"A rich historical pastiche of 17th- and 18th-century philosophy, science, and religion."—G. Y. Craig, New Scientist
"This book, by a distinguished Italian historian of philosophy, is a worthy successor to the author's important works on Francis Bacon and on technology and the arts. First published in Italian (in 1979), it now makes available to English readers some subtly wrought arguments about the ways in which geology and anthropology challenged biblical chronology and forced changes in the philosophy of history in the early modern era. . . . [Rossi] shows that the search for new answers about human origins spanned many disciplines and involved many fascinating intellects—Bacon, Bayle, Buffon, Burnet, Descartes, Hobbes, Holbach, Hooke, Hume, Hutton, Leibniz, de Maillet, Newton, Pufendorf, Spinoza, Toland, and, most especially, Vico, whose works are impressively and freshly reevaluated here."—Nina Gelbart, American Scientist
Now available in paperback, Days on Earth--originally published in 1988 (Yale University Press)--traces the dance career and artistic development of one of the founders of American modern dance. In this biography of dance pioneer Doris Humphrey, Marcia B. Siegel follows Humphrey's career from her days with the Denishawn Company (among fellos students like Martha Graham) to her creative partnership with Charles Weidman to her tenure as artistic director of protégé José Limon's dance company. Siegel's reconsideration and description of Humphrey's dances, including many that are no longer performed, sheds important light on this pathbreaking dancer/choreographer.
Since humans first appeared on the earth, we've been cutting down trees for fuel and shelter. Indeed, the thinning, changing, and wholesale clearing of forests are among the most important ways humans have transformed the global environment. With the onset of industrialization and colonization the process has accelerated, as agriculture, metal smelting, trade, war, territorial expansion, and even cultural aversion to forests have all taken their toll.
Michael Williams surveys ten thousand years of history to trace how, why, and when human-induced deforestation has shaped economies, societies, and landscapes around the world. Beginning with the return of the forests to Europe, North America, and the tropics after the Ice Ages, Williams traces the impact of human-set fires for gathering and hunting, land clearing for agriculture, and other activities from the Paleolithic through the classical world and the Middle Ages. He then continues the story from the 1500s to the early 1900s, focusing on forest clearing both within Europe and by European imperialists and industrialists abroad, in such places as the New World and India, China, Japan, and Latin America. Finally, he covers the present-day and alarming escalation of deforestation, with the ever-increasing human population placing a possibly unsupportable burden on the world's forests.
Accessible and nonsensationalist, Deforesting the Earth provides the historical and geographical background we need for a deeper understanding of deforestation's tremendous impact on the environment and the people who inhabit it.
“Anyone who doubts the power of history to inform the present should read this closely argued and sweeping survey. This is rich, timely, and sobering historical fare written in a measured, non-sensationalist style by a master of his craft. One only hopes (almost certainly vainly) that today’s policymakers take its lessons to heart.”—Brian Fagan, Los AngelesTimes
Published in 2002, Deforesting the Earth was a landmark study of the history and geography of deforestation. Now available as an abridgment, this edition retains the breadth of the original while rendering its arguments accessible to a general readership.
Deforestation—the thinning, changing, and wholesale clearing of forests for fuel, shelter, and agriculture—is among the most important ways humans have transformed the environment. Surveying ten thousand years to trace human-induced deforestation’s effect on economies, societies, and landscapes around the world, Deforesting the Earth is the preeminent history of this process and its consequences.
Beginning with the return of the forests after the ice age to Europe, North America, and the tropics, Michael Williams traces the impact of human-set fires for gathering and hunting, land clearing for agriculture, and other activities from the Paleolithic age through the classical world and the medieval period. He then focuses on forest clearing both within Europe and by European imperialists and industrialists abroad, from the 1500s to the early 1900s, in such places as the New World, India, and Latin America, and considers indigenous clearing in India, China, and Japan. Finally, he covers the current alarming escalation of deforestation, with our ever-increasing human population placing a potentially unsupportable burden on the world’s forests.
In Mexico’s Sierra Norte de Puebla, beliefs that were held before the coming of Europeans continue to guide the lives of modern Aztecs. For residents of San Martín Zinacapan, life in and on the earth is animated by the same forces, through which people seek to maintain a cohesive view of the relationship of mankind, the cosmos, and the natural world. This delicate balance of the human spirit maintains the health and well-being of villagers, and is an essential part of the social and ideological framework that makes a person’s life whole.
This book describes the basic elements of a belief system that has survived the onslaught of Catholicism, colonialism, and the modern world. Timothy Knab has spent thirty years working in this area of Mexico, learning of the Most Holy Earth and following what its people there call "the good path." He was initiated as a dreamer, learned the prayers and techniques for curing maladies of the human soul, and from his long association with the Sanmartinos has constructed a thorough account of their beliefs and practices.
Learning to recount dreams, forming a dreamtale, and "carrying it on one’s back" to the waking world is the first part of the practitioner’s labor in curing. But dreamtales are shown to be more than parables in this world, for they embody the ethos and cosmovision that link Sanmartinos with their traditions and the Most Holy Earth. Building on this background, Knab describes how the open-ended interpretation of dreams is the practitioner’s primary instrument for restoring a client’s soul to its proper equilibrium, thus providing a practical approach to finding and resolving everyday problems.
Many anthropologists hold that such beliefs have long since disappeared into the nebulous past, but in San Martín they remain alive and well. The underworld of the ancestors, talocan or Tlalocan for the Aztecs, is still a vital part of everyday life for the people of the Sierra Norte de Puebla. The Dialogue of Earth and Sky is an important record of a culture that has maintained a precolumbian cosmovision for nearly 500 years, revealing that this system is as resonant today with the ethos of Mesoamerican peoples as it was for their ancestors.
Down to Earth presents the first comprehensive overview of the geopolitical maneuvers, financial investments, technological innovations, and ideological struggles that take place behind the scenes of the satellite industry. Satellite projects that have not received extensive coverage—microsatellites in China, WorldSpace in South Africa, SiriusXM, the failures of USA 193 and Cosmos 954, and Iridium—are explored. This collection takes readers on a voyage through a truly global industry, from the sites where satellites are launched to the corporate clean rooms where they are designed, and along the orbits and paths that satellites traverse. Combining a practical introduction to the mechanics of the satellite industry, a history of how its practices and technologies have evolved, and a sophisticated theoretical analysis of satellite cultures, Down to Earth opens up a new space for global media studies.