Clarence Glacken (1909–1989), Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote one of the most important books on environmental issues published in the twentieth century. His magnum opus, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, first published in 1967, details the ways in which perceptions of the natural environment have profoundly influenced human enterprise over the centuries while, conversely, permitting humans to radically alter the Earth. Although Glacken did not publish a comparable book before his death in 1989, he did write a follow-up collection of essays – lost works now compiled at last in Genealogies of Environmentalism.
This new volume comprises all of Glacken's unpublished writings to follow Traces and covers a broad temporal and geographic canvas, spanning the globe from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Each essay offers a brief intellectual biography of an important environmental thinker and addresses questions such as how many people the Earth can hold, what resources can sustain such populations, and where land for growth is located. This collection – carefully edited and annotated, and organized chronologically – will prove both a classic text and a springboard for further discussions on the history of environmental thought.
S. Ravi Rajan, Associate Professor of Environmenal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the author of Modernizing Nature: Forestry and Imperial Eco-Development, 1800-1950. Adam Romero is Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell. Michael Watts, Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta.
"This compilation of Clarence Glacken's 'lost works' is an invaluable gift. It is a brilliant treatment of some of the most important environmental thinkers of the last two centuries, and Glacken provides new and fresh insights even into thinkers such as Darwin, about whom so much has been written. This important work holds appeal not only for geographers, historians, and ecologists but also for anyone interested in the environment, science, and intellectual history."
– Diana K. Davis, University of California, Davis, author of The Arid Lands: History, Power, Knowledge
"[S]ensitively edited by S. Ravi Rajan. The core of the collection allows us to see how Glacken interprets the environmental ideas of such canonical figures as Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Alexander von Humboldt and George Perkins Marsh. His essays still amount to powerful, pithy analyses of their subjects today. Those in search of sharp, well-informed pen portraits that, when taken together, amount to the limning of a portrait of 19th-century environmental thought need look no further."
– Times Higher Education