Books  General Natural History  Environmental History 

What is Environmental History?

By: J Donald Hughes (Author)

200 pages, b/w illustrations

Polity Press

Paperback | Oct 2015 | Edition: 2 | #226520 | ISBN-13: 9780745688435
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $20/€18 approx
Hardback | Oct 2015 | Edition: 2 | #226519 | ISBN-13: 9780745688428
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £49.99 $61/€56 approx

About this book

What is environmental history? It is a kind of history that seeks understanding of human beings as they have lived, worked, and thought in relationship to the rest of nature through the changes brought by time.

In this new edition of his seminal student textbook, J. Donald Hughes provides a masterful overview of the thinkers, topics, and perspectives that have come to constitute the exciting discipline that is environmental history. He does so on a global scale, drawing together disparate trends from a rich variety of countries into a unified whole, illuminating trends and key themes in the process. Those already familiar with the discipline will find themselves invited to think about the subject in a new way. This new edition has been updated to reflect recent developments, trends, and new work in environmental history, as well as a brand new note on its possible future.

Students and scholars new to environmental history will find What is Environmental History? both an indispensable guide and a rich source of inspiration for future work.

"Anyone seeking help in navigating the shifting shoals of environmental history will give fulsome thanks to Don Hughes for this book. It is far and away the best guide yet to the issues and historiography of this emerging field, spanning the globe and delving into the deep as well as recent past."
– J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University

"What is Environmental History? is a masterfully condensed overview of one of the most urgent and rapidly developing fields of history. Written by a scholar of classical antiquity, it gracefully covers ancient, medieval, and modern periods – with a global vision. A state-of-the-art report for any scholar, and a perfect introduction for the student."
– Sverker Sörlin, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Related titles

See the previous edition

What is Environmental History?

What is environmental history? It is a kind of history that seeks...

NHBS Price: £50.00 $61/€56 approx


1. Defining Environmental History
The Themes of Environmental History
Among the Scholarly Disciplines
Environmental History and the Older History

2. Forerunners of Environmental History
The Ancient World
Medieval and Early Modern Environmental Thought
The Early Twentieth Century

3. The Emergence of Environmental History in the United States
American History from Conservation to Environment
Strands of Environmental History in the United States
Collaborators with Environmental History

4. Local, Regional, and National Environmental Histories
The Mediterranean
The Middle East and North Africa
India, South and Southeast Asia
East Asia
Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands
Latin America
The Ancient World and the Middle Ages

5. Global Environmental History
Books on World Environmental History
Topics of Global Importance
Environmental Movements
World History Texts

6. Issues and Directions in Environmental History
Environmental Determinism
Declensionist Narratives
Political-Economic Theory
The Next Issues

7. Thoughts on Doing Environmental History
Guidance on Methodology
The Search for Sources
Conclusion: The Future of Environmental History

Select Bibliography

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J. Donald Hughes is John Evans Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Denver, Colorado.

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