Nature's Role in American History
Author: Ted Steinberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In this ambitious and provocative text, environmental historian Ted Steinberg offers a sweeping history of our nation--a history that, for the first time, places the environment at the very center of our story. Written with exceptional clarity, Down to Earth re-envisions the story of America "from the ground up." It reveals how focusing on plants, animals, climate, and other ecological factors can radically change the way that we think about the past. Examining such familiar topics as colonization, the industrial revolution, slavery, the Civil War, and the emergence of modern-day consumer culture, Steinberg recounts how the natural world influenced the course of human history. From the colonists' attempts to impose order on the land to modern efforts to sell the wilderness as a consumer good, the author reminds readers that many critical episodes in our history were, in fact, environmental events. He highlights the ways in which we have attempted to reshape and control nature, from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan, which divided the national landscape into a grid, to the transformation of animals, crops, and even water into commodities. The text is ideal for courses in environmental history, environmental studies, urban studies, economic history, and American history. Passionately argued and thought-provoking, Down to Earth retells our nation's history with nature in the foreground--a perspective that will challenge our view of everything from Jamestown to Disney World.
Nature's Role in American History
Author: Theodore Steinberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
An innovative and provocative new approach to understanding American history turns readers attention to nature as the primary force shaping the course of the United States.
American Women in Environmental History
Author: Nancy C. Unger
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Social Science
From pre-Columbian times to the environmental justice movements of the present, women and men frequently responded to the environment and environmental issues in profoundly different ways. Although both environmental history and women's history are flourishing fields, explorations of the synergy produced by the interplay between environment and sex, sexuality, and gender are just beginning. Offering more than biographies of great women in environmental history, Beyond Nature's Housekeepers examines the intersections that shaped women's unique environmental concerns and activism and that framed the way the larger culture responded. Women featured include Native Americans, colonists, enslaved field workers, pioneers, homemakers, municipal housekeepers, immigrants, hunters, nature writers, soil conservationists, scientists, migrant laborers, nuclear protestors, and environmental justice activists. As women, they fared, thought, and acted in ways complicated by social, political, and economic norms, as well as issues of sexuality and childbearing. Nancy C. Unger reveals how women have played a unique role, for better and sometimes for worse, in the shaping of the American environment.
An Environmental History of the United States
Author: Mark Fiege
Publisher: University of Washington Press
In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/
Author: Marco Armiero,Marcus Hall
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Is Italy il bel paese—the beautiful country—where tourists spend their vacations looking for art, history, and scenery? Or is it a land whose beauty has been cursed by humanity’s greed and nature’s cruelty? The answer is largely a matter of narrative and the narrator’s vision of Italy. The fifteen essays in Nature and History in Modern Italy investigate that nation’s long experience in managing domesticated rather than wild natures and offer insight into these conflicting visions. Italians shaped their land in the most literal sense, producing the landscape, sculpting its heritage, embedding memory in nature, and rendering the two different visions inseparable. The interplay of Italy’s rich human history and its dramatic natural diversity is a subject with broad appeal to a wide range of readers.
Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The field of environmental history emerged just decades ago but has established itself as one of the most innovative and important new approaches to history, one that bridges the human and natural world, the humanities and the sciences. With the current trend towards internationalizing history, environmental history is perhaps the quintessential approach to studying subjects outside the nation-state model, with pollution, global warming, and other issues affecting the earth not stopping at national borders. With 25 essays, this Handbook is global in scope and innovative in organization, looking at the field thematically through such categories as climate, disease, oceans, the body, energy, consumerism, and international relations.
Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology
Author: Mark V. Barrow, Jr.
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
The rapid growth of the American environmental movement in recent decades obscures the fact that long before the first Earth Day and the passage of the Endangered Species Act, naturalists and concerned citizens recognized—and worried about—the problem of human-caused extinction. As Mark V. Barrow reveals in Nature’s Ghosts, the threat of species loss has haunted Americans since the early days of the republic. From Thomas Jefferson’s day—when the fossil remains of such fantastic lost animals as the mastodon and the woolly mammoth were first reconstructed—through the pioneering conservation efforts of early naturalists like John James Audubon and John Muir, Barrow shows how Americans came to understand that it was not only possible for entire species to die out, but that humans themselves could be responsible for their extinction. With the destruction of the passenger pigeon and the precipitous decline of the bison, professional scientists and wildlife enthusiasts alike began to understand that even very common species were not safe from the juggernaut of modern, industrial society. That realization spawned public education and legislative campaigns that laid the foundation for the modern environmental movement and the preservation of such iconic creatures as the bald eagle, the California condor, and the whooping crane. A sweeping, beautifully illustrated historical narrative that unites the fascinating stories of endangered animals and the dedicated individuals who have studied and struggled to protect them, Nature’s Ghosts offers an unprecedented view of what we’ve lost—and a stark reminder of the hard work of preservation still ahead.
