Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Typically offered:


There is something compelling about islands, especially remote oceanic specks of land hundreds of miles from a continent. How was the island created? What flora and fauna are found there? Are there humans? How did they arrive and who discovered this oceanic speck? For over five hundred years explorers and settlers have engaged with the distant islands of the Atlantic for landmarks, for resources, for adventure, and, in some cases to create homes. This course will explore these questions, setting the human element in a geo-political context with reference to discovery and settlement. From the Falklands and South Georgia in the south, we’ll move northeast to the mid-Atlantic Ridge to examine Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena and Ascension. Each of these islands have played important roles in human history, and they also host some of the most remarkable populations of seabirds in the world. North of the equator, we’ll journey to Cape Verde, the Canaries, the Azores, on to Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard. The role of these islands in global conservation and the growth of eco-tourism will be examined. Once we have familiarized ourselves with aspects of remote island ecology and history, we will use this lens to briefly examine more familiar coastal islands such as Manhattan or the British isles. The class will be taught in a lecture and discussion format and students will be assessed on the basis of two papers, one at midterm, and one as a final, and occasional quizzes.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.