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Essays on Culture and Species Death
We live in an era marked by an accelerating rate of species death, but since the early days of the discipline, anthropology has contemplated the death of languages, cultural groups, and ways of life. The essays in this collection examine processes of—and our understanding of—extinction across various domains. The contributors argue that extinction events can be catalysts for new cultural, social, environmental, and technological developments—that extinction processes can, paradoxically, be productive as well as destructive. The essays consider a number of widely publicized cases: island species in the Galápagos and Madagascar; the death of Native American languages; ethnic minorities under pressure to assimilate in China; cloning as a form of species regeneration; and the tiny hominid Homo floresiensis fossils ("hobbits') recently identified in Indonesia. The Anthropology of Extinction offers compelling explorations of issues of widespread concern.
Environmental Relationships in The Lord of the Rings
With the box office successes of movies based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, familiarity with J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth is growing. Unfortunately, scholarship dealing with Middle-Earth itself is comparatively rare in Tolkien studies, and students and scholars seeking greater insight have few resources. Similarly, although public concern for the environment is widespread and “going green” has never been trendier, ecocriticism is also an underserved area of literary studies. Arda Inhabited fills a gap in both areas by combining ecocritical and broader postmodern concerns with the growing appreciation for Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.
Susan Jeffers looks at the way different groups and individuals in The Lord of the Rings interact with their environments. Drawing substantially on ecocritical theory, she argues that there are three main ways these groups relate to their setting: “power with,” “power from,” and “power over.” Ents, Hobbits, and Elves have “power with” their environments. Dwarves and Men draw “power from” their place, interacting with the world symbolically or dialectically. Sauron, Saruman, and Orcs all stand as examples of narcissistic solipsism that attempts to exercise “power over” the environment. Jeffers further considers how wanderers in Middle-Earth interact with the world in light of these three categories and examines how these relationships reflect Tolkien’s own moral paradigm.
Arda Inhabited responds to environmental critics such as Neil Evernden and Christopher Manes, as well as to other touchstones of postmodern thought such as Hegel, DeSaussure, Adorno, and Deleuze and Guattari. It blends their ideas with the analyses of Tolkien scholars such as Patrick Curry, Verlyn Flieger, and Tom Shippey and builds on the work of other scholars who have looked at environment and Tolkien such as Matthew Dickerson and Jonathan Evans. Arda Inhabited demonstrates how Tolkien studies enhances ecocriticism with a fresh examination of interconnection and environment, and ecocriticism enriches Tolkien studies with new ways of reading his work.
Arthur Carhart (1892 -1978), America's first champion of wilderness, the first Forest Service landscape architect, and the most popular conservation writer of mid-century America, won none of the titan status of his contemporary Aldo Leopold. A political maverick, he refused to side with any major advocacy group and none has made him its saint. Carhart was a grassroots thinker in a top-down era. Arthur Carhart, the first biography of this Republican environmentalist and major American thinker, writer, and activist, reveals the currency of his ideas. Tom Wolf elucidates Carhart 's vision of conservation as "a job for all of us," with citizens, municipal authorities, and national leaders all responsible for the environmental effects of their decisions. Carhart loved the local and decried interest groups - from stockmens' associations to wilderness lobbies - as cliques attempting blanket control. He pressured land management agencies to base decisions on local ecology and local partnerships. A lifelong wilderness advocate who proposed the first wilderness preserve at Trappers Lake, Colorado, in 1919, Carhart chose to oppose the Wilderness Act, heartsick at its compromises with lobbies. Because he shifted his stance and changed his views in response to new information, Carhart is not an easy subject for a biography. Wolf traces Carhart's twists and turns to show a man whose voice was distinctive and contrary, who spoke from a passionate concern for the land and couldn't be counted on for anything else. Readers of American history and outdoor writing will enjoy this portrait of a historic era in conservation politics and the man who so often eschewed politics in favor of the land and people he loved.
Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Change
Indigenous nations are on the frontline of the climate crisis of the twenty-first century. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing responses to climate change that serve as a model for Native and non-Native communities alike.
Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already been deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and the northward shifting of species on the land and in the ocean. Having survived the historical and ecological wounds inflicted by colonization, industrialization, and urbanization, Indigenous peoples are using tools of resilience that have enabled them to respond to sudden environmental changes. They are creating defenses to harden their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible.
Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis, reflecting the voices of more than twenty contributors, including tribal leaders, Native and non-Native scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa / New Zealand. Also included is a resource directory of Indigenous governments, NGOs, and communities that are researching and responding to climate change and a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes.
An invaluable addition to the literature on climate change, Asserting Native Resilience will be useful for students of environmental studies, Native studies, geography, and rural sociology, and will serve as an important reference for Indigenous leaders, tribal members, and environmental agency staff.
The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain
Although the British consider themselves a nation of dog lovers, what we have come to know as the modern dog came into existence only after a profound, and relatively recent, transformation in that country’s social attitudes and practices. In At Home and Astray, Philip Howell focuses on Victorian Britain, and especially London, to show how the dog’s changing place in society was the subject of intense debate and depended on a fascinating combination of forces even to come about.
