The Commons in History
Culture, Conflict, and Ecology
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The MIT Press
Series: History for a Sustainable Future
Title Page, Series Page, Copyright
Derek Wall’s The Commons in History: Culture, Conflict, and Ecology inaugurates a new series from the MIT Press. “History for a Sustainable Future” is predicated on the idea that scholars, publics, and policymakers need to be conscious of the historical contexts of contemporary environmental problems...
1. Commons Ecology
London and its environs would have no parks today if commoners had not asserted their rights, and as the nineteenth century drew on rights of recreation were more important than rights of pasture, and were defended vigilantly by the Commons Preservation Society. We owe to these premature “Greens” such urban lungs as we have. More...
2. Culture in Common?
To the medieval mind such landscapes were liminal places, where humanity might encounter the supernatural . . . in early medieval Scandinavian cosmology, where the utgard (the same term was used of the common waste beyond the farmland) was inhabited by monsters and was dark. . . . The association of wilder spaces beyond cultivation...
3. Commons in Conflict
All these changes from the original communal property conditions did not, of course, take place without friction, the opposition often taking place in peasants’ revolts; hundreds of thousands of these being killed in their attempts to preserve their commons, forests and waters free for all, to re-establish their liberty to hunt, fish and cut wood...
4. Questions for Good Ancestors
In March 2005, the Onondaga Nation of Indians filed suit against the state of New York and several large corporate polluters that had done business in the vicinity of Syracuse. In their complaint, the Onondagas said that they were “one with the land and consider themselves stewards of it. It is the duty...
Selected Readings on the Commons