Military Strategy and the Transformation of Southern Landscapes During the American Civil War
Author: Lisa M. Brady
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
"War upon the land is not merely an environmental history of the war ... Instead, Brady's is a book about how the Civil War engaged with, and forever altered, a suite of nineteenth-century American ideas about nature ... Thus [it] examines the place of wilderness in the history of the Civil War, and as importantly, the place of the Civil War in the history of wilderness"--Foreword.
The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT
Author: James E. McWilliams
Publisher: Columbia University Press
The world of insects is one we only dimly understand. Yet from using arsenic, cobalt, and quicksilver to kill household infiltrators to employing the sophisticated tools of the Orkin Man, Americans have fought to eradicate the "bugs" they have learned to hate. Inspired by the still-revolutionary theories of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, James E. McWilliams argues for a more harmonious and rational approach to our relationship with insects, one that does not harm our environment and, consequently, ourselves along the way. Beginning with the early techniques of colonial farmers and ending with the modern use of chemical insecticides, McWilliams deftly shows how America's war on insects mirrors its continual struggle with nature, economic development, technology, and federal regulation. He reveals a very American paradox: the men and women who settled and developed this country sought to control the environment and achieve certain economic goals; yet their methods of agricultural expansion undermined their efforts and linked them even closer to the inexorable realities of the insect world. As told from the perspective of the often flamboyant actors in the battle against insects, American Pests is a fascinating investigation into the attitudes, policies, and practices that continue to influence our behavior toward insects. Asking us to question, if not abandon, our reckless (and sometimes futile) attempts at insect control, McWilliams convincingly argues that insects, like people, have an inherent right to exist and that in our attempt to rid ourselves of insects, we compromise the balance of nature.
Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation
Author: Curt Meine
Publisher: Island Press
The last fifteen years have been a period of dramatic change, both in the world at large and within the fields of ecology and conservation. The end of the Cold War, the dot-com boom and bust, the globalizing economy, and the attacks of September 11, among other events and trends, have reshaped our worldview and the political environment in which we find ourselves. At the same time, emerging knowledge, needs, and opportunities have led to a rapid evolution in our understanding of the scientific foundations and social context of conservation. Correction Lines is a new collection of essays from one of our most thoughtful and eloquent writers on conservation, putting these recent changes into perspective and exploring the questions they raise about the past, present, and future of the conservation movement. The essays explore interrelated themes: the relationship between biological and social dimensions; the historic tension between utilitarian and preservationist approaches; the integration of varied cultural perspectives; the enduring legacy of Aldo Leopold; the contrasts and continuities between conservation and environmentalism; the importance of political reform; and the need to "retool" conservation to address twentyfirst-century realities. Collectively the essays assert that we have reached a critical juncture in conservation-a "correction line" of sorts. Correction Lines argues that we need a more coherent and comprehensive account of the past if we are to understand our present circumstances and move forward under unprecedented conditions. Meine brings together a deep sense of history with powerful language and compelling imagery, yielding new insights into the origins and development of contemporary conservation. Correction Lines will help us think more clearly about the forces that have changed, and are changing, conservation, and inspire us to address current realities and future needs.
Author: Chad Montrie
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
This book offers a fresh and innovative account of the history of environmentalism in the United States, challenging the dominant narrative in the field. In the widely-held version of events, the US environmental movement was born with the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 and was driven by the increased leisure and wealth of an educated middle class. Chad Montrie's telling moves the origins of environmentalism much further back in time and attributes the growth of environmental awareness to working people and their families. From the antebellum era to the end of the twentieth century, ordinary Americans have been at the forefront of organizing to save themselves and their communities from environmental harm. This interpretation is nothing short of a substantial recasting of the past, giving a more accurate picture of what happened, when, and why at the beginnings of the environmental movement.
Volume 8: Environment
Author: Martin Melosi
Publisher: UNC Press Books
From semitropical coastal areas to high mountain terrain, from swampy lowlands to modern cities, the environment holds a fundamental importance in shaping the character of the American South. This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture surveys the dynamic environmental forces that have shaped human culture in the region--and the ways humans have shaped their environment. Articles examine how the South's ecology, physiography, and climate have influenced southerners--not only as a daily fact of life but also as a metaphor for understanding culture and identity. This volume includes ninety-eight essays that explore--both broadly and specifically--elements of the southern environment. Thematic overviews address subjects such as plants, animals, energy use and development, and natural disasters. Shorter topical entries feature familiar species such as the alligator, the ivory-billed woodpecker, kudzu, and the mockingbird. Also covered are important individuals in southern environmental history and prominent places in the landscape, such as the South's national parks and seashores. New articles cover contemporary issues in land use and conservation, environmental protection, and the current status of the flora and fauna widely associated with the South.
Private Property and the Environment
Author: Peter D. Burdon
The idea of human dominion over nature has become entrenched by the dominant rights-based interpretation of private property. Accordingly, nature is not attributed any inherent value and becomes merely the matter of a human property relationship. Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment explores how an alternative conception of property might be instead grounded in the ecocentric concept of an Earth community. Recognising that human beings are deeply interconnected with and dependent on nature, this concept is proposed as a standard and measure for human law. This book argues that the anthropocentric institution of private property needs to be reconceived; drawing on international case law, indigenous views of property and the land use practices of agrarian communities, Peter Burdon considers how private property can be reformulated in a way that fosters duties towards nature. Using the theory of earth jurisprudence as a guide, he outlines an alternative ecocentric description of private property as a relationship between and among members of the Earth community. This book will appeal to those researching in law, justice and ecology, as well as anyone pursuing an interest more particularly in earth jurisprudence.
