Environmental history

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Environmental history is an interdisciplinary pursuit that has developed as a form of conscience to counter an increasingly powerful, forward-looking liberal theory of the environment. It deals with the relations between environmental ideas and materialities, from the work of the geographers George Perkins Marsh, Carl Sauer, and Clarence Glacken, to more recent global-scale assessments of the impact of the “great acceleration” since 1950. Today’s “runaway world” paradoxically embraces risk management in an attempt to determine its own future whilst generating a whole new category of “manufactured risks”. These are exposed by environmental history’s focus on long-run analysis and its narrative form that identifies the stories that we tell ourselves about nature. How a better understanding of past environmental transformations helps to analyse society and agency, and what this can mean for solutions and policies, is the agenda for an engaged environmental history from now on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Geography : People, the Earth, Environment and Technology
EditorsDouglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey L. Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, Richard Marston
Number of pages14
Publication dateMar 2017
ISBN (Print)978-0-470-65963-2
ISBN (Electronic)9781118786352
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Environmental history, History, Global change, Global History
  • Faculty of Science - Landscape history, Environmental transformation, Environmental management, Environment, Human-environment timelines, Human-environment interaction
  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Modernity, Modernization, Globalization, Capitalism, Privatization, Growth, Acceleration

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ID: 127401198