Recent scholarship on Latin American environmental history builds on and enriches the field's traditional orientation toward colonialism, capitalism, and conservation. This essay analyzes four themes present in this new environmental history research: the transnational study of commodities that incorporates global, national, and local scales; the role of the state in shaping historical human-environment interactions; the social and cultural production of environmental knowledge and geographical science; and the varying approaches to landscape change that partially parallel disciplinary divisions in the way scholars conceptualize nature and explain environmental change in Latin America. These four themes reveal productive approaches, methods, and topics to guide future environmental histories not only of Latin America but of other world regions as well.
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Book Review| May 01 2010
Commodities, Colonial Science, and Environmental Change in Latin American History
Bound in Twine: The History and Ecology of the Henequen-Wheat Complex for Mexico and the American and Canadian Plains, 1880–1950. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007.
Reinaldo Funes Monzote, ed.,
Naturaleza en declive: miradas a la historia ambiental de América Latina y el Caribe. Valencia, Spain: Centro Francisco Tomás y Valiente UNED Alzira-Valencia/Fundación Instituto de Historia Social, 2008.
Shawn William Miller,
An Environmental History of Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Steven Topik, Carlos Marichal, and Zephyr Frank, eds.,
From Silver to Cocaine: Latin American Commodity Chains and the Building of the World Economy, 1500–2000. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.
Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008.
Nicolás Wey Gómez,
The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
Radical History Review (2010) 2010 (107): 185–194.
Mark Carey; Commodities, Colonial Science, and Environmental Change in Latin American History. Radical History Review 1 May 2010; 2010 (107): 185–194. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2009-042
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