An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina
Author: Christopher Morris
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In The Big Muddy, the first long-term environmental history of the Mississippi, Christopher Morris offers a brilliant tour across five centuries as he illuminates the interaction between people and the landscape, from early hunter-gatherer bands to present-day industrial and post-industrial society. Morris shows that when Hernando de Soto arrived at the lower Mississippi Valley, he found an incredibly vast wetland, forty thousand square miles of some of the richest, wettest land in North America, deposited there by the big muddy river that ran through it. But since then much has changed, for the river and for the surrounding valley. Indeed, by the 1890s, the valley was rapidly drying. Morris shows how centuries of increasingly intensified human meddling--including deforestation, swamp drainage, and levee construction--led to drought, disease, and severe flooding. He outlines the damage done by the introduction of foreign species, such as the Argentine nutria, which escaped into the wild and are now busy eating up Louisiana's wetlands. And he critiques the most monumental change in the lower Mississippi Valley--the reconstruction of the river itself, largely under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. Valley residents have been paying the price for these human interventions, most visibly with the disaster that followed Hurricane Katrina. Morris also describes how valley residents have been struggling to reinvigorate the valley environment in recent years--such as with the burgeoning catfish and crawfish industries--so that they may once again live off its natural abundance. Morris concludes that the problem with Katrina is the problem with the Amazon Rainforest, drought and famine in Africa, and fires and mudslides in California--it is the end result of the ill-considered bending of natural environments to human purposes.
The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America
Author: Ted Steinberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
As the waters of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain began to pour into New Orleans, people began asking the big question--could any of this have been avoided? How much of the damage from Hurricane Katrina was bad luck, and how much was poor city planning? Steinberg's Acts of God is a provocative history of natural disasters in the United States. This revised edition features a new chapter analyzing the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, a disaster Steinberg warned could happen when the book first was published. Focusing on America's worst natural disasters, Steinberg argues that it is wrong to see these tragedies as random outbursts of nature's violence or expressions of divine judgment. He reveals how the decisions of business leaders and government officials have paved the way for the greater losses of life and property, especially among those least able to withstand such blows--America's poor, elderly, and minorities. Seeing nature or God as the primary culprit, Steinberg explains, has helped to hide the fact that some Americans are simply better able to protect themselves from the violence of nature than others. In the face of revelations about how the federal government mishandled the Katrina calamity, this book is a must-read before further wind and water sweep away more lives. Acts of God is a call to action that needs desperately to be heard.
Author: David Peterson Del Mar
Why are our environmental problems still growing despite a huge increase in global conservation efforts? Peterson del Mar untangles this paradox by showing how prosperity is essential to environmentalism. Industrialization drove people to look for meaning in nature even as they consumed its products more relentlessly. Hence England led the way in both manufacturing and preserving its countryside, and the United States created a matchless set of national parks as it became the world's pre-eminent economic and military power. Environmental movements have produced some impressive results, including cleaner air and the preservation of selected species and places. But agendas that challenged western prosperity and comfort seldom made much progress, and many radical environmentalists have been unabashed utopianists. Environmentalism considers a wide range of conservation and preservation movements and less organized forms of nature loving (from seaside vacations to ecotourism) to argue that these activities have commonly distracted us from the hard work of creating a sustainable and sensible relationship with the environment.
Author: John Steinbeck
The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics. This Centennial edition, specially designed to commemorate one hundred years of Steinbeck, features french flaps and deckle-edged pages. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Science, Environment, and the Material Self
Author: Stacy Alaimo
How do we understand the agency and significance of material forces and their interface with human bodies? What does it mean to be human in these times, with bodies that are inextricably interconnected with our physical world? Bodily Natures considers these questions by grappling with powerful and pervasive material forces and their increasingly harmful effects on the human body. Drawing on feminist theory, environmental studies, and the sciences, Stacy Alaimo focuses on trans-corporeality, or movement across bodies and nature, which has profoundly altered our sense of self. By looking at a broad range of creative and philosophical writings, Alaimo illuminates how science, politics, and culture collide, while considering the closeness of the human body to the environment.
war and nature in Vichy France
Author: Chris Pearson
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
Category: Business & Economics
The first environmental history of Vichy France, examining the intricate and often surprising connections between war, history, and the natural environment during these turbulent years.
Documents and Essays
Author: Carolyn Merchant
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing Company
This volume traces the history of environmental conditions in the United States through the examination of critical issues such as pollution, conservation, and wilderness preservation. The Second Edition of this popular text includes several new essays and documents and pays particular attention to multiculturalism and gender throughout. In order to place American environmental issues in a larger context, the text emphasizes international relations and globalization.