1st Edition

Stewardship and the Future of the Planet Promise and Paradox

Edited By Rachel Carnell, Chris Mounsey Copyright 2023
    270 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume examines historical views of stewardship that have sometimes allowed humans to ravage the earth as well as contemporary and futuristic visions of stewardship that will be necessary to achieve pragmatic progress to save life on earth as we know it.

    The idea of stewardship – human responsibility to tend the Earth – has been central to human cultures throughout history, as evident in the Judeo-Christian Genesis story of the Garden of Eden and in a diverse range of parallel tales from other traditions around the world. Despite such foundational hortatory stories about preserving the earth on which we live, humanity in the Anthropocene is nevertheless currently destroying the planet with breathtaking speed.

    Much research on stewardship today – in the disciplines of geography, urban studies, oceans research, and green business practice – offers insights that should help address the ecological challenges facing the planet. Simultaneous scholarship in the humanities and other fields reminds us that the damage done to the planet has often been carried out in the name of tending the land. In order to make progress in environmental stewardship, scholars must speak to each other across the disciplinary boundaries, as they do in this volume.

    Introduction: The Contradictory Inflections of Stewardship

    Rachel Carnell

    Part I: Human Self-Perception and Misperception

    1. Stewardship and Sense of Place: Assumptions and Ideals

    Tyra A. Olstad

    2."I Was Under No Necessity of Seeking My Bread": Robinson Crusoe and the Stewardship of Resources in Eighteenth-Century England

    Chris Mounsey

    3. Stewardship in American Literature: Promise and Paradox in the New World

    Josh A. Weinstein

    Part II: Dystopic Visions of Past, Present, and Future

    4. Monstrous Stewardship and the Plantation in Charles Chesnutt’s "The Goophered Grapevine"

    Matthew Wynn Sivils

    5. Human Stewardship and "Reproductive Futurism" in Dystopian Fiction

    Pramod K. Nayar

    6 Climate Change and Apocalyptic Literature: Post-Human Stewardship in Paolo Bacigalupi's Drowned Cities Trilogy

    Jeff Karem

    Part III: Approaches to Contemporary Challenges

    7. Political Aspects of Stewardship for Wildlife in the U.S.

    Bruce Rocheleau

    8. The Future of the Seascape and the Humanity of Islanders: Focusing on the Korean Archipelago

    Sun-Kee Hong

    9. Stewardship of Rangelands in the 21st Century: Managing Complexity from the Margins

    Nathan F. Sayre

    Part IV: Envisioning the Future

    10. Product Stewardship: Ethics and Effectiveness in a Circular Economy

    Helen Lewis and Nick Florin

    11. An Evolutionary Systems Theoretic Perspective on Global Stewardship

    William M. Bowen

    12. Stewardship in the Anthropocene: Meanings, Tensions, Futures

    Maria Tengö, Johan Enqvist, Simon West, Uno Svedin, Vanessa Masterson and Jamila Haider


    Rachel Carnell is Professor of English at Cleveland State University. Having published extensively on eighteenth-century literature and politics, she began working on environmental stewardship after unearthing archival references to eighteenth-century lawsuits that described landed estates in terms of expected monetary output.

    Chris Mounsey is Professor of eighteenth-century cultural studies at the University of Winchester. He has published widely on a range of issues including sexuality, disability, and bioethics. He is series editor of the Routledge Advances in the History of Bioethics.