KULH2011 – The Cultural History of Nature

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The most pressing societal challenges in the present have to do with climate change and the loss of biodiversity. In the age of the Anthropocene, nature has become a vital political concern.      

This course offers cultural historical perspectives upon the present situation. The aim is to explore how humans have used, imagined and shaped animals and physical environments and, conversely, the role that nature and ideas of nature have played in social, cultural, political, economic and everyday life.

The course focuses on ways to describe and theorise the relations between humans and nature—from early modern natural histories and the modern distinction between nature and culture, to ongoing discussions about the Anthropocene. Central themes include the politics of landscape and of domestication, the rise of conservation and scientific ecology, nature and colonialism, nature and the nation-state, and the strange new hybrid natures that emerge with the Anthropocene.

Learning outcome

Upon successful completion of the course, students should

  • be able to study textual and visual primary sources from the perspective of the cultural history of nature
  • have basic knowledge of the development of ideas about nature and human relationships to nature
  • have basic knowledge of how practices of nature affect societies and vice versa.
  • have basic knowledge about the development of theories of nature and nature-culture relations in cultural history and the cultural sciences


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.

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


The course is taught through

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Practical exercises

Obligatory coursework

Four short papers (ca. 2 pages) related to the primary sources used in the teaching. One of these can form the basis for the term paper (6-8 pages). Information about the papers and deadlines will be given in lectures and in Canvas. You need to submit the work within the deadlines, and are responsible for checking the requirements of the different papers. 

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Term paper.

The course final exam is a term paper of 6-8 pages (around 2300 characters per page, not including spaces).

Information about length and other formal criteria will be published in Canvas. You are personally responsible for familiarizing yourself with the requirements and deadlines for the paper. 

Previous grading guidelines. 

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response 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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course

Every spring
Every spring
Teaching language