A Companion to Global Environmental History

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The Companion to Global Environmental History offers multiple points of entry into the history and historiography of this dynamic and fast-growing field, to provide an essential road map to past developments, current controversies, and future developments for specialists and newcomers alike.
  • Combines temporal, geographic, thematic and contextual approaches from prehistory to the present day
  • Explores environmental thought and action around the world, to give readers a cultural, intellectual and political context for engagement with the environment in modern times
  • Brings together environmental historians from around the world, including scholars from South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and China
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About the author

J.R. McNeill is Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs before becoming University Professor in 2006. His book Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World was listed by The Times as one of the best science books ever written. The book was co-winner of the World History Association and Forest History Society book prizes and runner-up for the BP Natural World book prize. McNeill has authored a number of other award-winning books on environmental history, and in 2010 he was awarded the Toynbee Prize for ‘academic and public contributions to humanity.'

Erin Stewart Mauldin is an Assistant Professor of History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Her current project examines the ecological implications of the Civil War for agriculture in the U.S. South.

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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Aug 22, 2012
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Pages
568
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ISBN
9781118279540
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Historical Geography
History / Social History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The view of nature and technology inhabiting totally different, even opposite, spheres persists across time and cultures. Most people would consider an English countryside or a Louisiana bayou to be "natural," though each is to an extent the product of technology. Pollution, widely thought to be a purely man-made phenomenon, results partly from natural processes. All around us, things from the natural world are brought into the human world. At what point do we consider them part of culture rather than nature? And does such a distinction illuminate our world or obscure its workings?

This compelling new book challenges the view that a clear and unwavering boundary exists between nature and technology. Rejecting this dichotomy, the contributors show how the history of each can be united in a constantly shifting panorama where definitions of "nature" and "technology" alter and overlap.

In addition to recognizing the artificial divide between these two concepts, the essays in this book demonstrate how such thinking may affect societies’ ability to survive and prosper. The answers and ideas are as numerous as the landscapes they consider, for there is no single path toward a more harmonious vision of technology and nature. Technologies that work in one place may not in another. Nature that is preserved in one community might become the raw material of technological progress somewhere else. Add to this the fact that the natural world and technology are not passive players, but are profoundly involved in cultural construction. Understanding such dynamics not only reveals a new historical complexity; it prepares us for coping with many of the most difficult and pressing social issues facing us today.

Contributors

Peter Coates * Craig E. Colten * Stephen H. Cutcliffe * Hugh S. Gorman * Betsy Mendelsohn * Joy Parr * Peter C. Perdue * Sara B. Pritchard * Martin Reuss * William D. Rowley * Edmund Russell * Joel A. Tarr * Ann Vileisis * James C. Williams * Thomas Zeller

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this provocative, startling book, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Monsoon and Balkan Ghosts, offers a revelatory new prism through which to view global upheavals and to understand what lies ahead for continents and countries around the world.

Bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the recent and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world’s hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands. He then applies the lessons learned to the present crises in Europe, Russia, China, the Indian Subcontinent, Turkey, Iran, and the Arab Middle East. The result is a holistic interpretation of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia, a visionary glimpse into a future that can be understood only in the context of temperature, land allotment, and other physical certainties. A brilliant rebuttal to thinkers who suggest that globalism will trump geography, this indispensable work shows how timeless truths and natural facts can help prevent this century’s looming cataclysms.

Praise for The Revenge of Geography

“[An] ambitious and challenging new book . . . [The Revenge of Geography] displays a formidable grasp of contemporary world politics and serves as a powerful reminder that it has been the planet’s geophysical configurations, as much as the flow of competing religions and ideologies, that have shaped human conflicts, past and present.”—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books

“Robert D. Kaplan, the world-traveling reporter and intellectual whose fourteen books constitute a bedrock of penetrating exposition and analysis on the post-Cold War world . . . strips away much of the cant that suffuses public discourse these days on global developments and gets to a fundamental reality: that geography remains today, as it has been throughout history, one of the most powerful drivers of world events.”—The National Interest

“Kaplan plunges into a planetary review that is often thrilling in its sheer scale . . . encyclopedic.”—The New Yorker

“[The Revenge of Geography] serves the facts straight up. . . . Kaplan’s realism and willingness to face hard facts make The Revenge of Geography a valuable antidote to the feel-good manifestoes that often masquerade as strategic thought.”—The Daily Beast
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