Gardens and Human Agency in the Anthropocene: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Gardens and Human Agency in the Anthropocene

1st Edition

Edited by Maria Paula Diogo, Ana Duarte Rodrigues, Ana Simões, Davide Scarso


238 pages | 32 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-05-13
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This volume discusses gardens as designed landscapes of mediation between nature and culture, embodying different levels of human control over wilderness, defining specific rules for this confrontation and staging different forms of human dominance.

The contributing authors focus on ways of rethinking the garden and its role in contemporary society, using it as a crossover platform between nature, science and technology. Drawing upon their diverse fields of research, including History of Science and Technology, Environmental Studies, Gardens and Landscape Studies, Urban Studies, and Visual and Artistic Studies, the authors unveil various entanglements woven in the past between nature and culture, and probe the potential of alternative epistemologies to escape the predicament of fatalistic dystopias that often revolve around the Anthropocene debate.

This book will be of great interest to those studying environmental and landscape history, the history of science and technology, historical geography, and the environmental humanities.


"Focusing on gardens as spaces of mediation between nature and culture, this book offers a novel perspective on the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch shaped by human interventions. It offers a rich survey of historical experiences that may turn out to be invaluable when addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene."Jürgen Renn, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany

"Contributors in this interdisciplinary volume show that humble gardens—technology-saturated landscapes that mediate between nature and culture — are an apt site for confronting the seduction of the mighty Anthropocene — and, just possibly, a means readily within our individual and collective human agency to mobilize technology for a better world."Thomas J. Misa, University of Minnesota, President of SHOT (2019-2020) USA

"By using the garden as a metaphor this series of essays successfully challenges man-induced environmental change, providing a text that should be read not only by this interested in landscapes and gardens, but by anyone interested in the future of life on earth."Jan Woudstra, Department of Landscape, The University of Sheffield, UK

Table of Contents


1. Hygiene, Education and Art: Roberto Burle Marx’s 1930s Modern Gardens in Brazil Aline de Figueirôa Silva

2. Between the Nuclear Lab and the Backyard: Artificially Enhanced Plant-Breeding and the British Atomic Gardening Movement Vanessa Cirkel-Bartelt

3. Urban utopias and the Anthropocene Ana Simões, Maria Paula Diogo

4. Shaping Colonial Landscapes in the early 20th century: Urban Planning and Health Policies in Lourenço Marques Ana Cristina Roque

5. From Pairidaeza to Planet Garden: The homo-gardinus against Desertification Ana Duarte Rodrigues

6. From Homo Faber to Homo Hortensis: Gardening Techniques in the Anthropocene Astrid Schwarz

7. The Distant Gardener: Remote Sensing of the Planetary Potager Nina Wormbs and Johan Gärdebo

8. Resistance in the Garden: Nature and Society in the Anthropocene Davide Scarso

9. A New Machine in the Garden? Staging Technospheres in the Anthropocene Nina Möllers, Luke Keogh, and Helmuth Trischler

10. The Atom in the Garden and the Apocalyptic Fungi: a Tale on a Global Nuclearscape (with artworks and bird-songs) Jaume Valentines-Álvarez, Eric LoPresti

11. Inhabitants: Image Politics in ongoing Climate Crisis Mariana Silva, Pedro Neves Marques

12. Troubled Gardens: Nature-technoculture binary and the search for a Safe Operating Space in Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononoke Hime Ivo Louro, Ana Matilde Sousa

About the Editors

Maria Paula Diogo is Full Professor of History of Technology and Coordinator of the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT), School of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Ana Duarte Rodrigues is Research Fellow of the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT), School of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Ana Simões is Full Professor of History of Science, Co-Coordinator of the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT), School of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal, and President of the European Society for the History of Science.

Davide Scarso is a Post-Doc Researcher at the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT), School of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (, to submit proposals.

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Historical Geography
NATURE / General
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Environmental Science