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Volume 13

Environment in History: International Perspectives

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A Living Past

Environmental Histories of Latin America

Edited by Claudia Leal, John Soluri, and José-Augusto Pádua

292 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-390-3 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (February 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-391-0 eBook Not Yet Published

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“There is no book out there that matches the scope, detail, and comprehensiveness of A Living Past. Especially for an edited collection of this kind, the consistency and quality of the scholarship are remarkable.” · Shawn Miller, Brigham Young University

“With a refreshing variety of approaches, these essays represent the best of an emerging international network of scholars dedicated to Latin America. Together, they comprise not just a history of decline, but a rich diversity of narratives.” · Joachim Radkau, University of Bielefeld


Though still a relatively young field, the study of Latin American environmental history is no longer in its infancy, as the contributions to this definitive volume demonstrate. Bringing together thirteen leading experts on the region, A Living Past offers up a transnational, thematically diverse survey of historical developments since the nineteenth century. Each chapter provides insightful, up-to-date syntheses of current scholarship on major geographical regions across the continent, exploring broad themes such as agriculture, knowledge production, conservation, and mining that add essential context for the present historical moment.

Claudia Leal is Associate Professor at the Department of History at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She has studied rainforest regions and the formation of societies after emancipation from slavery. She is currently researching the history of Colombian nature conservation.

John Soluri is Director of Global Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, where he teaches courses on food, energy, environment and commodities in Latin America. He is the author of Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Environmental Change, and Consumption in Honduras and the United States (2006).

José-Augusto Pádua is Professor of Environmental History at the Institute of History, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he is also coordinator of the Laboratory of History and Nature. From 2010 to 2015, he was President of the Brazilian Association of Research and Graduate Studies on Environment and Society.

Subject: Environmental Studies 18th/19th Century History 20th Century History
Area: Latin America


Chapter 1. Introduction: Finding the “Latin American” in Latin American Environmental History
John Soluri, Claudia Leal, José Augusto Pádua

Chapter 2. Mexico’s Ecological Revolutions
Chris Boyer, Micheline Cariño

Chapter 3. The Greater Caribbean and the transformation of tropicality
Reinaldo Funes Monzote

Chapter 4. Indigenous imprints and remnants in the Tropical Andes
Nicolás Cuvi

Chapter 5. The dilemma of the “splendid cradle”: Nature and territory in the construction of Brazil
José Augusto Pádua

Chapter 6. From Threatening to Threatened Jungles
Claudia Leal

Chapter 7. The wall and the ivy: Environmental narratives from an urban continent
Lise Sedrez, Regina Horta Duarte

Chapter 8. Home Cooking: Campesinos, Cuisine, and Agrodiversity
John Soluri

Chpater 9. Hoofprints: Cattle Ranching and Landscape Transformation
Shawn Van Ausdal, Robert W. Wilcox

Chapter 10. Extraction Stories: Workers, Nature, and Communities in the Mining and Oil Industries
Myrna Santiago

Chapter 11. Prodigality and Sustainability: The Environmental Sciences and the Quest for Development
Stuart McCook

Chapter 12. A Panorama of Parks: Deep Nature, Depopulation, and the Cadence of Conserving Nature
Emily Wakild

Conclusion: Latin American Environmental History in Global Perspective
J.R. McNeill


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