New Perspectives on Historical Writing


Peter Burke - 1991
    For this new edition, the book has been thoroughly revised and updated and includes an entirely new chapter on environmental history.Peter Burke is joined here by a distinguished group of internationally renowned historians, including Robert Darnton, Ivan Gaskell, Richard Grove, Giovanni Levi, Roy Porter, Gwyn Prins, Joan Scott, Jim Sharpe, Richard Tuck, and Henk Wesseling. The contributions examine a wide range of interdisciplinary areas of historical research, including women's history, history from below, the history of reading, oral history, the history of the body, microhistory, the history of events, the history of images, and political history.

Listening to the Land: Conversations about Nature, Culture and Eros


Derrick Jensen - 1995
    Included here is Dave Foreman on biodiversity, Matthew Fox on Christianity and nature, Jerry Mander on technology, and Terry Tempest Williams on an erotic connection to the land. With intelligence and compassion, Listening to the Land moves from a look at the condition of the environment and the health of our spirit to a beautiful evocation of eros and a life based on love.

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (CBC Massey Lecture)


Wade Davis - 2009
    In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

Twilight of the Machines


John Zerzan - 2008
    When everything is at stake, all must be confronted and superseded. At this moment, there is the distinct possibility of doing just that.”

Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law


Martha C. Nussbaum - 2004
    Nussbaum argues that the thought-content of disgust embodies "magical ideas of contamination, and impossible aspirations to purity that are just not in line with human life as we know it." She argues that disgust should never be the basis for criminalizing an act, or play either the aggravating or the mitigating role in criminal law it currently does. She writes that we should be similarly suspicious of what she calls "primitive shame," a shame "at the very fact of human imperfection," and she is harshly critical of the role that such shame plays in certain punishments.Drawing on an extraordinarily rich variety of philosophical, psychological, and historical references--from Aristotle and Freud to Nazi ideas about purity--and on legal examples as diverse as the trials of Oscar Wilde and the Martha Stewart insider trading case, this is a major work of legal and moral philosophy.

Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science


Londa Schiebinger - 1993
    When plants were found to reproduce sexually, eighteenth-century botanists ascribed to them passionate relations, polyandrous marriages, and suicidal incest, and accounts of steamy plant sex began to infiltrate the botanical literature of the day. Naturalists also turned their attention to the great apes just becoming known to eighteenth-century Europeans, clothing the females in silk vestments and training them to sip tea with the modest demeanor of English matrons, while imagining the males of the species fully capable of ravishing women.Written with humor and meticulous detail, Nature’s Body draws on these and other examples to uncover the ways in which assumptions about gender, sex, and race have shaped scientific explanations of nature. Schiebinger offers a rich cultural history of science and a timely and passionate argument that science must be restructured in order to get it right.

The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness beyond the Brain


Ervin Laszlo - 2014
    Conventional science prefers to dismiss these findings because they cannot be accommodated by a materialist view of reality. Spirituality and religion embrace the continuity of consciousness and ascribe it to a nonmaterial spirit or soul that is immortal. As such, spirituality/religion and science continually find conflict in their views. But what if there truly is no conflict? Based on a new scientific paradigm in sync with experience-based spirituality, Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake explore how consciousness is continually present in the cosmos and can exist without connection to a living organism. They examine the rapidly growing body of scientific evidence supporting the continuity of consciousness, including near-death experiences, after-death communication, reincarnation, and neurosensory information received in altered states. They explain how the persistence of consciousness beyond the demise of the body means that, in essence, we are not mortal--we continue to exist even when our physical existence has come to an end. This correlates precisely with cutting-edge physics, which posits that things in our plane of time and space are not intrinsically real but are manifestations of a hidden dimension where they exist in the form of superstrings, information fields, and energy matrices. With proof that consciousness is basic to the cosmos and immortal in its deeper, nonmanifest realm, Laszlo and Peake reveal the purpose of consciousness is to manifest in living beings in order to continuously evolve.

The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move


Sonia Shah - 2020
    Wild species, too, are escaping warming seas and desiccated lands, creeping, swimming, and flying in a mass exodus from their past habitats. News media presents this scrambling of the planet's migration patterns as unprecedented, provoking fears of the spread of disease and conflict and waves of anxiety across the Western world. On both sides of the Atlantic, experts issue alarmed predictions of millions of invading aliens, unstoppable as an advancing tsunami, and countries respond by electing anti-immigration leaders who slam closed borders that were historically porous.But the science and history of migration in animals, plants, and humans tell a different story. Far from being a disruptive behavior to be quelled at any cost, migration is an ancient and lifesaving response to environmental change, a biological imperative as necessary as breathing. Climate changes triggered the first human migrations out of Africa. Falling sea levels allowed our passage across the Bering Sea. Unhampered by barbed wire, migration allowed our ancestors to people the planet, catapulting us into the highest reaches of the Himalayan mountains and the most remote islands of the Pacific, creating and disseminating the biological, cultural, and social diversity that ecosystems and societies depend upon. In other words, migration is not the crisis--it is the solution.Conclusively tracking the history of misinformation from the 18th century through today's anti-immigration policies, The Next Great Migration makes the case for a future in which migration is not a source of fear, but of hope.

Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews


Michel Foucault - 1977
    This book offers a selection of seven of Foucault's most important published essays, translated from the French, with an introductory essay and notes by Donald F. Bouchard. Also included are a summary of a course given by Foucault at Collège de France, the transcript of a conversation between Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, and an interview with Foucault that appeared in the journal Actuel.

When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth


Elizabeth Wayland Barber - 2004
    George actually fought dragons, since dragons don't exist? Strange though they sound, however, these myths did not begin as fiction. This absorbing book shows that myths originally transmitted real information about real events and observations, preserving the information sometimes for millennia within nonliterate societies. Geologists' interpretations of how a volcanic cataclysm long ago created Oregon's Crater Lake, for example, is echoed point for point in the local myth of its origin. The Klamath tribe saw it happen and passed down the story--for nearly 8,000 years. We, however, have been literate so long that we've forgotten how myths encode reality. Recent studies of how our brains work, applied to a wide range of data from the Pacific Northwest to ancient Egypt to modern stories reported in newspapers, have helped the Barbers deduce the characteristic principles by which such tales both develop and degrade through time. Myth is in fact a quite reasonable way to convey important messages orally over many generations--although reasoning back to the original events is possible only under rather specific conditions. Our oldest written records date to 5,200 years ago, but we have been speaking and mythmaking for perhaps 100,000. This groundbreaking book points the way to restoring some of that lost history and teaching us about human storytelling.

Coming Home to the Pleistocene


Paul Shepard - 1998
    Shepard sets out to show how much of what we call culture can be traced back through our evolution from that formative stage.

Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy


Bruno Latour - 1999
    Bruno Latour announces his project dramatically: “Political ecology has nothing whatsoever to do with nature, this jumble of Greek philosophy, French Cartesianism and American parks.” Nature, he asserts, far from being an obvious domain of reality, is a way of assembling political order without due process. Thus, his book proposes an end to the old dichotomy between nature and society—and the constitution, in its place, of a collective, a community incorporating humans and nonhumans and building on the experiences of the sciences as they are actually practiced.In a critique of the distinction between fact and value, Latour suggests a redescription of the type of political philosophy implicated in such a “commonsense” division—which here reveals itself as distinctly uncommonsensical and in fact fatal to democracy and to a healthy development of the sciences. Moving beyond the modernist institutions of “mononaturalism” and “multiculturalism,” Latour develops the idea of “multinaturalism,” a complex collectivity determined not by outside experts claiming absolute reason but by “diplomats” who are flexible and open to experimentation.

Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature


Felipe Fernández-Armesto - 2000
     To the author, Oxford historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a society's relationship to climate, geography, and ecology are paramount in determining its degree of success. "Unlike previous attempts to write the comparative history of civilizations," he writes, "it is arranged environment by environment, rather than period by period or society by society." Thus, for example, tundra civilizations of Ice Age Europe are linked with those of the Inuit of the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi Mound Builders with the deforesters of eleventh-century Europe. Civilizations brilliantly connects the world of ecologist, geologist, and geographer with the panorama of cultural history.

The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us


Christophe Bonneuil - 2013
    What we are facing is not only an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. In two centuries, our planet has tipped into a state unknown for millions of years.How did we get to this point? Refuting the convenient view of a "human species" that upset the Earth system, unaware of what it was doing, this book proposes the first critical history of the Anthropocene, shaking up many accepted ideas: about our supposedly recent "environmental awareness," about previous challenges to industrialism, about the manufacture of ignorance and consumerism, about so-called energy transitions, as well as about the role of the military in environmental destruction. In a dialogue between science and history, The Shock of the Anthropocene dissects a new theoretical buzzword and explores paths for living and acting politically in this rapidly developing geological epoch.

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail


William Ophuls - 2012
    Civilizations are hard-wired for self-destruction. They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure. Because our own civilization is global, its collapse will also be global, as well as uniquely devastating owing to the immensity of its population, complexity, and consumption. To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will require a radical change in our ethos—to wit, the deliberate renunciation of greatness—lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely lost.