KULH2011 – The Cultural History of Nature

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, how nature has affected politics, economy and everyday life.

The course focuses on ways to describe and theorize the relations between humans and nature – from early modern natural histories and emerging modern distinctions between nature and culture to current discussion of the Anthropocene. The politics of landscapes and conservation practices, the development of legislation protecting animals and of a science of ecology, are among the central themes.

Learning outcome

Upon successful completion of the course, students

  • are 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 the relationship between man and nature
  • have basic knowledge about how practices concerning nature changes societies
  • have basic knowledge about the development of theories about nature-culture relations in cultural history and the cultural sciences


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


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)  

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.


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

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





Teaching language