“This is a gem of a book that ought to be read by all environmental historians to remind us what we do and why.”
Michael Egan, H-Net Reviews
“A very well-written and engaging collection…This book has wide appeal…[Its] interesting style and broad scope make it an inviting read to the general reader be they interested in history, the environment, forests or Scandinavia.”
Norman Dandy, Environmental Politics
A deeper understanding of contemporary environmental problems requires us to know where we come from, and the study of environmental history will help us in that quest. Environmental history, in short, may be described as an attempt to study the interaction between humans and nature in the past. How have human societies affected their environment and vice versa? What does history tell us about ecological change?
The essays in Encountering the Past in Nature provide various approaches to the new discipline. Experts with diverse educational backgrounds tackle important issues in environmental history, ranging from the intellectual formation of environmental concepts to case studies of forest history and animal extinction. Most essays in the collection focus on the issue of wilderness and the various uses of forest resources. Encountering the Past in Nature also offers introductory essays on the historiography and methodology of this field of historical study.
Encountering the Past in Nature is a useful addition to the introductory texts currently available in the United States.
Timo Myllyntaus is senior lecturer of economic and social history at the University of Helsinki. More info →
Mikko Saikku is assistant director of the North American Studies Program at the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki. More info →
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Forests of Gold is a collection of essays on the peoples of Ghana with particular reference to the most powerful of all their kingdoms: Asante. Beginning with the global and local conditions under which Akan society assumed its historic form between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, these essays go on to explore various aspects of Asante culture: conceptions of wealth, of time and motion, and the relationship between the unborn, the living, and the dead.
Forests have been at the fault lines of contact between African peasant communities in the Tanzanian coastal hinterland and outsiders for almost two centuries. In recent decades, a global call for biodiversity preservation has been the main challenge to Tanzanians and their forests.Thaddeus Sunseri uses the lens of forest history to explore some of the most profound transformations in Tanzania from the nineteenth century to the present.
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Highland Sanctuary unravels the complex interactions among agriculture, herding, forestry, the colonial state, and the landscape itself. Conte’s study illuminates the debate over conservation, arguing that contingency and chance, the stuff of human history, have shaped forests in ways that rival the power of nature.
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