Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change

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Product Details

Altamira Press
Publish Date
5.92 X 9.11 X 0.99 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Alf Hornborg is an anthropologist and professor of human ecology at Lund University. J. R. McNeill is professor of history, director of graduate studies, and Cinco Hermanos Chair of Environmental and International Affairs at Georgetown University. Joan Martinez-Alier is professor of ecological economics in the Department of Economics and Economic History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.


This book offers new perspectives on global environmental problems at a time when many of these issues are discussed and taught in a historical and political-economic vacuum. It is coherent in theme, interdisciplinary in scope, historically innovative, and geographically far-reaching. A 'world-system' perspective provides a thread for a multifaceted view of distributive aspects of our interlinked economic and environmental histories. Rethinking Environmental History offers carefully crafted studies and provocative essays by some of the most respected scholars (and best writers!) on the topic. This volume brings much-needed depth to the scholarship of globalization and environment, and inauguates a new phase of inquiry in political ecology, environmental history, and environmental sciences in general.--Eduardo S. Brondizio, Indiana University, Bloomington
This is the best overview we have of political ecology, which tries to link environmental change to political economy and social injustice. Through a set of richly layered and well-argued chapters, the authors demonstrate how empires and powerful nation-states have long enriched themselves and protected their own environments by extracting wealth from faraway places. These authors restore both ecology and economy to the center of environmental history. All historians and environmental policy makers should read their contributotions carefully and incorporate their ecological perspective into our understanding of the past.--Donald E. Worster, University of Kansas
We like to think that we are free agents and that everything is possible. Yet technological development today is highly uneven, just as it was throughout the past. All development is subject to various ecological constraints. How actors deal with these constraints and who ends up bearing their burden are often more complex processes than they may seem from local perspectives. The chapters in Hornborg, McNeill, and Martinez-Alier help illustrate these multifaceted problems in a number of fascinating and globally conscious ways.--William Thompson, Indiana University, Bloomington, and past president of the International Studies Association
The contributors to Rethinking Environmental History argue for a truly global, historical, and transdisciplinary approach to environmental history, even when analyzing the most localized instances of degradation. They show how and why environmental degradations have been uneven throughout history--and in the process employ, critique, and extend world-systems analysis.--Thomas D. Hall, Lester M. Jones Professor of Sociology, DePauw University, and editor of A World-Systems Reader
Environmental history is new, exciting, and protean--a veritable stem cell of scholarly inquiry. To sample it while its insights are fresh and provoke new views of even your own origins, read Rethinking Environmental History.--Alfred W. Crosby, University of Texas at Austin