Despite a relationship with humans going back thousands of years, it was during the nineteenth century—alongside the development of dog breeds and dog shows, and with a considerable increase in dog ownership--that the dog became fully domesticated and installed in the heart of the middle-class home. At the same time, the dog was increasingly policed out of public space, the “stray” becoming the unloved counterpart of the household “pet.” Howell shows how this redefinition of the dog’s place illuminates our understanding of modernity and the city. He also explores the fascinating process whereby the dog’s changing role was proposed, challenged, and confronted—and in the end conditionally accepted. With a supporting cast that includes Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, and Charles Darwin, and subjects of inquiry ranging from vivisection and the policing of rabies to pet cemeteries, dog shelters, and the practice of walking the dog, At Home and Astray is a contribution not only to the history of animals but also to our understanding of the Victorian era and its legacies.
History and Ecology of an American Wetland
Crustaceans—familiar to the average person as shrimp, lobsters, crabs, krill, barnacles, and their many relatives—are easily one of the most important and diverse groups of marine life forms. Poorly understood, they are among the most numerous invertebrates on earth. Most crustaceans start life as eggs and move through a variety of morphological phases prior to maturity. In Atlas of Crustacean Larvae, more than 45 of the world's leading crustacean researchers explain and illustrate the beauty and complexity of the many larval life stages. Revealing shapes that are reminiscent of aliens from other worlds—often with bizarre modifications for a planktonic life or for parasitization, including (in some cases) bulging eyes, enormous spines, and aids for flotation and swimming—the abundant illustrations and photographs show the detail of each morphological stage and allow for quick comparisons. The diversity is immediately apparent in the illustrations: spikes that deter predators occur on some larvae, while others bear unique specializations not seen elsewhere, and still others appear as miniature versions of the adults. Small differences in anatomy are shown to be suited to the behaviors and survival mechanisms of each species. Destined to become a key reference for specialists and students and a treasured book for anyone who wishes to understand "the invertebrate backbone of marine ecosystems," Atlas of Crustacean Larvae belongs on the shelf of every serious marine biologist.
Project Dribble and the Quest for Nuclear Weapons Treaty Verification in the Cold War Era
In Atomic Testing in Mississippi, David Allen Burke illuminates the nearly forgotten history of America’s only nuclear detonations east of the Mississippi River. The atomic tests, conducted in the mid-1960s nearly 3,000 feet below ground in Mississippi’s Tatum Salt Dome, posed a potential risk for those living within 150 miles of the site, which included residents of Hattiesburg, Jackson, Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile, and New Orleans. While the detonations provided the United States with verification methods that helped limit the world’s nuclear arsenals, they sparked widespread public concern. In 1964 and 1966 the Atomic Energy Commission conducted experiments at the salt dome—code-named Dribble—surrounded by a greater population density than any other test site in the United States. Although the detonations were not weapons tests, they fostered a conflict between regional politicians interested in government-funded science projects and a population leery of nuclear testing near their homes. Even today, residents near the salt dome are still fearful of long-term negative health consequences. Despite its controversy, Project Dribble provided the technology needed to detect and assess the performance of distant underground atomic explosions and thus verify international weapons treaty compliance. This technology led to advanced seismological systems that now provide tsunami warnings and detect atomic activity in other nuclear nations, such as Pakistan and North Korea.
Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability
As the price of oil climbs toward $100 a barrel, our impending post-fossil fuel future appears to offer two alternatives: a bleak existence defined by scarcity and sacrifice or one in which humanity places its faith in technological solutions with unforeseen consequences. Are there other ways to imagine life in an era that will be characterized by resource depletion?
The French intellectual Georges Bataille saw energy as the basis of all human activity—the essence of the human—and he envisioned a society that, instead of renouncing profligate spending, would embrace a more radical type of energy expenditure: la dépense, or “spending without return.” In Bataille’s Peak, Allan Stoekl demonstrates how a close reading of Bataille—in the wake of Giordano Bruno and the Marquis de Sade— can help us rethink not only energy and consumption, but also such related topics as the city, the body, eroticism, and religion. Through these cases, Stoekl identifies the differences between waste, which Bataille condemned, and expenditure, which he celebrated.
The challenge of living in the twenty-first century, Stoekl argues, will be to comprehend—without recourse to austerity and self-denial—the inevitable and necessary shift from a civilization founded on waste to one based on Bataillean expenditure.
Allan Stoekl is professor of French and comparative literature at Penn State University. He is the author of Agonies of the Intellectual: Commitment, Subjectivity, and the Performative in the Twentieth-Century French Tradition and translator of Bataille’s Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927–1939 (Minnesota, 1985).
Conservation and Management
Although bats are often thought of as cave dwellers, many species depend on forests for all or part of the year. Of the 45 species of bats in North America, more than half depend on forests, using the bark of trees, tree cavities, or canopy foliage as roosting sites. Over the past two decades it has become increasingly clear that bat conservation and management are strongly linked to the health of forests within their range. Initially driven by concern for endangered species—the Indiana bat, for example—forest ecologists, timber managers, government agencies, and conservation organizations have been altering management plans and silvicultural practices to better accommodate bat species. Bats in Forests presents the work of a variety of experts who address many aspects of the ecology and conservation of bats. The chapter authors describe bat behavior, including the selection of roosts, foraging patterns, and seasonal migration as they relate to forests. They also discuss forest management and its influence on bat habitat. Both public lands and privately owned forests are considered, as well as techniques for monitoring bat populations and activity. The important role bats play in the ecology of forests—from control of insects to nutrient recycling—is revealed by a number of authors. Bat ecologists, bat conservationists, forest ecologists, and forest managers will find in this book an indispensable synthesis of the topics that concern them.