Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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In October 2008, Dolly Jørgensen and Finn Arne Jørgensen, then affili-ated with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, proposed the idea for a small conference on the contributions of science and technology studies (STS) to environmental history at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology in Lisbon, Portugal. We submitted numerous ...
1. Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies: Promises, Challenges,and Contributions
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This edited volume is the product of recent dialogue within and between the fields of environmental history and science and technology studies (STS). It is also the outcome of a workshop that examined one piece of this larger intellectual puzzle: how perspectives gleaned from STS might facilitate and ultimately extend the contributions of environmental history. Indeed, dis-...
Part 1. Ways of Knowing
2. The Natural History of Early Northeastern America: An Inexact Science
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In 1795 Yale College president Timothy Dwight decided to write a book about New England and surrounding areas. It was a project motivated by two recuperative goals. The first was personal: his job was too sedentary, and he needed more exercise. To counteract these defects, he devoted vacations to exploring the region on horseback, and his health was “preserved.” The ...
3. Farming and Not Knowing: Agnotology Meets Environmental History
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In the modern world, ignorance is first and foremost a bad thing. With the omnipresent buzz about “knowledge societies,” there is a broad consensus that information is a key resource of modern societies, giving an inherently negative ring to the absence of knowledge. Historians of science have been particularly hesitant to challenge this rationale. Ever since Francis Bacon, ...
4. Environmentalists on Both Sides: Enactments in the California Rigs-to-Reefs Debate
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The choice that someone would make about whether to go with complete removal or partial removal, it’s just not clear. It’s obviously nice if you come up with something that’s obviously the optimum decision in all circum-stances, but in this case, the choice that someone would make or the prefer-ence that they would have depends on how they value the various kinds of ...
5. The Backbone of Everyday Environmentalism: Cultural Scripting and Technological Systems
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The iconic face of Norwegian recycling is a small round hole in the wall. More than a billion beverage containers pass through this hole every year, bringing vast amounts of glass, aluminum, and plastic back into the recy-cling loop. Bottles and cans are made from raw material and are then sold—or leased—to bottlers, who fill them with beverages and send them through ...
Part II. Constructions of Environmental Expertise
6. The Soil Doctor: Hugh Hammond Bennett, Soil Conservation, and the Search for a Democratic Science
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The history of every Nation is eventually written in the way in which it cares —Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “A Presidential Statement on Signing the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act,” March 1, 1936Addressing the 1941 meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Hugh Hammond Bennett, chief of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), pleaded for ...
7. Communicating Knowledge: The Swedish Mercury Group and Vernacular Science, 1965--1972
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Canaries are sometimes used in mines to investigate the presence of meth-ane gas. Let us imagine that a mining accident does happen. The intention is to send rescue staff down into the mine, but there is suspicion that the staff would run a serious risk of gas poisoning or suffocation. A great number of birds are sent down into the mine, and people wait in vain for ...
8. Signals in the Forest: Cultural Boundaries of Sciencein Bialowie.za, Poland
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There are multiple ways to know nature, particularly nature that is forested and “wild.” But which experts do people trust when those experts speak about nature, about the ontology of the forest? Which compositions of plants and animals belong there? And why might it matter to scholars of science technology studies and environmental history if those experts produce facts ...
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 Salazar
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In May 1944 Heinrich Himmler wrote to the SS Brigadenführer Körner urging him to take charge of a karakul sheep flock recently arrived at the SS-Truppenübungsplatz Böhmen, a vast Waffen-SS training area located in the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.1 The flock had been brought in by agriculture officers of the Military Administration of ...
10. Trading Spaces: Transferring Energy and Organizing Power in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Grain Trade
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A shared commitment to uncovering the complicated process of recursive feedback is the best place to look for overlap between science and technology studies (STS) and environmental history.1 This chapter centers the process of nature-human feedback on the concepts of energy and power. As certain individuals harness and organize energy from nature, their ability to apply ...
11. Situated yet Mobile: Examining the Environmental History of Arctic Ecological Science
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For centuries the Arctic has captured scientists’ attention. Features found nowhere else—polar bears, tundra, permafrost, months-long days and nights—underscore its distinctive nature. These phenomena have long at-tracted and challenged scientists, as have the region’s extreme conditions, re-moteness, and reputation as pristine wilderness.1 There is also a rich history ...
12. White Mountain Apache Boundary-Work as an Instrument of Ecopolitical Liberation and Landscape Change
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In 1960 D’Arcy McNickle—the famous Salish scholar, activist, and writer—predicted that American Indians will “probably use the white man’s technical skills for Indian purposes” and that “Indians are going to remain Indian . . . a way of looking at things and a way of acting which will be orig-inal, which will be a compound of these different influences.”1 This predic-...
13. NEOecology: The Solar System’s Emerging Environmental History and Politics
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For two decades, scholars concerned with perceptions of the global envi-ronment have examined how remote sensing technologies serve as social tools. They call attention to the scientific and political uses of satellite and astronautical views of Earth from orbit, asking how these downward views open up new ways to spatialize forms of governance,1 legitimize forms of ...
Epilogue: Preservation in theAge of Entanglement: STS and the History of Future Urban Nature
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Preservation and conservation are standard tropes of environmental his-tory, nowadays often cited as icons of the field’s backward past rather than its bright future. In this chapter I argue that, on the contrary, there is currently a major transformation regarding how we understand the social-ecological processes of protecting nature and how previous dichotomies between na-...
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Kevin C. Armitage is associate professor at Miami University of Ohio, where he teaches interdisciplinary studies and environmental history. He is the author of The Nature Study Movement: The Forgotten Popularizer of America’s Conservation Ethic (University Press of Kansas, 2009). When not teaching or writing, he can often be found exploring the wild lands of Colorado or Kentucky with his wife and daughter. ...
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Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 6 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013