The Third Dimension considers the variegated world of mountains and their development during the last 500 years. It takes as its starting point the United Nations environmental conference of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, where the mountains were officially recognised as a topic of the world community. Important precedents for this new agenda were built in the early modern period and in the nineteenth century, as European societies began to exceed their traditional limitations. The Third Dimension begins with an investigation of this long-term process with respect to science, culture and politics, each of which has transformed our attitudes toward mountainous regions. It then takes up historical problems that have been debated in the latest research, placing them in a comparative framework. At The Third Dimension's heart stands the question of whether and in what way the 'three-dimensional history' of mountain people may reveal distinctive forms of development.
1. THE GLOBALISATION OF PERCEPTION
1992: A Constitution for the Mountains
1492: Expansion and Change in Perception
Alexander von Humboldt
The Politicisation of the Environment
2. POPULATION AND URBANISATION
Asynchrony of Settlement
3. AGRICULTURE, FAMILY, MOBILITY
Family and Mobility
4. CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND MODERNITY
The Spiritual Empowerment of the Landscape
North-South Conflict Community
5. RESULTS AND OUTLOOK
Jon Mathieu is professor of history at the University of Lucerne and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was the founding director of the Instituto di Storia delle Alpi at the Universita della Svizzera italiana and has organised several international conferences about the history of mountains. In 2008 he received the King Albert I Mountain Award for his research.
"Mathieu's book sharpens the view of differences and changes – even in the mountains that look so immovable."
- Caroline Schnyder on the German edition, in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 6 April 2011.