Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective

by Gissibl, Bernhard, Sabine Höhler, and Patrick Kupper, eds. | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective. Cover.

Gissibl, Bernhard, Sabine Höhler, and Patrick Kupper, eds. Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012.

National parks are one of the most important and successful institutions in global environmentalism. Since their first designation in the United States in the 1860s and 1870s they have become a global phenomenon. The development of these ecological and political systems cannot be understood as a simple reaction to mounting environmental problems, nor can it be explained by the spread of environmental sensibilities. Shifting the focus from the usual emphasis on national parks in the United States, this volume adopts an historical and transnational perspective on the global geography of protected areas and its changes over time. It focuses especially on the actors, networks, mechanisms, arenas, and institutions responsible for the global spread of the national park and the associated utilization and mobilization of asymmetrical relationships of power and knowledge, contributing to scholarly discussions of globalization and the emergence of global environmental institutions and governance. (Text from Berghahn Books)

Click here to read an interview with the editors of Civilizing Nature.

Click here for a review of the book by Ian Tyrrell.

With an intellectual coherence often missing in the revised proceedings of conferences, Civilizing Nature is a path-breaking work in its field of comparative national park history. Both editors and contributors must be commended on the outcome. It is also a valuable contribution to environmental history more broadly and a useful addition to the study of twentieth-century global history. (Quote from Ian Tyrrell)

The Rachel Carson Center, the ESEH, and Berghahn Books (New York and Oxford) partner on the publication of the peer-reviewed book series The Environment in History: International Perspectives. The series strives to bridge both national and disciplinary divides, with a particular emphasis on European, transnational, and comparative research.

Further readings: 
  • Frost, Warwick, and C. Michael Hall, eds. Tourism and National Parks: International Perspectives on Development, Histories and Change. Abingdon: Routledge, 2009.
  • Ghimire, Krishna, and Michel P. Pimbert, eds. Social Change and Conservation: Environmental Politics and Impacts of National Parks and Protected Areas. London: Earthscan Publication Limited, 2000.
  • Kangler, Gisela. "From the Bohemian Forests to the Bavarian Forest National Park—the Change of Meaning of a Wilderness in Europe," In Cultural Heritage and Landscapes in Europe [Landschaften: Kulturelles Erbe in Europa], edited by Christoph Bartels and Claudia Küpper-Eichas, 313–30. Bochum: Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, 2008.
  • Kupper, Patrick. "Translating Yellowstone: Early European National Parks, Weltnaturschutz and the Swiss Model," in Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective, edited by Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler, and Patrick Kupper, 123-139. New York: Berghahn Books, 2012.
  • Sheail, John. Nature's Spectacle: The World's First National Parks and Protected Places. London: Earthscan, 2010.