Carolyn Merchant’s foundational 1980 book The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution established her as a pioneering researcher of human-nature relations. Her subsequent groundbreaking writing in a dozen books and over one hundred peer-reviewed articles have only fortified her position as one of the most influential scholars of the environment. This book examines and builds upon her decades-long legacy of innovative environmental thought and her critical responses to modern mechanistic and patriarchal conceptions of nature and women as well as her systematic taxonomies of environmental thought and action. Seventeen scholars and activists assess, praise, criticize, and extend Merchant’s work to arrive at a better and more complete understanding of the human place in nature today and the potential for healthier and more just relations with nature and among people in the future. Their contributions offer personal observations of Merchant’s influence on the teaching, research, and careers of other environmentalists.
Table of Contents
Foreword – Susan Griffin
Introduction – Kenneth Worthy, Elizabeth Allison, & Whitney A. Bauman
Part 1: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics and Ecofeminism
- Chapter 1: Before The Death of Nature: Carolyn Iltis, the Carolyn Merchant Few People Know – J. Baird Callicott
- Chapter 2: The Death of Nature or Divorce from Nature? – Kenneth Worthy
- Chapter 3: Carolyn Merchant’s The Death of Nature: Launching new trajectories in interdisciplinary research – Heather Eaton
- Chapter 4: From a Partnership to a Fidelity Ethic: Framing an Old Story for a New Time - Norman Wirzba
- Chapter 5: Bewitching Nature – Elizabeth Allison
- Chapter 6: Leading and Misleading Metaphors: From Organism to Anthropocene - Holmes Rolston, III
Part 2: Environmental History
- Chapter 7: Personal, Political, and Professional: The Impact of Carolyn Merchant’s Life and Leadership – Nancy C. Unger
- Chapter 8: Carolyn Merchant and The Ecological Indian – Shepard Krech III
- Chapter 9: All Our Relations: Reflections on Women, Nature, and Science – Debora Hammond
- Chapter 10: The Other Scientific Revolution: Calvinist Scientists and the Origins of Ecology – Mark Stoll
- Chapter 11: Carolyn Merchant and the Environmental Humanities in Scandinavia - Sverker Sörlin
Part 3: The Politics of Landscapes, Embodiment, and Epistemologies
- Chapter 12: Landscape, Science, and Social Reproduction: The Long-Reaching Influence of Carolyn Merchant’s Insight – Laura Alice Watt
- Chapter 13: The Spiritual Politics of the Kendeng Mountains Versus the Global Cement Industry – Dewi Candraningrum, translated by Bryanna Wilson
- Chapter 14: Toward a Political Ecology of Environmental Discourse – Yaakov Garb
- Chapter 15: Environmental History and the Materialization of Bodies – Whitney A. Bauman
- Chapter 16: A Mighty Tree is Carolyn Merchant – Pasty Hallen
Afterword – Carolyn Merchant
About the Contributors
Kenneth Worthy is research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley; St. Mary’s College of California; and New York University. His research explores the cultural, psychological, philosophical, and phenomenological aspects of the nature-culture divide in modern society. His book Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide between People and the Environment was published by Prometheus Books in 2013, and he writes The Green Mind blog at Psychology Today. He earned his Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley in 2005 under the direction of Carolyn Merchant.
Elizabeth Allison is Associate Professor of Ecology and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where she founded and chairs the graduate program in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion. Her research and teaching explore connections between religion, ethics, and environmental practice, with particular attention to biodiversity, waste, ecological place, and climate change. The Earth Charter and the World Bank’s Development Dialogue have cited her research on the religious response to climate change. Her articles appear in WIREs Climate Change, Mountain Research and Development, the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, and in edited volumes on Bhutan, religion, and geography. She is working on a book entitled The Political Ecology of Happiness: Religion, Environment, and Development in Modernizing Bhutan. A former Fulbright scholar, she holds degrees in environmental management from the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University, and in religion from Yale and Williams College.
Whitney Bauman is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University in Miami. He teaches and lectures on science and religion, religion and nature, and religion and queer theory. His books include Religion and Ecology: Developing a Planetary Ethic (Columbia University Press 2014), Theology Creation and Environmental Ethics (Routledge 2009), with Lucas Johnston Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities (Routledge 2014), and with Kevin O’Brien and Richard Bohannon, Grounding Religion: A Fieldguide to the Study of Religion and Ecology (Routledge 2010). He is currently working on a manuscript that examines the religious influences on Ernst Haeckel’s understanding of the natural world.
This book reaffirms Carolyn Merchant as the foundational guru of modern environmental history and ecofeminism. The fine essays in After the Death of Nature, ably edited by three outstanding scholars of ecology, offer irrefutable testimony to the timeless importance of Merchant as a writer, philosopher, and public educator. It's impossible to properly think about the natural world without grappling with Merchant's far-reaching 21st century global vision.
Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair of Humanities and Professor of History, Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
This collection of essays is one of the finest anthologies of its kind. It brings together stellar scholars to celebrate Carolyn Merchant’s life work. What more fitting tribute to her accomplishments than these excellent essays, which should be widely read in the years to come.
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and co-author of Journey of the Universe