What does American history look like when viewed "from the ground up"? In this first-year seminar, students will examine the dynamic role that land has played in the making of America, from the period of European settlement and conquest to the present. We will explore how Americans have fought over land-as poverty, resource, and sovereign territory-and how the land has fought back. We will learn how the quest to exploit natural resources, acquire and claim dominion over territory, design cities and suburbs, and plan the future has shaped American history. As we do, we will also gain a greater understanding of the limits, contraindications, and ironic consequences of humans' struggle contain nature and claim control over land. By treating the natural and build environment as a dynamic historical actor, this course offers students a new perspective on the study of history, in general, and American history, in particular. As part of the course, each student will choose a research topic (in consultation with the instructor) and complete a final research paper.