GEN2011 - Plants and Civilization
The module introduces to students the impact of plants on the past, present, and future of human civilization. We start with introducing some basic concepts of botany that help to understand the interactions between plants and people. We then cover themes such as the uses of plants as sources of food, medicine, drugs, spices, beverages, poisons, fiber, oils, and plant exudates. The discussion concentrates on the context of their consequences for human history. The socio-cultural benefits of plant domestication and breeding in gardening are also discussed.
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:
- understand basic plant biology, including plant structure, physiology and taxonomy, to make intelligent decisions as consumers of plant products;
- apply the scientific process in investigating topics in ethnobotany and economic botany;
- explain the multiple economic use of plants by humans for food, beverage, medicine, and industry;
- unravel the main strands of designs and styles mirrored in gardens, including the building of national, group and personal identity; and
- nurture a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation about the plant kingdom and its diverse interactions with humans in historical and modern contexts.