In this course we will look at a selection of topics covering agricultural practices in a variety of cultures and time periods up to the end of the 18th century. The initial topic will look at the earliest shift from hunter/gatherer or mobile agriculture practices to sedentary agriculture in various cultures around the world. Subsequent topics will be chosen by the students in the course but might include Roman Agronomics, the grain supply in the Roman Empire, Muslim Agronomics, the Islamic "Green Revolution," agriculture in "feudal" Europe, the crisis of the 14th century, the Columbian exchange, causes of famine, European Agricultural technology on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, and possibly comparisons with agronomic practices in non-industrialized societies today.
The intial topic (see Topic One on the course page) will be required, but after the end of that topic (in week three), students will have the opportunity to choose the remaining set of topics for the course. We will vote on some set of the material from the twelve topics listed on the courses page and each student will be responsible for part of the presentation and organization of an area of their choice. In addition, essays and writing can be geared towards any one of the areas based on student interest.