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Faculty Profile

Emily Pawley

(she/her/hers)Associate Professor of History; Walter E. Beach '56 Chair in Sustainability Studies (2011)

Contact Information

239 W Louther St Room 205


environmental history, history of capitalism, history of the body, landscape, history of food and food production, history of science


  • B.A., University of Toronto, 2001
  • M.Phil., Cambridge University, M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  • Ph.D., 2009

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022

HIST 151 History of Environment
Examines the interaction between humans and the natural environment in long-term global context. Explores the problem of sustainable human uses of world environments in various societies from prehistory to the present. Also serves as an introduction to the subfield of environmental history, which integrates evidence from various scientific disciplines with traditional documentary and oral sources. Topics include: environmental effects of human occupation, the origins of agriculture, colonial encounters, industrial revolution, water and politics, natural resources frontiers, and diverse perceptions of nature.

HIST 211 History of Climate Change
While we may think of climate change mostly in terms of the futures it threatens, it’s a human-created disaster and so has a human history. So too do the solutions currently underway to respond to it. In this U.S.-focused class we’ll examine and research the rise of fossil fuels, the building of unequal and vulnerable landscapes, the birth and development of climate science, the intentional construction of climate denial, and the consequent failures of climate politics. However, we’ll also look at the histories of renewable energy, soil building, mass forest planting, ocean farming, organic farming, protest, movement-building, regulation, and political action. In doing so, we’ll help create usable histories for a survivable and ethical future.