Cover image for New natures  joining environmental history with science and technology studies
New natures joining environmental history with science and technology studies
Publication Information:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013.


Physical Description:
1 online resource (303 pages)
General Note:
Includes index.
Local Note:
Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, MI : ProQuest, 2016. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest affiliated libraries.


Material Type
Shelf Number

On Order



New Natures broadens the dialogue between the disciplines of science and technology studies (STS) and environmental history in hopes of deepening and even transforming understandings of human-nature interactions. The volume presents richly developed historical studies that explicitly engage with key STS theories, offering models for how these theories can help crystallize central lessons from empirical histories, facilitate comparative analysis, and provide a language for complicated historical phenomena. Overall, the collection exemplifies the fruitfulness of cross-disciplinary thinking.

The chapters follow three central themes: ways of knowing, or how knowledge is produced and how this mediates our understanding of the environment; constructions of environmental expertise, showing how expertise is evaluated according to categories, categorization, hierarchies, and the power afforded to expertise; and lastly, an analysis of networks, mobilities, and boundaries, demonstrating how knowledge is both diffused and constrained and what this means for humans and the environment.

Contributors explore these themes by discussing a wide array of topics, including farming, forestry, indigenous land management, ecological science, pollution, trade, energy, and outer space, among others. The epilogue, by the eminent environmental historian Sverker Sörlin, views the deep entanglements of humans and nature in contemporary urbanity and argues we should preserve this relationship in the future. Additionally, the volume looks to extend the valuable conversation between STS and environmental history to wider communities that include policy makers and other stakeholders, as many of the issues raised can inform future courses of action.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of 13 studies is the product of a workshop held in 2010. The goal is to show educators of both environmental history and science and technology studies (STS) how they might broaden the scope of their research and teaching to include perspectives and analyses from the other discipline. The volume is dominated by STS scholars interested in environmental history. STS scholars emphasize theory more than many environmental historians do. Pritchard's introduction summarizes STS perspectives and concepts. The studies focus on very diverse topics. They include early natural history studies in New England; the development of corn as an important crop in Germany during the 1960s; recycling oil rigs off the California coast; recycling drink containers in Norway, beginning in the 1960s; Hugh Bennett's Soil Conservation Service under Franklin Roosevelt; and combating mercury pollution in Sweden, 1965-72. Other studies address the rivalry between foresters and ecologists in a Polish forest; karakul sheep in fascist empires during the 1930s-40s; the Atlantic grain trade, 1853-84; Canadian Arctic ecology; Apache synthesis of Apache and Euro-American environmental knowledge; asteroids as environmental hazards; and urban nature. Fifty pages of notes support the text. The few photographs are adequate but unimpressive. Overall, an interesting and challenging read. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty. F. N. Egerton emeritus, University of Wisconsin--Parkside

Table of Contents

Sara B. PritchardAnya ZilbersteinFrank UekotterDolly JørgensenFinn Arne JørgensenKevin C. ArmitageMichael EganEunice BlavascunasTiago SaraivaThomas D. FingerStephen BockingDavid TomblinValerie A. OlsonSverker Sörlin
Prefacep. vii
1 Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies: Promises, Challenges, and Contributionsp. 1
Part I Ways of Knowing
2 The Natural History of Early Northeastern America: An Inexact Sciencep. 21
3 Farming and Not Knowing: Agnotology Meets Environmental Historyp. 37
4 Environmentalists on Both Sides: Enactments in the California Rigs-to-Reefs Debatep. 51
5 The Backbone of Everyday Environmentalism: Cultural Scripting and Technological Systemsp. 69
Part II Constructions of Environmental Expertise
6 The Soil Doctor: Hugh Hammond Bennett, Soil Conservation, and the Search for a Democratic Sciencep. 87
7 Communicating Knowledge: The Swedish Mercury Group and Vernacular Science, 1965-1972p. 103
8 Signals in the Forest: Cultural Boundaries of Science in Bialowieza, Polandp. 113
Part III Networks, Mobilities, and Boundaries
9 The Production and Circulation of Standardized Karakul Sheep and Frontier Settlement in the Empires of Hitler, Mussolini, and Salazarp. 135
10 Trading Spaces: Transferring Energy and Organizing Power in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Grain Tradep. 151
11 Situated yet Mobile: Examining the Environmental History of Arctic Ecological Sciencep. 164
12 White Mountain Apache Boundary-Work as an Instrument of Ecopolitical Liberation and Landscape Changep. 179
13 NEOecology: The Solar System's Emerging Environmental History and Politicsp. 195
Epilogue: Preservation in the Age of Entanglement: STS and the History of Future Urban Naturep. 212
Notesp. 225
Contributorsp. 277
Indexp. 281