it to geography: as both geographical and cultural entities -to say nothing of historical entities- such locales, regions, geographical sectors as « Orient » and « Occident » are man-made.
Edward Said, Orientalism 1978, New York: Vintage Books 1994, 5.

Myths are stories, drawn from history, that have acquired through usage over many generations a symbolizing function that is central to the cultural functioning of the society that produces them. Historical experience is preserved in the form of narrative; and through periodic retellings those narratives become traditionalized. These formal qualities and structures are increasingly conventionalized and abstracted, until they are reduced to a set of powerfully evocative and resonant « icons » in which history becomes a cliché. At the same time that their form is being expanded. Each new context in which the story is told adds meaning to it, because the telling implies a metaphoric connection between the storied past and the present.

Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of industrialization,
1880-1890, New York: Atheneum, 1985, 16
Land ordinance 1785
Northwest ordinance 1787
These two were written to oranized the lands.
Organized by a survey
How does territories are gonna be organized and how the US is gonna be an empire without
becoming a colonial empire. Process in 3 phases:
_federal government will define a territory that’s quite big. A governor, a secretary and 3 judges are
_When population reaches 500 free adult males -> right to organize an assembly.
_When population reches 50 000 free adult males -> if assembly agrees, right to join the Union.
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