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History 200: Practicing History - African Environmental History

  Welcome to Dr. Smart's African Environmental History Course

This guide is designed to help researchers enrolled in Dr. Smart's section of History 200 locate historical documents, books, and scholarly journal articles with particular emphasis on African Environmental HIstory. Many of the electronic resources included here are licensed for the use of WVU students and faculty.  Access from off-campus locations requires your WVU username and password.  

The research project requires you to locate a variety of both primary and secondary sources. These are defined as: 

Secondary Sources - "texts - such as books, articles, or documentary films - that are written or created by people who were not eyewitnesses to the events or period in question; instead, the authors of secondary sources synthesize, analyze, and interpret primary sources..."(Rampolla, 2012). 

Primary Sources - "are materials produced by people or groups directly involved in the event or topic under consideration, either as participants or as witnesses...Some primary sources are written documents, such as letters; diaries; newspapers and magazine articles; speeches; autobiographies; treatises; census data; and marriage, birth, and death registers" (Rampolla, 2012). 

Locate Background Information

From Environmental History & Global Change: A Dictionary of Environmental History (Whyte, 2013), 

"Environmental history is the study of the interactions between the physical environment and human societies in the past. It has three key elements:

  • The discovery of the structure, distribution and characteristics of natural environments in the past. There is a need to understand the environment before understanding its history. This involves input particularly from the natural sciences, for example, ecology and palaeoecology.

  • The study of how human activity has interacted with the environment. This embraces a range of disciplines including landscape history and archaeology, social and economic history and geography.

  • More intangible than the first two is the study of perceptions of past environments, including aesthetics, ideologies, ethics, laws and myths, and how these have influenced the management and exploitation of environments..."