by Emily Pawley
University of Chicago Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-226-69397-2 | Cloth: 978-0-226-69383-5 | Paper: 978-0-226-82002-6
Library of Congress Classification S451.N7P39 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 338.10974

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Nature of the Future plumbs the innovative, far-ranging, and sometimes downright strange agricultural schemes of nineteenth-century farms in the northern US.

The nostalgic mist surrounding farms can make it hard to write their history, encrusting them with stereotypical rural virtues and unrealistically separating them from markets, capitalism, and urban influences. The Nature of the Future dispels this mist, focusing on a place and period of enormous agricultural vitality—antebellum New York State—to examine the largest, most diverse, and most active scientific community in nineteenth-century America. Emily Pawley shows how “improving” farmers practiced a science where conflicting visions of the future landscape appeared and evaporated in quick succession. Drawing from US history, environmental history, and the history of science, and extensively mining a wealth of antebellum agricultural publications, The Nature of the Future reveals how improvers transformed American landscapes and American ideas of expertise, success, and exploitation from the ground up.

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