IDE4019 – From Ancient Cosmology to Modern Anthropocene: Environmental Thinking in Intellectual History

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will address the historical dimensions of current ideas and debates about humans and nature in Modernity/the Anthropocene. The course will provide you with an understanding of how the relationship between humans, nature and climate (i.e. environmental thinking) has been conceptualized in various periods and intellectual traditions from antiquity to the present. The course will also introduce you to central historical, cultural and intellectual contexts that have shaped these notions of nature and the environment.

Learning outcome

The overall aim of the course is to:

  • Provide you with an historical understanding of how nature, climate and environment have been conceptualized historically within different contexts and at different times.
  • Provide you with an understanding of how notions of nature, climate and environment have been understood and used across a range of fields and debates through history.
  • Provide an historical understanding of how human beings have conceptualized their interaction with the environment.
  • Enable you to reflect on the interplay between these contexts and how human beings’ understanding of themselves and their role and status vis-à-vis nature has developed through history.
  • Develop your skills in reading and analysing primary sources in various genres in intellectual history from antiquity to the present.
  • Introduce you to some key concepts in the field of Environmental Humanities.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course assumes proficiency in English as well as proficiency in Norwegian.


14 lectures consisting of double sessions together with IDE2019 – From Ancient Cosmology to Modern Anthropocene: Environmental Thinking in Intellectual History

In order for you to be allowed to submit the final essay, the following compulsory tuition activities must be approved by the teacher:

  • Participation on all 3 master seminars
  • Submission of a first draft of your seminar paper


Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020


Spring 2020

Teaching language


The lectures are given in English. The compulsory master seminars are held in Norwegian only.