An Environmental History of Latin America / Edition 1

An Environmental History of Latin America / Edition 1

by Shawn William Miller
     
 

This book, in a series of short historical episodes, narrates the mutually vital and reciprocally mortal relationship between tropical nature and human culture in Latin America. Covering a period that begins with ancient Amerindian civilizations and concludes in today's pulsating cities, the work offers an original synthesis of the current scholarship on Latin America… See more details below

Overview

This book, in a series of short historical episodes, narrates the mutually vital and reciprocally mortal relationship between tropical nature and human culture in Latin America. Covering a period that begins with ancient Amerindian civilizations and concludes in today's pulsating cities, the work offers an original synthesis of the current scholarship on Latin America's environmental history and argues that tropical nature has played a central role in shaping the region's historical development. Human attitudes and appetites, from Aztec cannibalism to more contemporary forms of conspicuous consumption, figure prominently in the story. However, characters such as hookworms, whales, hurricanes, bananas, dirt, butterflies, and guano make more than cameo appearances. Recent scholarship has overturned many of our egocentric assumptions about humanity's preeminent role in history. Seeing Latin America's environmental past from the perspective of many centuries illustrates that former American civilizations were more powerful than previously thought, and that current civilizations are potentially as vulnerable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521612982
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
08/27/2007
Series:
New Approaches to the Americas Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
304,692
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction: Props and Scenery     1
An Old World Before It Was "New"     8
Shaping Fertile Landscapes     11
Attitudes toward Nature and Consumption     26
People Eating People     36
The Question of Sustainability     40
Nature's Conquests     49
Pestilence     50
Biodiversity's Gains     56
An Enriched Platter     61
Responding to Alien Natures     65
The Colonial Balance Sheet     77
Consuming Sugar     79
Deadly Silver     87
Handcuffed Colonists     91
Tropical Determinism     105
Racist Dogmas     106
Tropical Diseases     112
Natural Disasters     119
Plant Maladies     125
Human Determination     136
Mountains Moved     139
Guano Happened     147
Rivers Reversed     155
Asphyxiated Habitats     167
Urban Traditions     169
Automotive Carnage     176
Curitiba's Present     183
Demographic Futures     189
Developing Environmentalism     193
Conservationism and Wilderness     195
The Limits of Popular Environmentalism     204
Invasions of Paradise     219
Epilogue: Cuba's Latest Revolution     229
Suggested Further Readings     237
Index     249

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