Because Antelope Can't Talk

Natural Agency and Social Politics in American Environmental History

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
John Herron

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This essay examines the origins and development of American environmental history. Emerging from the political contests of the 1960s, environmental history attempts to add a natural dimension to more traditional social and political histories. For many observers, nature remains the picturesque backdrop to human a airs, yet environmental historians endeavor to show how the non-human world influences American life. With special attention paid to the question of natural agency, this essay investigates how debates over the ability of nature to "act" impacts both the direction and acceptance of their field.

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