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Crossing Mountains: The Challenges of Doing Environmental History

About this issue

This issue of RCC Perspectives uses mountains as a common denominator around which to discuss overarching challenges of environmental history: challenges relating not only to mountain landscapes, but also to broader questions of sources, methods, cross-cultural research, project scale, and audience. Each author discusses some of their most intriguing discoveries, resulting in a brief and diverse collection of environmental history snapshots.


Fields and Forests: Ethnographic Perspectives on Environmental Globalization

About this issue

Around the world, fields and forests are increasingly dominated by the market, mediated by science, and subjected to new modes of transnational environmental governance. This volume of RCC Perspectives presents ethnographic insights into the impacts of such environmental globalization.


Ethnographies of Conservation: Environmentalism and the Distribution of Privilege

Through a series of ethnographic studies that range from Papua New Guinea to Siberia, Brazil to Namibia, Ethnographies of Conservation argues that the problem is not the disappearance of “pristine nature” or even the land-use practices of uneducated people. Rather, critical attention would be better turned on discourses of “primitiveness” and “pristine nature,” so prevalent within conservation ideology.

"The Nature-Culture Trap: A Critique of Late 20th Century Global Paradigms of Environmental Change in Africa and Beyond"

The modernization, the declinist, and the inclinist paradigms of the late twentieth century, despite their differences, all tended to frame environmental change in a unilinear Nature-to-Culture fashion, which in turn entailed homogenizing the agency, process, and outcome of environmental change. This article examines the characteristics of each paradigm, as well as some of the paradoxes that have arisen in their wake. Finally, it looks to alternative approaches.