Methodological Challenges in Nature-Culture and Environmental History Research  book cover
1st Edition

Methodological Challenges in Nature-Culture and Environmental History Research

ISBN 9781138956032
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
342 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the challenges and possibilities of conducting cultural environmental history research today. Disciplinary commitments certainly influence the questions scholars ask and the ways they seek out answers, but some methodological challenges go beyond the boundaries of any one discipline. The book examines: how to account for the fact that humans are not the only actors in history yet dominate archival records; how to attend to the non-visual senses when traditional sources offer only a two-dimensional, non-sensory version of the past; how to decolonize research in and beyond the archives; and how effectively to use sources and means of communication made available in the digital age.
This book will be a valuable resource for those interested in environmental history and politics, sustainable development and historical geography.

Table of Contents


1. Methodological Challenges Stephanie Rutherford, Jocelyn Thorpe and L. Anders Sandberg 

Part I: Nonhuman Actors

2.Do Glaciers Speak? The Political Aesthetics of Vo/ice Sverker Sörlin

3. Experiencing Earth Art; or, Lessons from Reading the Landscape Marsha Weisiger

4. A Resounding Success? Howling as a Source of Environmental History Stephanie Rutherford 

5. Animals as Historical Actors? Southwest China’s Wild Elephants and Coming to Know the Worlds they Shape Michael Hathaway 

6. Dawns Ysbrydion 09.02.63/ Ghost Dance 09.02.63: Performance as the Instantaneous Precipitation of Traces Roger Owen

PART II: Decolonizing Research

7. Co-becoming Time/s: Time/s-as-Telling-as-Time/s Bawaka Country, including Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Sarah Wright, Kate Lloyd, Laklak Burarrwanga, Ritjilili Ganambarr, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, Banbapuy Ganambarr, Djawundil Maymuru, and Jill Sweeney

8. Dibaajimowinan as Method: Environmental History, Indigenous Scholarship, and Balancing Sources Lianne  Leddy

9. Giving and Receiving Life from Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakonigewin (Our Water Law) Research Aimée Craft

10. Decolonizing Intellectual Traditions: Conducting Research and Telling our Stories in a ‘Mi’gmaq Way’         Fred Metallic

11. It Matters Where You Begin: A (Continuing) Journey Toward Decolonizing Research Jocelyn Thorpe

PART III: Senses and Affect

12. On Narrative, Affect and Threatened Ecologies of Tidal Landscapes Owain Jones and Katherine Jones

13. Eat Your Primary Sources! Researching and Teaching the Taste of History Ian Mosby 

14. Political Effluvia: Smells, Revelations, and the Politicization of Daily Experience in Naples, Italy Marco Armiero and Salvatore Paolo De Rosa

15. Minuet as Method: Embodied Performance in the Research Process Sonja Boon

16. ‘To Know the Story is To Love It:’ Scientific Mythmaking and the Longing for Cosmic Connection Lisa Sideris

17. The Cycling Historian: Exploring Environmental History on Two Wheels Stephen Bocking

PART IV: Digital Research

18. Online Digital Communication, Networking, and Environmental History Sean Kheraj and K. Jan Oosthoek

19. A New Place for Stories: Blogging as an Environmental History Research Tool Dolly Jørgensen

20. Cultivating the Spirit of the Commons in Environmental History: Digital Communities and Collections Kimberly Coulter and Wilko Graf von Hardenberg

21. Remote Sensing: Digital Data at a Distance Sabine Höhler and Nina Wormbs

22. Walking with GPS: An Object Lesson Finn Arne Jørgensen 

23. But Where Am I? Reflections on Digital Activism Promoting First Peoples’ Presence in a Canadian Heritage Village L. Anders Sandberg, Martha Stiegman and Jesse Thistle

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Jocelyn Thorpe is Associate Professor of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the history and legacies of, as well as challenges to, colonialism in the Canadian context, examining how past discourses and relationships of power influence the present.

Stephanie Rutherford is Associate Professor in the School of the Environment at Trent University, Canada. Her research inhabits the intersections among political ecology, critical animal studies, biopolitics, and historical geography.

L. Anders Sandberg is Professor of Environmental Studies at York University, Canada. His two most recent books are the co-edited Urban Forests, Trees, and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective (Routledge, 2014) and Post-Industrial Urban Greenspace: An Environmental Justice Perspective (Routledge, 2015).


'Overall, the book is a innovative, delightful and thought-provoking piece that will be of interest to any researcher in environmental history. It provides a great starting point for scholars looking to improve on or escape from archival research, and reading it will certainly stir their imagination. I would also argue that the book may be of relevance to the wider community of environmental scholars looking for compelling and engaging methods to teach or communicate environmental research.'
Ricardo Alexio Correia ,Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil, University of Oxford, UK, Environment and History journal